Saturday, October 31, 2009

Italy meets America meets Azerbaijan

So I brought a little bit of Italy to Azerbaijan two days ago when I made Spaghetti for my host dad and mom. This is how I came to cook the meal:

Host dad: Do you know how to cook anything?
Me: Not really.
Host dad: But you are a girl, you must know how to cook.
Me: (pride now hurt and defense of my womanhood on the line) Well I do know a couple of dishes...
Host dad: Which ones?
Me: Spaghetti. It is noodles with tomato sauce.
Host dad: Then you and I will make it tomorrow.

So, I was stuck, making spaghetti. This wasn't as easy as you may think. First I had to tell my dad what ingredients to buy. The only words I know for this sauce is tomato, garlic, onion, oil, salt, pepper, and "vermishil" which isn't quite spaghetti, but a weird thin but short noodle that is pretty tricky to cook. Well, these minus the black pepper, and plus some sugar were the only ingredients I had to work with. I mean THE ONLY. No spices, no red pepper flakes, not even any greens (basil or parsley, which on regular occasions they have stocked in the house, but that day they didn't). So I made the sauce. Sevinj watched for like 2 minutes before peacing out, shaking her head and mumbling as she walked out. In her defense, I was making my usual mess when I cook, which according to my mother "looks like a bomb went off in the kitchen". The neighbor came over with her 5-year old daughter, they watched over my shoulder the entire time. The littel girl "helped out", which means it took me twice as long to do things. Auntie Carol, you are a saint for putting up with me and Jessica cooking with you all those times. We must have caused you to take THREE TIMES as long to bake cookies and cook blueberry jam. So while I was trying to make the sauce, the neighbor is turning up the heat on the onions, I was peeling the weird garlic that has a thrid skin on it, so it needed to be peeled like a potato. I almost burnt the onions because they were turned up and I was actually peeling the garlic. The little girl insists on rolling up my pants dragging on the ground, and the neighbor is aking me what I am doing every minute...

The sauce didn't turn out too too bad, but was far from delicious. The neighbor insisted that I use ALL of the pasta I cooked. I had completely misjudged the amount of pasta I needed due to the unusualness of these noodles, and I mad WAAAY too much pasta. I was forced to put all the noodles in the small amount of sauce I had, so the dish tasted like pasta that had been cooked in tomato flavored water. It definitely needed salt, and I didn't even have black pepper to add (we had run out earlier that day). Adigozel, being the cheery host dad he is, praised it to all high heavens. (My womanhood was secured!) Sevinj, my host mom, didn't even touch the stuff. Haha. They force fed it to the 27-year-old cousin staying at our house for a week, and he said he liked it, but I have my doubts.

After eating leftovers last night, made better by waay more oil and salt put on by Sevinj, my host dad turned to me and asked: So what else can you make?

My response was: I don't know how to make anything.


  1. hahahahahahha awesome! Sevinj kind of sounds like a dbag. Host dad sounds awesome. Congrats on securing your womanhood. Hope all is well.


  2. Chicken, mashed potatoes and corn? I guess they don't have the ingredients for that. I made you're kielbasa, black beans, and rice specialty the other night and Steph really liked it.

    I say next time you go to the market, look at some ingredients and improvise. You're good enough to do that! And it sounds like host Dad would like whatever you cook (much like real Dad).

    Mad I missed your call. I'll try to call this week.