Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Foods


Introducing your kids to Romanian foods pin

Romanian cuisine has a history almost as robust as its flavor. Certainly influenced by the Ottoman meals, Romanian food also has strong influences from other countries it borders. Most of the country’s traditional dishes feature meat as the primary foundation, with other ingredients folded in nicely to give the dish a good appeal. Families in the mood for enjoying a standout culinary adventure should try the following ten Romanian staples that are sure to please.

Icre (Fish Egg Salad)

Straightforward and elegant are two words that describe this dish. One simply mixes carp fish eggs with oil, lemon juice, and chopped onion to make this recipe. Icre is typically served as a spread on crackers or small slices of toasted bread and makes for the perfect tasty snack for fish lovers.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food

Zacusca (Smoked Vegetable Dip)

Mix eggplants (aubergine), red peppers, onions, tomato paste, olive oil salt and pepper to make this delicious vegetable dip that is Russian in origin. Usually made ahead of time and stored to use later, this vegetable mix is a staple in Romanian homes for the winter. Zacusca’s flavor improves with age but must be consumed once the container is opened since it can spoil. Most people eat Zacusca as an appetizer on sliced bread or as a  side dish. Also, one can add Zacusca to rice or polenta to enhance the flavor.

Salata de Vinete (Eggplant Salad)

Originally copied from the Turkish Babaganush, this eggplant salad is subtle and smoky.
Cooks first grill the eggplant until the outer skin is black and crusty. Then the cook peels the skin off and smashes the eggplant, mixing vigorously with oil, chopped onions, and salt until it resembles a rough paste.

Traditionally served over crusted bread slices, Salata de Vinete is part of the salads used by the locals in summer and a great addition to many school sandwiches. For a different flavor or creamier texture, experimental cooks can add yogurt or mayonnaise. For a spicier version adding some cayenne or garlic powder to the mix should help.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food sauce

Muraturu (Pickles)

Muraturu was a prominent historical method of preservation in Romania since refrigerators were scarce in the countryside and vegetables were hard to come by in winter months. The traditional recipe calls for four parts water to one part pickling salt when it comes to pickling the vegetables.

The Romanian versions mix in some bay leaves, red peppers, garlic cloves, and whole peppercorns to bring out the pickling flavor. Traditionally, the vegetables and the add-ons are put outside in the sun for at least two weeks until they ferment and start the pickling process. Once the process is done, the containers are placed in basements for use throughout the year.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food meat

Sarmale (Stuffed Cabbage)

Turkish and Romanian people often dispute the origin of Sarmale.
Romania, of course, claims this stuffed cabbaged dish as its own.  Traditionally stuffed with minced meat, rice, and sauerkraut, the dish flavor is robust and tart. The cook rolls pork or beef, sauerkraut, and rice into cabbage leaves then boils the cabbage in a tomato based sauce with bay leaves.

Ardei Umpluti (Stuffed Peppers)

Aredi Umpluti is a traditional Romanian stuffed pepper dish.
One makes Aredi Umpluti by stuffing pork or beef, rice, and onions neatly inside a bell pepper. The stuffed vegetable then cooks in the oven in a hearty tomato sauce for at least two hours.
Some recipes incorporate other vegetables and spices into the mixture to vary the flavor. This traditional dish works well for formal occasions as well as weekly family dinners.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Foods plate

Mititei (Grilled Spicy Sausages)

A tasty Romanian dish that is essentially a sausage with no casing.
Traditionally cooked on an open flame, one makes Mititei from a mixture of beef, lamb, and pork. Spices such as garlic, black pepper, and thyme are added to round out the flavor. The sausage like delight is something every traveler to Romania should try.

Mititei originated in Transylvania, created by renowned sausage maker, Lonescu Lordache, who made it when he did not have any skin to use for sausage casing. Mititei is a crowd pleaser for appetizers and pairs well with a nice chopped vegetable salad or as an entree with mashed potatoes and rice.

Mamaliga (Boiled Polenta)

Unchanged throughout history, mamaliga dates back to feudal times when Romanian peasants had to cook with very few ingredients.
Commonly consumed when there was no bread available, mamaliga consists of corn meal derived from maize flour. Classic Mamaliga, served cold or hot, has a creamy texture and a mild flavor. However, many family recipes season it with slices of sausage or other meats for texture. Cooks can add milk and soft farmer’s cheese to give weight and smooth out the grainy mixture.

Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Food dessert

 Papanasi (Fried or Boiled Flour and Semolina Dessert)

Eating fried papanasi is one of those memorable moments that most visitors to Romania recall.

