Welcome to the Sofra!

Добре дошли! (Welcome!)

Welcome to the first post of my new blog, At the Sofra (At the Table). My goal with this blog is to give you a Bulgarian recipe or two each week with instructions on how to make it, along with a bit of Bulgarian culture and language.

I’ve called the blog “At the Sofra” for a few reasons. I put the question of a blog name to my Facebook friends for help. There were a lot of great suggestions, and a couple of people suggested На Софрата (‘At the Table’). I liked that for a few reasons. First, I didn’t want my own name in the title (e.g., Traci’s Bulgarian Kitchen), because the recipes I plan to present won’t come just from my kitchen, but also from the kitchens of Bulgarian friends and neighbors. Second, a sofra is a table, but a specific kind of table—a low, round table, as shown in the photo at the top of the blog. It’s often a large tray that can be moved after the meal, perfect for a room where people might eat and sleep. The word is one of hundreds of Turkish words that entered Bulgarian during five centuries of Ottoman rule, and this period is reflected in the cuisine as well. Bulgarians, of course, no longer eat on this sort of table, and now the word refers to a table with a meal on it, bringing to mind Bulgarian warmth, hospitality, and traditional dishes that often share ingredients and flavors with neighboring cuisines, but with a specifically Bulgarian interpretation. A goal of my blog is to bring you to the sofra too.

I considered leaving the whole title in Bulgarian—Na Sofrata—but changed my mind when a couple of Americans told me it made them think of Nosferatu, the 1922 German Dracula film (which couldn’t use the name Dracula for legal reasons). Maybe there was something still fitting in this name since Stoker’s Dracula did sail to England from the port of Varna, but I introduced some English into the title to avoid confusion (on more than one level). And this, too, is reflective of the blog itself—I’ll write in English, but I’ll spice it up with plenty of Bulgarian.

That’s enough of an introduction. I hope you enjoy the first recipe, coming up!

banitsa_slice

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