Post 181: September 2, 2015 Day 2 MOFO : Highlight Enosh and meal from your childhood: Mamaliga cornmeal mush I enjoyed as a child bride 49 years ago

Mircaz Anat: A Center for families and young people coping with mental illness.

Last Friday, August 22nd I strolled around the weekly Yri’d (Fair) on King George. I noticed a new table where paintings and calendars were displayed. I stopped to talk with the people behind the table. The organization is called Mircaz Anat: .

Rechov Shalom Yehuda 29 Talpiot. I understand that clients travel to the center from Beit Shemesh. The list on the left side of the calendar cover, (for which they were very proud) cover are the names of the contributing artists. The center  also offers (Monday and Wednesday Afternoons), English Speaking Social Groups for people with mental issues. The folks hang out, meet new people, and enjoy fun and creative activities in a supportive space. The fees range between 50-100sh/month. 02-672-4723. The range is Young Adults through Middle Age. Enosh: The Israel Association for Mental Health:

The Enosh Organization’s mission is to promote mental health issues for individuals dealing with a psychiatric disability and their families; provide rehabilitation services and support during the recovery process; help improve functioning skills in order to live as independently as possible in the community; and fight stigma. Enosh provides services including housing, vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, social rehabilitation, mentoring, family counseling and support, and continuing education programs.

The agency works with the government (specifically, with the Ministry of Health), and operates 52 centers throughout the country. Contact Information: Main Office: 3 Hacharoshet St. P.O.B 1593 Ramat Hasharon 47113 Main Tel: 03-540-0672 Website:

Email: Jerusalem Office: Rechov Shalom Yehudah 29 P.O.B 91042 Jerusalem, 91042 02-672-4723 Tel Aviv Office: Rechov Benbansti 4 P.O.B.5293 Tel Aviv, 61052 03-681-5032 Dr. Hila Hadas, Executive Director: Email: Tel: 03-540-0672 (119) Mrs. Atalia Deri, Professional Director: Email: Tel: 03-540-0672 (119)

Post 2: Recreate and re-invent a meal from your childhood: Plan: Mamaliga-

cornmeal mush: My husband is Hungarian/Roumanian. He prepared this dish for me when we were first married. I thought that the name was so funny that he made it up. CANNOT be made Vegan, but who was Vegan in Roumania?

See below the raditional Roumanian corn meal (mamaliga) on a white plate. In a future post I will re-invent

Mamaliga Israeli style.

traditional romanian corn meal (mamaliga) on a white plate Stock Photo - 14653182

traditional romanian corn meal (mamal


Historically a peasant food, it was often used as a substitute for bread or even as a staple food in the poor rural areas. However, in the last decades it has emerged as an upscale dish available in the finest restaurants.

Roman influence

Historically, porridge is the oldest form of consumption of grains in the whole of humanity, long before the appearance of bread. Originally, the seeds used to prepare slurries were very diverse as millet or einkorn.

Before the introduction of maize in Europe in the 16th century, mămăligă had been made with millet flour, known to the Romans as pulmentum. Moreover, the Romans ate so much of it that the Greeks called them pultiphagonides (porridge eaters).

Corn’s introduction in Romania

Maize was introduced into Spain by Hernán Cortés from Mexico and spread in Europe in the 16th century. Maize (called corn in the United States) requires a good amount of heat and humidity. The Danube Valley is one of Europe’s regions ideal for growing maize.

A Hungarian scholar documented the arrival of corn in Timişoara, Banat region, 1692. In Transylvania, maize is also called ‘cucuruz’,which could imply a connection between Transylvanian and Serbian merchants, kukuruz being a Slavic word. Some assume it was either Şerban Cantacuzino or Constantin Mavrocorda who introduced corn in Wallachia, Maria Theresa in Transylvania and Constantine Ducas in Moldavia where it is called păpuşoi.  Mămăligă of millet would have been replaced gradually by mămăligă made of corn. The corn then become an important food, especially in the fight against famine which prevailed in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Historian Nicolae Iorga noted that farmers of the Romanian Principalities grew corn since the early-to-mid-17th century.

Etienne Ignace Raicevich, a Ragusan and consul of the Empire in Bucharest in the third quarter of the 18th century, wrote that corn was introduced only da poco tempo.

The existence of corn-based mămăligă is attested since 1873 in the edition of Larousse, a French dictionary: mamaliga s. f. Boiled corn meal, in the Danubian principalities.s


Mămăligă with sour cream and cheese


Traditionally, mămăliga is cooked by boiling water, salt and cornmeal in a special-shaped cast iron pot called ceaun or tuci. When cooked peasant-style and used as a bread substitute, mămăliga is supposed to be much thicker than the regular Italian polenta to the point that it can be cut in slices, like bread. When cooked for other purposes, mămăligă can be much softer, sometimes almost to the consistency of porridge. Because mămăligă sticks to metal surfaces, a piece of sewing thread can be used to cut it into slices instead of a knife; it can then be eaten by holding it with the hand, just like bread.

Mămăligă is often served with sour cream and cheese on the side (mămăligă cu brânză şi smântână) or crushed in a bowl of hot milk (mămăligă cu lapte). Sometimes slices of mămăligă are pan-fried in oil or in lard, the result being a sort of corn pone.

Since mămăliga can be used as an alternate for bread in many Romanian and Moldovan dishes, there are quite a few which are either based on mămăligă, or include it as an ingredient or side dish. Arguably, the most popular of them is sarmale (a type of cabbage roll) with mămăligă.

Another very popular Romanian dish based on mămăligă is called bulz, and consists of mămăligă with cheese and butter and roasted in the oven.


Balmoş (sometimes spelled balmuş) is another mămăligă-like traditional Romanian dish, but is more elaborate. Unlike mămăligă (where the cornmeal is boiled in water) when making balmoş the cornmeal must be boiled in sheep milk. Other ingredients, such as butter, sour cream, telemea (a type of feta cheese), caş (a type of fresh curdled ewe cheese without whey, which is sometimes called “green cheese” in English), urdă (a type of curdled cheese obtained by boiling and curdling the whey left from caş), etc., are added to the mixture at certain times during the cooking process. It is a specialty dish of old Romanian shepherds, and

Veal Stew with Polenta - © Lebhar-Friedman Books, used with permission.
Veal Stew with Polenta.  © Lebhar-Friedman Books, used with permission.

It’s not surprising this Romanian cornmeal porridge or mamaliga is similar to Italian polenta. In the 16th century, the Turks introduced corn brought by Venetian merchants from the New World to northern Italians and Romanians, who planted the corn and made mush with it. This mush became Italian polenta and Romanian mamaliga. Mamaliga is a staple and is served on peasant tables and in the fanciest restaurants. It can be made in so many ways — boiled in water, stock or milk, with cheese or sour cream, herbs, butter, and on and on. This is a basic soft mamaliga recipe.

Makes 6 servings of Romanian mamaliga

See Also
    • 3 1/2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal
    • Sour cream (optional)
    • Telemea or feta cheese (optional)
    • Fresh herbs of choice (optional)
  • Prep Time: 0 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes


  1. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the salt and butter (oil) , stirring to melt. Using a wooden spoon, add the cornmeal very gradually, while stirring constantly in the same direction.

  2. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 35-40 minutes. Serve hot.

  3. NOTE: If desired, while mamaliga is still hot, add more butter, cheese, sour cream and herbs. Mamaliga can also be served with a dollop of sour cream. Mamaliga can be poured into a pan. When cool, it can be flipped out onto a cutting board, cut into squares and sauteed in butter.



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