Cultural differences part 2
In my previous blog I already talked about cultural differences. I will now go into that a bit further. Slovenia has a decent drinking culture, much more than in the Netherlands. It is very common here to start with some schnapps early in the morning. In the summer people drink Cviček with spring water like I drink tap water ….. by the liter! Just for thirst. Beer is also consumed a lot. Now I don’t drink alcohol myself. Not out of principle or anything, but just because I don’t like the taste and also because I find it very annoying what it does with me (stuffy head and heavy arms and legs). I like to be in control, so I find the feeling of being drunk, or even tipsy, horrible. When we moved here, the residents tried for years to get me to drink alcohol and they thought would succeed in getting me to start drinking ;). No way! They kept offering me glasses of wine or schnapps but I kept refusing. Now, after 10 years, they have finally realized that they really won’t succeed and sometimes offer me a drink with a smile, knowing that I will say “nope”.
Also typical here (I think) is that they all drink wine from 1 glass. They pour a glass of wine and give it to the first person. He drinks it in 1 gulp (or 2 gulps) so it can be filled again and then passes it on to the next person. That way, that one glass goes from hand to hand, whether they are three or ten people there, it makes no difference. We learned this right away at the first village party we attended. My parent were also there and they do drink. Mom took the offered glass of wine, took a sip, then stood there with the glass in her hand. Meanwhile, one of the neighbors was patiently waiting next to her with the bottle of wine in his hand. Mom obviously had no idea what the intention was until Bine noticed and explained that she had to knock the wine back so that the glass could go to the next person :D. Well, it took some getting used to but they did it, haha.
From drinking to eating. That is also quite different here. The Slovenes eat a lot of potatoes, just like the Dutch. But where we generally eat cooked vegetables, the Slovenians mainly eat a lot of lettuce. Not like us, with mayonnaise dressing, tomato and boiled egg, but made with oil and wine vinegar and often a clove of garlic. They also eat a lot of meat. It is also the custom here (for the working people) to eat a hot meal around ten o’clock in the morning. When you are employed somewhere you get a daily compensation for this. Some companies offer the meal in their own canteen, often brought there by a catering company, but larger companies also have their own kitchen. When this option is not available, the employees go out to eat in one of the many restaurants (gostilnas). Almost all of them offer that meal, called »Malica« for an average price of 5 €. This »malica« is often available between 9 am and 12 noon or 1 pm, for example. Everyone can order these meals in that time. It can be a one-pan dish such as a loaded soup, but also, for example, macaroni or schnitzel with fries and mixed lettuce. The main meal is a hot meal around 3 pm (kosilo), when people come home from work. When you order »kosilo« in a gostilna, this includes soup and dessert. The price of a kosilo varies from about 8 to 12 euros. Often you can choose from 4 to 8 different menus. Compared to eating out in the Netherlands, this is really cheap. Oh, and when you come to Slovenia, definitely go and have pizza !! They are really very tasty here :).
In the countryside, everyone has their own vegetable garden and people often make their own sausages and other meat. Cows are not allowed to be slaughtered at home anymore, but pigs and chickens are. People often buy 1 or 2 piglets and keep them for a few months to fatten them up. The slaughter is usually in November or December and is a family event where people eat and drink together again after the work is done. They make blood sausage, fresh sausage and even dried sausage is smoked at home. Chickens and rabbits are also slaughtered for their meat. I absolutely cannot watch it, but I think (I hope) that for the animals themselves it is still slightly better than getting slaughtered in the slaughterhouses :(. Actually, these are things that were also very common in the Netherlands 50 years ago. The rules are much more strict nowadays, but people still find it worthwhile because they like to eat and drink homemade products so they know where it comes from. It’s all organic.
Since I live here I also have my own vegetable garden and I really enjoy that. It’s such a great feeling when you are cooking, you just walk outside to pull a bell pepper and a head of lettuce from the garden. I started with a few square meters, but that has expanded every year so far. And every year I am short of space, haha. Fortunately, I can always go to the village for some potatoes, a head of lettuce, or a zucchini. Bon appetite!