I recently asked a group of schoolchildren to identify the differences between the UK and Bulgaria. They came up with some gems like ‘we have more garlic in Bulgaria’ and ‘in the UK, if you go to someone’s house, you are expected to do their housework.’ (???)
I’ll be in 3 different countries in the next two weeks. If you, like me, sometimes struggle to remember where you are, then here are some of the key ways to identify that you’re in a Bulgarian home, apart from the fact that they don’t expect you to do their chores…
Bulgarians LOVE cupboards. In most houses, they are built from floor to ceiling. In my last apartment, there were cupboards IN the shower. One of my friends even has cupboards on the ceiling of his living room. The CEILING.
2. Horizontal toaster
Toasters in Bulgaria are perpendicular to ours. Which I suppose means that they could be called either horizontal toasters or teeny-weeny grilling machines. Regardless, they are ideally suited to making принцеса (or cheese on toast), a Bulgarian breakfast second in popularity only to the banitsa.
3. Double hob
Kitchens in most Bulgarian homes are kitted out with a miniature oven with two hobs. As a Brit, this blows my mind – in the UK even a pensioner living on their own will have 4 hobs and probably a full sized oven. Cooking my friends a traditional dish of haggis, neeps, tatties and black pudding proved quite a challenge for me recently. Especially since one of our two hobs is broken
4. Skanky flip flops
There is one certainty when you enter a Bulgarian home – and that is that when you have taken off your shoes, a pair of incredibly battered flip flops, worn by innumerable guests through countless generations, will be forced upon you. This is a hospitable act intended to keep your feet warm, although as someone who has a mild phobia of feet I sometimes find it difficult to remember this…