Unemployed in Ireland, Unintended Chef

The Republic of Georgia, the Czech Republic, New Zealand…and now, potentially the final move (maybe next to final move), the Republic of Ireland. Yep, that’s right The Emerald Isle. If you have been following me at all over the years (most of you have because you are family and friends), you know that the Irishmen first met and mentioned in my blog called “Eteri’s Supra” (eterissupra.wordpress.com), who then traveled with me to teach English in the Czech Republic and raise a cat in the blog “Just Czechin In” (justczechinin.wordpress.com) and then wander across New Zealand WWOOFing in “WanderLost”(wanderlostinnz.wordpress.com); is now my husband.

Seeing that most of my family was in the US and most of his was based in Ireland, we went a bit crazy and had two ceremonies. One smaller, outdoor celebration where a Time Lord (or is it a Lord of Space and Time?) married us in Springfield, IL and another larger ceremony/ celebration in a quaint stone church in maybe the most beautiful part of Ireland (Dingle Peninsula) and married by an Uncle Priest. Both were wonderful, amazing, very different from the other and incredibly magical. You just had to be there. I would guess that most of you who read this were at one or the other (thank you for helping make each event so special!)!

So now, we are settling in Ireland. As one would expect, it has been both easy and tough as the non-native. Easy because my new family is wonderful and is family, so I know I have support and comfort in my new home. But it is tough because I am away from my Deda, my “old” family, my friends and my home. I don’t have a set time that I will get to lounge at my childhood home and listen to the cicadas and fall asleep in the humid heat while listening to the house fan. Or shovel snow out of the drive in the cold depths of winter and then snuggle with my obese cat on the couch while listening to Christmas carols and eating home-baked goodies. That is tough. The not knowing when or how much time I will be able to spend in my corner of the world. Much harder than I thought it would be, especially since I have spent the last three years abroad.

As the new title states, I am unemployed in Ireland. I am actively seeking work. Like in any place with a relatively high number of unemployed people, it is a bit difficult to find a job and not being Irish is a bit of a hurdle. Every morning consists of me scrolling through pages of job websites applying to any and everything I might have a chance at getting. There have been a few nibbles, but no bite yet. It takes time. I know this.

That’s the first part of the new title explained, but what about the second part: “Unintended Chef”? Well, that is from the fact that because my in-laws work all day and now my husband does as well, I have the time and the desire to make dinners. And I have become a bit adventurous, maybe even a bit bold.

Upon my arrival, both my husband and I were home during the day. We did the grocery shops together and made our evening meals together. I tended to follow his lead with what to cook because I didn’t know everyone’s tastes and honestly, it’s easy to follow someone else’s lead. We made delicious, classic recipes with potatoes, lamb, pork or beef (my mother-in-law doesn’t eat chicken) and broccoli or carrots or roast vegetables. Simple and tasty! Then, to be honest, I got a bit sick of potatoes- despite how delicious they were. The texture and flavors became a bit repetitive (I can’t help it, I don’t have any Irish blood in me 🙂 ).

Then one day, a sweet potato was bought. Yes, I had had sweet potatoes before (and so has his family) and I really have always liked them, but for whatever reason, I had never thought of getting and using them here in my in-laws house. But that was the beginning.

Once the sweet potato was introduced, other vegetables and different recipes started to pop into our repertoire. My husband started making AMAZING slow cooker pulled pork, beef brisket, and apple pork chops. I started to make taco soup, marinated steaks, and chili. Spinach was brought into the diet one day and has now become a staple. Each new recipe has been a success (for the most part).

For me, at first I needed a recipe and I followed that recipe to the t. Now, I am much more relaxed about not having an ingredient and leaving it out, substituting something or just adding things that sound nice. I eyeball amounts instead of always pulling out the measuring cups or food scale.

I now understand the difficulty of writing a recipe down for someone else. It becomes “use a pinch of that, or maybe a bit of that” without any exact amounts. I used to become mildly frustrated with my Papa for not being able to exactly tell me how he made his delicious pies or cheesetastic khachapuri. Now I understand why his recipes were always approximate amounts and always changing. It also makes a lot of sense why it has been so difficult to replicate my Babu’s dishes (and why he never wrote down a recipe). Also why when I was in Georgia, why it was so difficult to get recipes from Georgian women, they simply didn’t use them. They were shown how to make things and then changed and adjusted according to their and their families’ tastes. Cooking is like a language, it has a base, but then adapts to how it is needed and who it is used. Ok, cooking like a language is a bit of a strange analogy, but I love languages and they are always changing and that seems similar to what cooking has become. So bear with that!

It is fun and I thoroughly enjoy it. This new blog will be a bit about my daily life and the recipes I try and their level of success. I also might throw in a bit about my fitness routine and my ideologies about healthy eating.

With that said, I hope you enjoy following my foibles and triumphs in, and out of, the kitchen!