EATING THE ROMANIAN WAY
Romanian cuisine has touches of French, Greek, Russian and Turkish influences. Pork is a favoured item though beef, veal and chicken are also eaten. During the latter part of the communist regime, there was a shortage of meat and meat products.

Typically Romanian specialties include a range of soups made from fermented bran, bacon, potatoes and beef or chicken called ciorba.

Mamaliga, prepared from corn, is one of the common foods in rural parts of Romania. Most rural households store corn in large quantities to last for several seasons. Then they grind it to prepare mamaliga. Sarmale is a spicy dish of cabbage leaves stuffed with meat. Mititei is made of small grilled sausages perfumed with aromatic herbs. Saramura is a fish specialty in the Danube Delta. Pork served with potato is cotlet and a basic salad without greens is very common. Romanians like a form of bacon known as slanina.

Most Romanians have the main meal of the day in the evening. Drinking tea, pronounced chai, is common. Romanians enjoy good wine and the country makes excellent white and red wines from many of its famous vineyards. Tsuica, the local plum brandy, is often served as an aperitif.

Transylvanian Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients

250 gm uncooked rice
750 gm ground beef
250 gm ground pork
2 eggs
1 onion finely chopped
2 tsp paprika/pepper
2 tbs minced savory
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large cabbage cored and outer leaves removed
1 L sauerkraut juice, diluted with 1 L water or vegetable broth
250 ml sour cream
Tomato sauce

Preparation

Remove large leaves from cabbage, trimming off thick part. Let boiling water stand on leaves for a few minutes until softened. Combine meat, rice, onion, eggs, salt and pepper. Place meat mixture in each leaf. Fold and roll. Repeat until finished. Add pork rind for added flavour and the remaining cabbage leaves shredded or whole at the bottom of the Dutch oven. Layer cabbage rolls seam side down. Add tomato sauce, savory, pepper, salt and sauerkraut/water/vegetable juices to the pot. Sprinkle with a little sugar to taste. Cover and bake 1 hour at 375F. Uncover and continue baking for 1 1/2 hours more. Add a dollop of sour cream on each roll when served.