September is fast approaching, and around here that means the plums are ready to fall off the trees and the time to make the local rakija is upon us. Slivovica (or plum brandy to the uninitiated) is part of the staple diet of Bosnians, coming out at any gathering or event. You can buy it in shops, but that is shunned in favour of the homemade stuff. The making of it is an event in itself, lots of people get together to eat and drink and look forward to drinking the rest of the gallons of it throughout the year. We, the unBosnian Brits, might get through a litre in the year (and secretly use most of the stuff we've been given to get the ticks off the dog). The Bosnian party could get through that in a night.
We were chatting with some friends the other night, arranging our annual sliva fix. The men were animated, discussing the best way to ensure the purest brew. Dave offered to bring along his homebrew ale, but they waved it away - a kit? you just add water? It is like orange squash! - it appears they are only interested if he was to be picking the hops himself. Dave retreated to lick his wounded manly pride, muttering darkly about the difficulties of the art of homebrew.
Anyhow, during the course of the conversation we discovered what the Bosnian word for the still, the moonshine maker, the contraption that permits them to make the brandy is. Literally translated it means Happy Machine.