Bosnian Food Day

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Bosnian Food Day

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Cultural event showcases cuisine of a significant St. Louis demographic

A student carrying a blue flag with a yellow triangle lined with white stars beckoned students to enter the Center for Global Citizenship on Monday, March 15 to join Bosnian students in celebrating their culture and cuisine. Upon entering, students were greeted with the smell of ?evapi, a Bosnian take on the kebab, and the Bosnian colors in the form of flags, hats and banners decorating the stairwell leading to the upper level of the CGC.

The people participating in the celebration were quick to provide food for those that asked for it and were willing to explain food ingredients and to what it might be compared. ?evapi, previously mentioned, is minced beef mixed with spices, formed into sausage-like shapes,  then grilled.  The resulting product has a unique texture , the outside is crispy while the inside retains a softer, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Alongside the ?evapi, were sirnica and burek.  Sirnica is a light, croissant-like pastry with cream cheese on top. Burek is a similar type of pastry; however, burek includes meat instead of the cream cheese. To wash down these dishes, the Bosnian students provided Fructal, a thick juice. The brand, popular in the Balkans, uses pure fruit juice which contributed to the viscosity and flavor of the product.

Another drink being offered was Bosnian coffee. Bosnian coffee, very similar to Turkish coffee, is prepared by boiling water first and then adding finely ground coffee to the boiling water. The coffee was prepared in beautiful copper pots called a cevze, and would be poured into a cup called a fildjan. The cevze was placed on top of a hotplate to allow the water to reach boiling point, at which point the student making the coffee added the grounds, insuring the coffee was incredibly hot and fresh.

The coffee was strong with a slight bitterness, but was accompanied by a sugar square. One of the Bosnian students recommended taking a bite of the sugar square prior to drinking the coffee if one did not like the bitterness of the coffee alone.

The display of Bosnian culture in the CGC was accompanied by various facts about the nation, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The capital of the former piece of Yugoslavia is Sarajevo, and it once hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1984. Sarajevo hosted the games prior to the balkanization of the area and the wars that plagued the region, as ethnic groups split from what was once Yugoslavia, throughout the 1990s. Due to the war, many Bosnians sought refugee status and found themselves immigrating to the St. Louis reigon.

St. Louis currently has the largest population of Bosnians outside of Sarajevo, much like Chicago’s relationship with the Polish. St. Louis has seen the national soccer team from Bosnia and Herzegovina pay a visit twice in the last few years. Once in a game against eventual World Cup runner-up Argentina, which ended in a 2-0 loss for the Bosnians, and then again in a game against the Ivory Coast, where the Bosnian team won 2-1.

Bosnian culture has been becoming ingrained in the greater St. Louis experience. It is estimated that 70,000 Bosnians now call St. Louis and the metropolitan area home. Bevo Mill, a former German settlement in St. Louis, now has the nickname of “Little Bosnia,” as it is now home to many Bosnians and has the highest population of Bosnians of any of the St. Louis neighborhoods. Communities that also are heavily Bosnian in the metro area include Affton, Mehlville and Oakville, in South County.