Cooking in Moldova
Buying spices here (ok, actually anything here) is an interesting process, because living in a multilingual city means that any given item can come in one of several languages (most common are Romanian and Russian, though I've also seen English and German). In preparation for Thanksgiving, I had to look up some spices I needed in both Romanian and Russian, hoping that between the two I might find what I was looking for (I was 1 for 3 but I don't think it was because of my language deficiencies). This sure makes the experience of going to the grocery store interesting every time!
Another interesting difference about living in Moldova arrived the other day when I bought some powdered sugar. I was using it for some sort of baked confection, and I tasted some of it before adding it. Upon tasting it, I immediately felt like it was less sweet than American powdered sugar--but how could that be?? It's just sugar, right?
As it turns out, no: this powdered sugar includes powdered milk, butter, and several other ingredients, making up more than half of the powdered sugar mix.
After using it in several recipes, I don't actually mind it not being as sweet, but it was sure a surprise at first!