Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Basil is back in the market, and I decided to make some pesto for dinner tonight. In the past, I've used little snack-size bags of hazelnuts or almonds, but, as my Serbian gets better, I'm more willing to talk to local characters, of which there are many, in the green market.

I'd noticed a few stalls with bins or stacked pyramids of what look like walnuts, so I looked up the word online. Orah, plural Oraci. That's easy. But just to be sure, I looked up "nuts." Same. What gives?

So this morning, around 8, the market was a flurry of activity--positive energy and the buzz of hard work everywhere. I went up to an older man who I am sure had a glass of rakija for breakfast (and I mean this in a good way) and asked him "Koleko coshta" pointing at the walnuts. "500 denars a kilo" ($5) he told me. "Give me like this," I told him, making a basket with my hands. That turned out to be 250 denars worth, plenty for tonight's dinner, with some left over.

"Kako se zove?" I asked him, as I handed him the bills. "Orah," he told me. So I had that right.

I asked my colleague about it this afternoon. It turns out that the word for nuts and walnuts is one and the same. Different varieties have come into the market over the years, but once upon a time, I guess there was only one kind of nut available locally.

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