© Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya
Earlier this week I went to visit a friend and catch his mama making khachapuri . It takes some practice for the newcomers to remember the word, but taste of a delicious cheese filled flat-breaddelight stays with one for good. I watched Tamuna lovingly caress the dough while she wasflattening it. Generous layer of fresh cheese went in, covered with another layer of dough.Tamuna put her plump, red hands on the dough. “So, with God’s help,” she said, opening theoven.While time was passing slowly and the tasteful was the aroma of khachapuri was gettingstronger, Tamuna told about her childhood in a family of a farmer.“Khachapuri was our Sunday meal delight,” she said, “grandmother was a big cook, and wai me,what a delightful dough she made! With the cheese, it was the taste that is always in mouth, butnever have I tried anything like that again.”“When you find a good Georgian guy to marry,” smiled he old lady, “then will I teach you thekhachapuri secret!” …so much for my desire to learn to cook!I have definitely never had khachapuri as delightful, as Tamuna’s though I consider myself to bea knowledgeable expert: all the times that I am away from Tbilisi, the image of khachapuri andchurchkhella call me back. Upon return, I keep all of my meals simple for several days, until thedelightful “Georgian Pizza” is back into my blood, and I just have to eat it every other day or soto keep the level up.
Pizza from Florence
Walking on the narrow stone-laid streets of Florence, we run into a pizzeria. We had passedmany restaurants and cafes on our way, stayed in front of the boards with menus, reading. Nothing called us.But this little pizzeria, just three wooden tables, called with its warm smell of cheese, melting inthe hit of wooden fire. Called in and did not let us not to obey.The cook looked too severe to me at the beginning. Surrounded by locals, we, two foreigners,were sticking out. I watched the cook from under my eyelashes, so not to attract attention. It wassimply impossible not to watch him. Even being the born-to-be-actor, he did not play. He wouldthrough the dough up into the air not to excite his audience, but to even and round a pizza base.He would sing along with the radio, not in tune, with no words: “O-a-a!...” He would signgravely when it was time to crawl for another log further into the cupboard than it was in area of his comfort. He would answer loudly in grumbling Italian, waiving his arms, to his bold short co-worker who delivered pizza on the tables.