Irina, this week we will start your author column, which will be available online. We know you’ll be cooking, but every episode will also feature a special guest. Tell us more, how will this series of videos be different from other curated videos on the web?
I believe that our minds have the ability to reproduce strong past experiences over and over again into reality. All that is needed is the right “outside activators”. Sometimes it can be an association, sometimes a sound, a smell or an image. I also believe that there are memories that we can only bring back through taste, through food. The “Sunday Soup for the Soul” series is dedicated to the stories of my guests, and a dish brings them back. In general: they tell me about a favorite dish from their past. I cook for them and as we eat together, they share the story behind this flavor and recipe. Sunday is the day that each of us devotes most to ourselves, to more pleasant activities and quieter souls, and soup is a food that brings peace and comfort on all levels. In this way, this pun “mixes” the exact feeling I hope to leave in our audience: the feeling of a long, pleasant Sunday amidst warm memories and delicious moments.
Who were your first guests and what culinary stories did you create together?
My first guests are the people I know best, but who still managed to really surprise me with the recipes we wanted to experience together and the stories behind them. These are my husband Ivan Hristov and my old friend – Ralitsa Naydenova. The dishes I prepared for them, I prefer the audience to learn from the episodes.
What is your Sunday soup for the soul?
My Sunday soup… has so many flavors! I have shared most of them in my cookbook “Rituals from my Kitchen”, but the puzzle of flavors that make up our lives is vast, so I think there will always be untold recipes… Sometimes I eat the most on Sundays. Simple tomato pasta sauce, garlic and cheese with a glass of wine, watching soap operas on the couch… (this meal takes me back a few weeks in my 20s. Then my mom and I were recovering from surgery. and I spent almost 20 days in bed and watching movies on VCRs. .. and next to our bed there was a bottle of water and a bottle of wine in a champagne cooler. We watched, we slept, we drank… When we got hungry, we pressed pause and one of us went to the kitchen to make pasta or mashed potatoes with lemon and butter and continued with the video marathon distracting us from our pain)
Once again, I will want to celebrate life with something slow-cooked, like slow-roasted, around which to gather our children and friends… The third time my Sunday is quiet… It tastes like tea, like fruit, on top. mountain and meadows after the rain – these meadows above the village of Makotsevo, where my grandmother taught me to recognize grasses and rain clouds.
What all the personal “Sunday Soup for the Soul” have in common is the effect they have on me. One type: an animated flavor that always gives me joy, sweet nostalgia, and peace.
You are a very active woman, do you really have time to cook for your family?
In my value system and lifestyle, cooking for the people I love is not a matter of time. It is a way of life, care and attention of those I love and understanding the time we share. Food brings people together. Good food keeps them together longer at the table and gives them added value – in addition to satiety, you get health and good emotions. How can I take this away from my children? Of course, there are days when we order sushi or pizza, but when we are at home, everyone always prefers to eat fried eggs or sandwiches, but they are prepared by me. This recognition is also an incentive hahahahahaha…
I work weeks in a row without a day off, maintaining the house and our garden, taking care of the children’s school and leisure schedules, and there are intervals… when I get to our house, I really want to. lie down and sleep to gain strength for the next day. I do sometimes. Other times, I work on my attitude. To do something well, it is very important to do it with the attitude that you are doing it for you, to get the added value we get from our personal rituals. Cooking has become a personal ritual for me, and often, when I enter the kitchen, I feel relaxed and recharged. I want to convey this attitude to more women, so I also wrote my book.
One of the dramas of the modern workforce is lack of time. Will you offer them quick and easy healthy eating solutions?
Oh, yes, of course! In fact, the dishes that take a long time can be counted on two hands. The other dishes, which seem to take a lot of time and are delicious, for heat treatment, marinating, rising… usually require time for us and time that we can do other things in that time.
Anyone can cook anything. I am convinced of this, and I hope that the various recipes of my guests, which will try to fulfill our audience, will prove it.
Why did you choose to implement this project in collaboration with Fantastico? How did your paths cross?
The first Fantastico store opened 30 years ago on Madrid Blvd. in Sofia opposite my grandparents’ cooperative. My bedroom window looked opposite and I remember how I saw it in my teenage years: a colorful, lit and modern “place” at the back of the old boulevard, I looked and imagined that I was not in Bulgaria, I was already working and shopping for my family there every day – everything so It was “western” and beautiful! Like from an advertisement. Today, decades later, I’m in my hometown of Sofia and I’m living the life I imagined then, as things turned out, to make my “neighborhood store” where I shop every day “Fantastico” again. He and I have grown up (I’m not sure, but I think his footage is 30 times the size of his first object, I won’t talk about my age, hahaha), but the emotion of shopping there is the same.
It puts me at ease and encourages me to enjoy and experiment with the great selection of products. Because of this emotional connection, I also held a meeting with my readers in Sofia, not in a bookstore, but in my shop, from where the food goes to our table, to notebooks with favorite recipes and memories. I think that after this brief introduction, you yourself understand that the most logical collaboration in the “Sunday Soup for the Soul” project is precisely with “Fantastico” – we share a common history, common values, quality criteria and culinary philosophy. I and the team behind this Bulgarian brand believe that food is more than a raw material and a commodity. It is a source of happy emotions and a reason to be together. With the video series, we hope to convey this feeling to our viewers as well.