Saturday, July 21, 2007

Food -- Ajvar, scampi buzara, cevapcici, slivovicz, Vegeta seasoning (r)


1.  AJVAR. 

The national relish. Ajvar: pureed red pepper and eggplant spread. Bright red. Served with salads, meats, on its own. Everywhere

Buy at Balkan food supply stores, or the international section of a big supermarket. Now, our recipe: Take half ajvar, half crushed tomatoes, some rice wine vinegar (or balsamic) splashed to taste, and it beats ketchup.

See how to make ajvar at


Scampi buzara:

This uses Vegeta, a seasoned salt used in so many Balkan dishes. It has dried vegetable bits and is available at our supermarkets now, in the international section. Does have msg. I use it even in eggs now.


This is a sausage shaped ground meat dish with beef, lamb and pork. Cevapcici.  Or shape them as patties/sausage with Vegeta, cevapcici, at  There are variations with lamb, beef and pork, egg white, garlic, baking soda, cayenne and regular pepper, and paprika, this from Serbia. See://  Comments included to add the Vegeta. These are not fried, just grilled. Other recipes fry; or specify more garlic cloves and to grind seasonings together before adding to the lamb, beef and pork mix.

We keep Vegeta on the shelf like any other mixed seasoning - gives a deeper flavor than other mixes. It comes in foil bags folded over at the top, a little lasts a long time.

4.   TUICA

A shot of cheer. Croatia as well as Romania.

In Romania, tuica. Home made clear brandy. Should never be opaque, or white, or milky looking. Recipe? Hard to find because often homemade. Wikipedia offers one, specifying a brass still, placement on hill or in barn, and close attention to the sounds coming from it as you go. Age it 6 months to 10 years, in oak. See

Flavors - Some licorice, plum (possibly other fruit like quince, sour cherry, fig), ginger, coriander, perhaps some cinnamon, See|+More+Intelligent+Life&

In Croatia, slivovicz.
Or slivovitz. See  Try a home brew, ://

And a history of spirits-making at

Monday, July 09, 2007

Update: Jasenovac concentration camp

Fresh evidence of how successful a policy of sweeping bodies under the grass can be. This is an update of an earlier post on Jasenovac at 12/6/06.

Just look at it. How could such a pretty park signify programmed mass murder? A memorial indeed gone from memory again. The new Ripley's: here is Jasenovac, the WWII concentration camp. See earlier Jasenovac post.

An article in the New York Times, 7/2/07, International Section, by Nicholas Wood, points out the concern of Daniejel Ivin, president of Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights: that people are being taught that Ustache actions, (the WWII ethnic cleansing and religious-cultural genocides of Serbian Orthodox, gypsies, Jews, others, and with established-church people remaining essentially passive) no worse than other actions of leaders in the later Yugoslavia.

The joy of oblivion - see the photo in the article, of young fans gesturing in the old Ustache (WWII Croat puppet government) salute, and wearing old symbols of that era, including swastikas, and apparently uncaring about or ignorant of their holocaust-totalitarian significance.
Come again?
No wonder kids treat these symbols as nothing more than rockstar fun. Jasenovac concentration camp is now an ignored and unsung bit of acreage, with a rundown memorial tulip, and abandoned museum). There are some reminders in bronze maps and paths through beautiful pond area, but the real history has successfully been remade by the victors.