The Cooking Show

Adriana with one of the Grandmas

Alpha Channel in Macedonia features a very popular cooking show that is a 15 minute segment shown three times/day.   It’s called “Taste of Tradition” and the star of the show is sort of a Macedonian Martha Stewart (minus the jail-time) named Adriana Alaski (Адријана Аласки).  A couple weeks ago she decided to shoot some regional segments and came to Kriva Palanka.  My counterpart at the Municipality was in charge of organizing the visit and arranging all the logistics,

2 of Macedonia’s finest. Aunt Valentina (left) can tell you about your life by reading your coffe grounds, on the table on the right is a REAL clay crock-pot sealed with bread dough and cooked in coals.

so naturally I was able to tag along, watch the shoot, and help eat some of the delicious aftermath.  The first few segments were shot at the Monastery and the next day at a local (mostly outdoor) restaurant.  The idea was that different ladies (Grandmothers or ‘Babas’) of the region would cook their specialties while our star assisted, asked questions about the recipes, and exclaimed how delicious everything was.

The Mayor with our Star

I helped with some prep work, and washed dishes when I wasn’t being quiet for the set and running errands.  Apparently Adriana noticed my language errors (not too difficul!) and asked my counterpart about me.

Upon discovering I was American she was delighted to practice her English and told me

The cameras capture the Monastery in the background

about her visit to the States.    She then asked if I would mind commenting on the food of Macedonia for the cameras.  Uhhhh…gotta check with the boss.  (As is Peace Corps policy…they don’t want Volunteers saying anything controversial or anything that could negatively impact the program over here.)

2 more of Kriva Palanka’s finest cooks…there was a ‘Dedo’ (grandfather) featured also!

After a quick call to my Country Director, he wholeheartedly endorsed the ‘foodie’ opportunity and all was a ‘go’.  EXCEPT the afore-mentioned language difficulties!

All well and good, the cooking part of the segment was over, the original-clay-crockpot dish accomplished and plated, and the Grandma, Adriana and I were seated at the table with cameras rolling.  (Why do I never carry make-up in my purse?)  After a short discussion of the dish and a

The set at the restaurant with traditional regional costumes

recounting of the ingredients, Adriana turned to me and introduced me as the local American working in Kriva Palanka for the Peace Corps….and what did I think of the local food?…..but she’d asked me in Macedonian!

Quickly remembering it was taped and not ‘live’ I gave it my best shot and answered in Macedonian.

Potato Pancakes….yum!!!

“The food here is delicious and I have gained weight wanting to try everything.  I have become a regular “Palanchanka”…..or person from Palanka, kind of like a person from Florida is a Floridian.   EXCEPT that instead of Palanchanka I said Palanchinka….which means Pancake!

They skinned, stuffed and roasted a kid (baby goat!) That was not my favorite part of the show since I’ve been eating vegetarian since February.

Our hostess didn’t skip a beat as the professional she is and soon the segment was a ‘wrap’.  After scattered laughter and applause I was informed of my mistake, but quickly reassured that everyone KNEW what I meant and it was very ‘cute’.  I now have a new nickname here at the Municipality….Pancake!

The final shot with everyone at the table. I’m 3rd or 4th from the left.



5 responses to “The Cooking Show

  1. Hey Lin!!! So glad to hear from you. Cooking with the Stars (of Macedonia) no less! How is your Macedonian coming on?

  2. Love it, my little pancake! 😀
    Your photos make it easy to see what a beautiful place Kriva Palanka is and why it will be difficult to leave!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Wow! An international TV phenomenon, and I knew you back “before”! Very cool, Linda. What a great time you are having!

  4. Hi Linda,
    Great story among so many wonderful experiences; thanks for sharing in such detail; love the pictures! Now I wanna pancake! When do you return? Wishing you many more blessings on your birthday, with our younger son, Nick turning 19 on the same day. He’s off to University of Washington in the Fall with a Navy ROTC scholarship, so empty nesting will be celebrated with a trip to Ireland in September! Can’t wait to swap travel adventures–Enjoy!

  5. Linda Winnie Towne

    Hey Pancake! LOL what a great story! I am embarrassed that it has been so long since I have communicated – it sounds like you are having the time of your life! Your blog is fantastic – so descriptive and educational as well as captivating! I have said it before and I’ll say it again – you are awesome and I am so proud of you my friend! Can’t wait to catch up in person! Happy BDay Woman! Love you! Winnie

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