Sunday, July 11, 2010


Our mission continues to be a tremendous experience. Each week is filled with challenges that stretch our capacities. Sometimes we dream about boating on a northwest lake, grandchildren huddled around us, smores waiting. When we gain consciousness, we realize what we are doing now, at this time of our life, is so fabulous that we wouldn't want to be anyplace else. Our children (former missionaries themselves) told us that there would come a time when a white shirt and tie felt as good as a t-shirt and a skirt felt as comfortable as peddle-pushers and life as a missionary would feel "normal". Why do we love this quirky lifestyle? The answer is in the name tags we wear. We love being missionaries, proclaiming the restored gospel, helping people, and growing in our own faith.

And, growing we are! We have put on the "freshman 15" and are now in the throes of shedding it! You would think that a mission where you walk your shoes into oblivion, one would actually lose weight! This is Romania--land of carbs and delicious bread (also carbs). So, since this past week has been a relatively dull one, we thought we'd share our excuses for our weight gain. Romania has wonderful food and even better cooks. We are living proof that if you eat everything on your plate, your clothes will shrink! Lest you are worried, we are working on shedding it.

This is Sora Wilson from Australia, eating her first Romanian Sunday meal since arriving on Tuesday.

It is called Musaca and it is actually a Greek/Turkish dish made with beef, potatoes, other vegetables and...OIL! It is delicious.

This is a typical Sunday spread--Schnitzel and Sarmale (cabbage rolls).

...sometimes there's more. These are pork chops and sausages.

Add to that...a spread for your bread made out of eggplant and onions.

No meal is complete without a blob of Malmaliga. This is a cornmeal mush formed in a bowl and then dumped onto a plate. Romanians love it!

Romanians are wonderful cooks. Sora Ene is serving stuffed peppers. So far we've eaten stuffed zuchinni, peppers, grape leaves, cabbage until we're...stuffed!

Sarmale, Mamaliga, pickles, peppers...TRADITION!

Sarmale at the Branch party. It was delicious, really!

This is Salata a la russe or Salata de beuf, depending on who corrects you! It is made with boiled potatoes, peas, carrots, mystery vegetables and then "frosted" with mayonaise and decorated by the cook. It is delicious!

This cook flunked art decor.

Whenever we travel to visit a charity or NGO, we are fed. Here, sandwiches were provided as we talked.

When we complete a project, we have a celebration provided by the NGO. Since we are the guests, someone usually makes up a heaping plate just for us!

This was the most amazing feast! All the children in the schools in this village were assigned to bring something for this banquet. Some brought chickens, fish, eggs, ducks, duck eggs, homemade cheese, fruit. Eating this food almost made us emotional because it was so gladly given to us to thank us for helping them.

Since we are out and about a lot, we eat out! This is such a typical Romanian meal that is prepared for a group of four. It has a little bit of everything--sausage, chicken, veggies.

If you're lucky, you discover the one Mexican restaurant in town. This is Fajitas, in case you couldn't tell! Don't quit your day job! (nothing to write home about!)

The first day in Romania, we were treated to Romanian fast food by the office Elders.

These are Shaormas. Pita bread with chicken, cabbage, tomatoes, pickles, onions.....sauce.

Eight months later, we were forced to try another one. This one was actually very tasty!

And then there's bread! People sell these pretzels on street corners and in little shops. They are called Covrigei and they come 6 or so connected by a string.

This picture was in our blog last week but worthy of a second glance. Delicious.

As if the Romanians don't have the bread cornered, Sora Dummar makes her own!

So. If anyone has a suggestion on how to avoid eating this, let us know.

On to desserts. Lily and Beatrice are the masters of cakes. This one was served yesterday!

Sora Doru made this cake, layered with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Then you have desserts from bakeries. They look delicious but they are NOT. Every missionary agrees that there's something wrong but we're not sure what!

Don't waste your calories on this. Trust me!

Don't be fooled!

So, there you have it...the reason we're fat! Now that we've discovered that the desserts have no taste and the breads have all been tasted and now can be avoided, we are on our way to losing the pounds. What we really need to do is to eat more in the villages. You can lose your appetite in a hurry!

These goat cheese pastries were whipped up next to the dead flies in the poison. Yummy.

Soup anyone? This is Ciorba, made with fat meat and sour cabbage.

This is Tripe Ciorba. Tripe is the stomach of sheep!
A missionary shared this picture with us. Luckily, we were not invited to this dinner appointment!

This is a Romanian salad bar. We relegated to this sentence until the pounds come off! Promise!

Next week should be a fabulous blog. Steve and Barb will add a new baby girl, our 14th grandchild to our family on Wednesday. If you can't stand grandma pride, you might want to skip reading!
Also next week we will be on the tracks, visiting three cities and NGO's. There will be no food pictures!


  1. Looks delicious and disgusting. I feel your pain with the weight loss. One of the main reasons I got pregnant with Henry was so I could quit Weight Watchers :) Love you!

  2. I feel fatter just looking at all that food! Well, OK, eating lemon frosted muffins while reading your blog doesn't help! I can honestly say food is my main weakness. Good luck on taking off the "love handles". Cameron has dropped 20 lbs. since returning from his mission--looks great. Enjoy your week on the road--or rails, which ever. Te iubesc.

  3. Oh my goodness, this may be more food than Georgia! And I know what you mean about the cakes... Dubai was the same way. Some of the best looking and grossest cakes in the world!