As Wikipedia’s entry for mamaliga or Mămăligă (/mə.mə’li.gə/), states
“Mămăligă Romanian: Mămăligă, Russian: Мамалыга, Polish: Mamałyga, cornmeal mush is a dish made out of yellow maize traditional for Romania and Moldova. It is better known to the rest of the world in its Italian form – polenta.”
the dish is by no means something that Romanians can appropriate more than just being a traditional food to Romania as well as to the whole Balkanic Peninsula. In fact, even if I am a Romanian (living in Chicago), I can’t point out a dish that strictly belongs to Romania due to the cultural influence of continuous Balkan occupations that ruled the small country during the history.
But what IS (or WAS) Mamaliga after all?
Mamaliga was simply a convenient food that was used by farmers or peasants as a staple food, a substitute for bread. Then it became part of the contemporary Romanian cuisine, (or rather Balkanic cuisine), as well as a creative dish in restaurants.
As simple and innocent it sounds, Mamaliga represents a whole identity concept Romanians refer to, a subject that can slide in the philosophy realm that I’ll restrain getting into it for now. I’ll rather keep Mamaliga what it is: food!
This Mamaliga blog is dedicated to my latest passion – cooking – Romanian cuisine with tangential subjects like culture, Romanian diaspora, music, cooking videos, recipes and such. Hope you’ll find it interesting!