17 September 2008

Smells like Christmas

Usually the convent is really quiet and I don't see many people, I just hear them walking.

It merits explanation that it seems to me that Slovak people have a really complicated relationship to their footwear. They seem to feel strongly that it is really bad for one's feet to wear the same pair of shoes all day. Further, and this I can understand, it is much cleaner if you wear slippers rather than walking around the house in your shoes that have been outside. In school, the kids all wear slippers, and some of the teachers do. Normally I don't because I'm really not used to it and I wear very comfortable shoes to begin with, but in the convent and apartment I wear slippers because it's what one does. It is also can be kind of important to have 2 pairs of slippers, one for inside and one for outside, though this area can get a bit grey.

So the sound I usually hear is the sound of slippers shuffling around.

But last night was different. When I went downstairs for my evening food (which was absolutely amazing by the way: sauteed red peppers, onions, tomatoes and tvaroch + Slovak bread, which is also really great and has no real American equivalent. Tvaroch is a highly mysterious thing to me, and it's closest American equivalent is farmer's cheese, but it's not farmer's cheese), there were a lot of voices, and it was kind of loud.

So after I ate, I brought my dishes into the kitchen, and there was everyone, baking cookies! It appears that there were 2 or 3 groups of rolling dough and cutting out the little heart shapes, putting the cutouts onto trays, and putting egg yolks on them. Then others were carrying trays to and from the oven, and setting the baked cookies in trays and layers with paper. Quite similar, in fact, to the process of making medovniki in Uniontown.

The sisters were making the cookies to benefit a mission on some island either in Africa or the Caribbean, and they'll be selling them for 12Sk over the next few weeks. I'm thinking the taste was maybe nutmeg or clove, it wasn't cinnamon. The cookies were like medovniki, but they weren't. Evidently, they're what Christmas here smells like.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You just missed Medovniki time 2010! ;- )

Until 2010 and the 77th Annual pilgrimage comes along that is!