This dessert is a light, yet delicious Romanian delicacy that is an either fried or boiled semolina sphere that can be filled with some soft sweet cream. It is often topped with a creamy, tart jam and sometimes whipped cream. Although it’s rather simple to make, this dish will please anyone with a sweet tooth. Adults can complement it with a sweet dessert wine for the best flavor experience.

Savarina (Cake)

Savarina is essentially rum soaked sponge cake, a delight for adults.
The cake is named after 18th-century lawyer and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. One makes Savarina out of sweet yeast dough and, after baking, soak it in rum overnight. Cooks serve Savarina either with a sweet pastry cream on the side or a dollop of whip cream and fruit on top. The result is a sweet, moist, light and fruity treat more catered to the adult taste buds than the kids taste buds because of the strong, bitter taste of the rum.Introducing Your Kids to Romanian Foods cream

When visiting Romania, parents should try to introduce their kids to all these dishes and see which ones they like. Clearly, the sweet dishes will probably be an easier sell to most kids. However, many of the Romanian dishes are salty and will appeal to some of the kids. Even the pickiest of family members might find a new favorite when visiting Romania.



Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch

The Memphis Peabody Hotel is a beautifully decorated remnant of the old south, with a full buffet and marching ducks. It is an experience enjoyable for all the family, where adults can enjoy the delicious food and even the youngest children can enjoy watching the ducks. 

In 1869, the original Peabody Hotel opened in Memphis, Tennessee; expanding and relocating 56 years later to its current location. Named for George Peabody, this hotel beautifully reflects the era, and it has earned a place in the National Trust for Historic Preservation – The Historic Hotels of America.

Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch tableLocation and Parking

Located at 149 Union Ave, Memphis, TN, the hotel is about 15 minutes from the Memphis International Airport and downtown. Its proximity to other Memphis landmarks makes it central and convenient. For a fee, there is both Valet parking on the premises and Self-Parking a block away from the hotel.


Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch duck home

There is lavish décor through the lobby, and decorations are granite and marble in contrast with the more modest restaurant. It is spacious with tones of pale greens and tans, and the area feels warm and welcoming lending to the history and air of the old South.


Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch statue

Unique Traits

What makes The Peabody Hotel uniquely famous is its marching ducks. The ducks, five in number, live on the roof in a duck penthouse. Twice daily, these ducks take the elevator down to the lobby to march across the lawn at 11 am and 5 pm. The march is popular and attracts many visitors to the hotel especially the kids. Expect to call on the early side to catch a good seat on the floor near the ducks if you want to see them up close and personal. The marching duck tradition began 90 years ago, and many guests come to experience and take advantage of the Ducky Day Family package.

For fans of the web-footed quacking marchers, they will be happy to hear that the Peabody restaurant incidentally does not offer duck anywhere on the menu and has a lovely brunch on Sundays that locals and travelers enjoy.

Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch sleeping duck


The brunch is catered by the Capriccio Grill between 11 am and 2:30 pm and you can make reservations online. The presentation of the delicious eats is a visual delight! It is elaborately laid out, and there are high standards in their meal preparation. From the breakfast items like cereals, muffins, cheese grits and sausage grits, eggs, breakfast potatoes to the more brunch and lunch items on the menu; it feels like a cozy diner. The salads are colorful; fresh vegetables and fruits whole or prepared and elegantly presented. A generous selection of bread, cheeses, cold cut meats and smoked fish is available. In the hot food section, there are other typical Southern cuisine items like Butternut squash ravioli, baby-back ribs, ratatouille, fried chicken, mixed vegetables and garlic butter shrimp. At the carvery, they have prime rib, calamari, and deep-fried ravioli. Finally, the dessert table is simply beautiful. The in-house chefs have prepared mousses, tarts, cakes, cookies, crème brûlée, croissants, cakes and even a hot chocolate pie.

Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch deli

Out of all the dishes offered what surprised us the most in a good way were the items dipped in chocolate at the dessert table such as potato chips, pretzels, and bacon, which turned out to be a firm favorite.

Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch chocolate

The staff was incredibly friendly and replenished our drinks in a timely manner. They regularly cleared the used dishes to make room for the new dishes filled with food offerings.


