Simple as beans festival in Serbia

CNC
Added On June 11, 2018

Rather than using "a piece of cake", Serbians use the phrase of "simple as pasulj" to describe something easy.
 
On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in country's northern town of Temerin to celebrate the "Simple As Beans" festival.
 
LIFESTYLES takes you there to have a look.
     
The festival gathered about 190 teams at the fairground in Temerin, each with eight members.
 
Over an open wood fire, they competed for the best pasulj, which takes into account the color (yellowish-brown), density, greasiness and flavoring.
   
On one side of the fairground, a giant cauldron with around 2,000 litres of the dish slowly boiled, while Bruno Skeledzija, an official cook of the festival, stirred it patiently.
 
After some four hours of cooking, it was served to hundreds of people waiting in a line.
   
SOUNDBITE(SERBIAN)BRUNO SKELEDZIJA, Official cook of the festival:
"In this cauldron we put the meat of two piglets weighing around 200 kg, 200 kg of white kidney beans, 100 kg of onions, and we also add green hot peppers and carrots. We are cooking in the giant cauldron for the ninth consecutive year."
   
For Skeledzija, this is the ninth consecutive year of preparing the massive dish at the festival, and although cooking for him is just a hobby, he said that over time his team perfected a recipe that suits the taste of the locals.
   
He agreed that the traditional passion of Serbians for cooking outdoors over an open fire continued to live in the form of festivals such as "Simple As Beans", where people can get together and have fun.
   
Tamara Site, director of the local tourist organization told Xinhua that around 7,000 people visit the one-day festival, which is a success for the small town of Temerin.
 
SOUNDBITE (Serbian) TAMARA SITE, Director of the festival
"Around 7,000 people visit the one-day festival, which is a success for the small town of Temerin. Pasulj is not the only attraction of the festival. People come here to enjoy cultural program, including some odd but funny sporting competitions named "TemerinGames", and a big pasulj-related charity event."
 
As pasulj in hundreds of cauldrons was slowly being cooked by skillful hands of amateur chefs, the audience, covered in veil of smoke, was entertained children singing and dancing on the main stage, followed by one of the oddest sporting competitions in Serbia -  a race of husbands carrying their wives.
   
The atmosphere at the competitor's stands was also cheerful, with team members together with their friends enjoying live folk orchestras that circle among them and entertain the crowds.
   
SOUNDBITE (SERBIAN) MILAN, Visitor from Czech Republic:
"In the Czech Republic we also prepare pasulj, but it is nothing like this. We are very satisfied to see that so many people here are preparing pasulj."
   
Zlatibor Sekulic, a Serbian who has lived 50 years in Vienna could not hide his excitement after visiting the festival for the first time.
 
SOUNDBITE (SERBIAN) ZLATIBOR SEKULIC, Visitor:
"One friend told me: Let's go to a place, it's a surprise. I ask him, where to? To Temerin, he says. When I saw this here, I was amazed. Something like this cannot be found elsewhere, even in Vienna. Believe me, I am 75 years old, so I know."
  
The recipe of pasulj is indeed very simple. Even children here know that garlic, onions, fresh and smoked meat together with vegetables would make a pasulj after several hours of cooking.
   
But if it is such "a piece of cake", or "simple as pasulj", what makes this festival so special?
   
Chef Skeledzija has a unique observation.
 
He said "togetherness" is the magical ingredient.