I think it is completely ironic that I am in a country that cooks, cultivates and cares for potatoes in a way that only the Irish could appreciate. I have never been a “big fan” of potatoes. They are a lot of work to dig out of the ground, then you have to peel (most of them you do), check for bad spots, slice, boil, cook, season, and finally eat. Peeling potatoes is not exactly my idea of a fun activity. Maybe I don’t like them because it seems the inputs for potatoes exceed the output (unless you season them with a lot of dairy products and spices). I just find them unsatisfactory after all of the effort except today. Today, I arrived home from school and my host mother’s brother was renovating the room outside the bathroom and my host mom was baking up a storm (it reminded me of my farmhouse in Kingsbury). It was raining outside, so what else do you do other than bake?!?! I learned how to prepare the dough for placenta (much like filo dough, just thicker and made with sunflower seed oil) and make the fixings for the inside. Placenta is much like the Moldovan version of pie or spanikopita (I actually called it spanikopita for the first 2 weeks I was here). You make dough, roll it out, stretch the circle to make it bigger and more rectangular and then fill it with some delicious goodness, roll and bake. So today, I learned to make placenta with brinza (fresh cow cheese, dill, salt, pepper, onion and a little egg to hold it all together), placenta with varza (cabbage, pepper, salt, onion and a little oil), and placenta with cartofi (potatoes, onion, salt, pepper and a little oil). It was the last version of the placenta that I loathe. After peeling a bucket of potatoes, I then had to slice them very small, and then slice onions (while crying everywhere because I am super sensitive to them). It was an amazing bonding experience with my host mom. I think she realized that I am actually competent with a knife, and around the kitchen (kudos to my mom back in NY for teaching me a thing or two about baking and to my roommate Cheni who has taught me A LOT about Greek cooking). Anyway, the time I spent in the kitchen with my host mom today was truly worth peeling all the potatoes, especially when she smiled and clapped after my first successfully made placenta. Mmmm writing this post is making me hungry!