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Logbook to the middle ages. VII

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I will find out that most of the food in Berat is like that. There are small markets around town but most of the fruits and veggies are locally grown and farmed by the owners, who then go to town and sell them on the spot.
There is no concept of “health food”. The bread in the town is baked in a few small bakeries which cater to all. Our young Albanian translator insists that it is therefore NOT homemade, as he has his mom and wife to make him “real” bread. I ask if the small bakeries use flour and water and knead the dough in-house and he still answers that indeed they do, but it is not the same as “home”.
I try a dessert called Trei Lechi, translated as Three Milks. Simple recipe: make a soft, spongy cake. Soak it in three types of different milks: regular, condensed and evaporated. Let it sit until all the fluids have been absorbed deeply into the cake. Here in Albania, make a homemade (what else?) cherry syrup and cover the cake with it.
Total calories: A wild guess will say 200 calories per spoon, but that is not the point. There is no concept of “diet” or “gluten free” or “organic” here. The wheat may be processed and the sugar industrial but everything else is so fresh that the concepts vanish. Sure, there are canned tomatoes (Italy is just opposite to Albania across the Adriatic) but most people just grab vegetables from a basket in the market and throw them into a bag and go home to cook. The cherries are from next door, the tomatoes, as I said already, are hanging from a tree early in the afternoon so you don’t need a lot of refrigeration. There is a cornucopia of it all and although there is a supermarket in town (I can see two at least) they are not big and would never pass muster in the USA, the EU or even Colombia. It is a food economy here in Berat that disregards industrialization, that is still founded on local trade. It is not a good recipe for economic growth but if you want your cucumbers to be so fresh they crunch when you bite them form your salad, wealth and first world country status must not be your goal in life.

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