Autism Travel Tips:

  • If you don’t want to wait in line, then book to come later after 1:30 pm. This is best for those that prefer avoiding crowded places.
  • Seating is comfortable with the tables relatively far from each other, so customers don’t feel cramped.
  • The lighting in the area is a combination of natural and artificial, and the noise element is lower as the tables aren’t too close to each other.Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch lobby
  • Since brunch tends to be a longer experience, antsy kids can get coloring books, or parents can bring tablets. Our son found the lobby self-playing piano fun and spent quite a bit of time watching it.
  • As the food is served buffet-style, most diets can be accommodated. However, if you travel with someone with severe allergies to any ingredients make sure you ask the server about it before you dine.

Family Fun at the Memphis Peabody Hotel Brunch pin


Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia pin

For people born and raised in western countries, exploring Asia is an adventure worth experiencing at least once. However, people challenged with autism might feel it is also an assault on their sensory system when it comes to different smells, flavors, sounds and sights. To make sure your child with autism feels comfortable while traveling to Asia, here are a few tips to follow:


The minute we landed in Hong Kong, our son started complaining about the smell and how it bothered him. At first, we dismissed him thinking that he was probably tired, jet-lagged, and on a sensory overload but the feeling persisted well into the week. We later figured out that the issue was that he was reacting to the scents of the spices used in the Cantonese cuisine as well as the incense used in temples.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia market

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The best way to help your kid cope is to start exposing him to spices and different smells by visiting local ethnic neighborhoods and sampling foods before you embark on your Asia travels. The continuous exposure and desensitization will help your kid get accustomed to the smells, and their adverse reaction will lessen with time.

Tastes and Textures

Most foods in Asia are usually more salty, spicy or in some cases sweeter than in the United States. Textures are also different since the diet of locals may include spices your kid has not yet encountered. What we found useful in Japan compared to other Asian countries, was the fact they had plastic displays of the dishes in almost every restaurant we went to so you could sort of figure out what it was was you were ordering.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia dessert

Luckily for us, our kid is open to trying most items at least once. He ended up sampling most local delicacies, including insects and animal internal organs, that most people probably wouldn’t consider touching. He did develop a small addiction to jelly donuts and jelly desserts served at the tea ceremonies.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • If you are traveling with several family members, order several items on the menu and see which one appeals to your kid the most since in most places you can’t send the food back if your child dislikes it.

Close proximity to people

One cannot escape proximity to people in a densely populated area like Hong Kong, China, or Japan when using any form of public transportation or when visiting local markets. Markets are not for the faint of heart, with live animals caged and even killed in front of you. If you are traveling with younger kids, the scenes may be quite disturbing as your child may see animals that are regarded in the United States, as house pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, sold or cut open in plain sight.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia chickens

Whether you are using the old ferries, tram, trains or even the ultra-modern subway, the space allocated per capita is minimal, and passengers are used to leaning against and breathing on each other. This can be especially unpleasant on hot and humid days. As if waiting in line for any extended period isn’t hard enough for people with autism, imagine an avalanche of individuals moving hastily at the same time towards the entrance or exit of a ferry boat, ready to trample anyone or anything in their way.

We learned pretty early on in our Asia travels that we couldn’t rely on any accommodations for special needs as in many places locals didn’t speak English.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia fruit

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travel off-peak hours. Select the furthest cabin on subways and stay as close to the exit door as possible, ready to dart out fast. Avoid rush hour when traveling and spring for first class tickets on trains if possible.
  • For market shopping, try to arrive when they first open so you escape the crowds and when the smells are less pungent.

The noise

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia tree

Crowded cities are noisier by definition, but it goes a bit beyond that when it comes to some countries in which the locals speak loudly and may sound like they are screaming at each other. Markets, busy streets and public transportation venues including subway stations are the most common place for this sort of thing, but there may be other unforeseen places where this might happen too.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Pack a pair of headphones or ear plugs if your son or daughter is noise sensitive


Five Tips For Successful Travel

Don’t take the availability of a western commode for granted. Places like China and Japan still have traditional squatting toilets that your kid may have never seen. Some toilets in Japan are plugged in and make certain sounds disguising the user sounds that may stress out your child. Our son with autism refused to use them at first. He insisted we unplug the toilet each time in the hotel rooms in Japan before he used them, as he was scared of the noises and the fact that they were connected to electricity. The worst were the old fashioned squat toilets in public places like attractions and trains. He can’t squat and kept toppling over and sitting on the floor. The toilet situation got so bad he threatened to take Imodium for the duration of the trip so he wouldn’t have to go potty.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • If you book day trips, ask the tour operators if western toilets are available or head on to the nearest western chain hotel’s lobby if you need to use a bathroom.

Using some planning and tips, travelers with autism can successfully visit countries and Asia.


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