Slovenia: a “Potato nation”

13 Oct

As part of my project, I have been meeting people off couch surfing and interviewing them. I have also been getting them to show me around the cities they live in, as part of my attempts to get a greater understanding of the wider culture.

I met Andrej in Maribor, where he took me to a tea bar to chat to him and his friend about traditional Slovenian food. He had brought an old Slovenian cook book with him, and through it he took me on a guided culinary tour. He and his friend waxed lyrical about traditional Slovenian dishes, including a personal favorite, sour soup. This gets its name from the vinegar that is added near the end of the cooking process. Apparently it is made when people gather late at night after a heavy party session. You drink the soup, and it helps to stave off the hangover, something I will be sure to try.

A slightly less appetizing sounding dish was “Old Cheese Soup”, which consisted of cheese that had been salted, packed with meat and left to go old. When I showed him a picture of blue cheese, to clarify what he meant, he shook his head and explained it was just really old cheese. It is used as a cure for colds, perhaps working because the cure is worse than the illness…

Each of the dishes, of which I will try and post a list, was accompanied with the phrase “And we serve this with boiled potatoes”. After having said this for about the sixth time, Andrej followed it up with, “After all, we are a potato nation”. Turns out that the stereotype does have some basis in fact.

As we continued to talk about the differences between British and Slovenian food, with the fact that Slovenian had tea bars, whereas we unsophisticated Brits just drank it at home. I was also jokingly told that British people boil everything for about three hours, especially our meat.I tactfully pointed out that boiling things seemed to play a large part in Slovenian cooking, including bizarrely, boiled sausages. Andrej just laughed, and said “But we boil things with style”.


One Response to “Slovenia: a “Potato nation””

  1. Jan October 13, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    the vinegar will help neutralise the stomach acidity and help rebalance the Ph of the body and reduce the effects of the hangover. Always some theory behind old wives tales, but as to the Old Cheese Soup – the mind boggles – sounds more like a recipe to give you food poisoning – may be thats the idea, it takes your mind of the cold!

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