Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mgrelian Sunday Dinner

I came home on Sunday evening to find my family cooking up a real Mgrelian dinner. Within Georgia, there are many groups of people with their own traditions. I live in the region called Samgrelo and the local dialect is called Mgrelian. While it’s a relative of the Georgian language, the two are not mutually intelligible. Locals here speak Georgian in school and work and about town, but speak Mgrelian at home and when spending time with friends. The Samgrelo region also has certain foods that are particular to the region and Sunday’s dinner featured one of the most famous of them, ghome, which is basically “grits” which are eaten in the southern part of the US. It’s made with cornmeal, which has been boiled for a long time until it becomes a gooey substance. Then it is usually eaten with cheese or dipped in various sauces, whatever happens to be available on the table. 

I’ve had ghome before, at weddings and supras, but I’d never seen how it was made. I came home just in time to see the process. It’s pretty simple. 

First you put some cornmeal in a pot with lots and lots of water, then let it cook for a long time, stiring occasionally. Generally white corn flour is used rather than yellow corn flour, but as you can see here, yellow cornmeal is also good.

You can add more corn meal if it’s not thick enough. It should be very gooey, not liquid at all. Kind of like thick oatmeal.

Then serve on a small plate. Preferably, with a piece of cheese or two thrown in while it’s still piping hot so that the cheese melts into the ghome.

After it was served, they left the remaining ghome on the stove and it hardened and basically became tortilla chips!

In addition to this, we had baked chicken, preserved “Mexican cucumber” (whatever that is… it’s not an identifiable vegetable for me, but it certainly doesn’t look like a cucumber), beans and, of course, bread.


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