The modern people changed their perception about having a meal during the day and maybe that's why their physical condition suffered many transformations. I really believe that the monastery cuisine could be an alternative to the unhealthy type of food specific to our century.
A monastery cuisine is something you don't know much about. But there are two major ways to look at it: first of all - it's directly linked to the church's liturgical cycle (as a true and asine qua non fact)and second - there are three degrees in eatingthe food: temperance, sufficiency and satiety.
Monks food is just a basic one. Nothing lavish, luxurious or extravagant. A single meal without oil (or any other kind of fat) is eaten at noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Salads, baked beans or peas, vegetable soups, a dish made of all vegetables cooked together in just one pot, sometimes fish is allowed, cheese, bread, potatoes, fruits, seeds, polenta and all that kind of stuff what makes us (the common people) to only think about...surviving.
Because we are now in those days before Easter, food must be cooked and eaten according to religious and spiritual rules.
No fish or meat is allowed, no cheese, butter, milk or eggs are permitted during the forty days of Lent ending with Easter. The most reverent monks eat nothing during the last days of thefasting period.
In the laic life, simple people try to follow monks teachings or practices. In the same time, they also try to adapt their needs to their religious/moral roots, sent to him by ancestors.The success depends only on their own will and determination.
ideal ForI also learnt a lot from the monks I met. I learnt how to cook having almost "nothing" and to know how to choose the best way to satisfy my soul.
Being an old recipe,'Monks stew' is the perfect way to combine all vegetables you have in your cellar. Nothing is too much or too less.
Radu Anton Roman,my Master and a guru in collecting old recipes belonging to Romanian cuisine, has the best recipe of this stew.
"A thriftier food if, well sobered, makes you lick the pan and the smoked pot's back too...and to kiss the hand that made it 'cause it's a sanctifed one.
1 plate of green beans
3 bouquets of parsley,
salt, pepper (if the chelating of the monastery has it )
1 small celery
1 small cabbage
100 ml tomato pasta
1 cup of oil
1. Peel onions, zucchini, celery, carrots, potatoes.
2. Chop onions and saute them into the oil.
3. Cut vegetables:into bite size-potatoes and zucchini, thinly slice-carrots, celery and tomatoes, into thin slices-cabbage, chop cauliflower, green beans and peppers into bite size pieces.
4. Put all the ingredients on top of the onion and let them saute for awhile.
5. Cover all with water, add salt and pepper and some parsley (not all of it). Place the pan in oven for about an hour.
6. Now,that the stew is ready, you can "let it snow..." with the remaining parsley.
As you can see,everything is from chelating mothers' garden and,the monastery wine of Valcea('cause guests invited at dinner have other indulgences than monks restraints)can not be compared with anything: it's a white wine from the chalkstone of the mountain, a little sweeter than its laic brother. Although,not being a very dry one(the Holy Book doesn't allow you to push the Lord grooms to do naughty stuff ...)this wine of the monasteries across the Olt River has a great body, which gives warmth and love of people."( Excerpt from the book " Dishes, wines and Romanian customs" written by Radu Anton Roman)
It can be served with polenta or bread or, as it is.