About the Spicy Balkan

About the Spicy Balkan

I am the Spicy Balkan.

From a young age, I watched the women who raised me cook traditional dishes with all the love and passion they could give. The flavors of love made cooking second nature to me. It became my creative outlet, and no matter what was in the fridge, I could whip up a delicious hearty meal. Today, it's what keeps me grounded and reminds me of who I am.

 Growing up, I spent my summers with my Djedo in Bosna, and some of my fondest memories were from back home. I almost feel like I raised myself, navigating through life. I saved every dollar I had to make sure I could go back, and I never missed a year. Bike rides through the selo, learning how to drive a standard through cornfields, and late nights by the bazen were what I lived for. I remember at age 11 feeling like this is the life I want to live, and I did. I wasn't born there, but my roots ran deep. It felt like home. These were the highlights of my childhood, a chance for me to get away from all the noise and just live.

My sister, Djedo and I.

Ujna and Ujkos house, where my Djedo was born, and my second home.
Not one ever understood why I wanted to go back; the war had ended only a few short years before I started going back. But seeing my family rebuild their life taught me that I could get through anything in life. The energy exchange was strong, and I felt it. Finding happiness was easy.

Early 2000s in my happy place

So, here I am today, making the most difficult and tedious Balkan dish there is. It's a reflection of my life. Not everything will be easy, but if you push through the rough spots, the results are sweeter than ever. It's all about the process and the journey, and I'm built for it.
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