Vivi likes kasha!
When I was little, my mom used to do a Slovak finger play that involved "kasha" or porridge. I can't remember the exact words and I certainly can't read Slovak but I think it might have been this one -- it was a bit like "This Little Piggy," in that it involved the adult lightly gripping, with her forefinger and thumb, each of the fingers of the child's hand as each line was recited. After the last line, during which the littlest finger was gripped, the adult's fingers ran up the child's arm and tickled him or her under the chin:
The mother mouse was cooking porridge,
In that colourful pot,
To this one she gave a little on his spoon,
To this one she gave a little in his bowl,
To this one she gave a little on his plate,
And to that one she gave some on his wooden spoon.
But she did not give any to the small one,
Cause there was none left.
So she sent him to the pantry to eat some jam.
Apparently the word kasha, in Eastern European cultures, refers to any type of porridge, which is a dietary staple there at least a thousand years old. In American English, the word kasha usually refers to buckwheat groats and buckwheat was certainly one of the oldest kinds of cereals used to make porridge in Eastern Europe.
As a result of trying to eat much more healthily here in the crooked house, we've been shopping more often in the organic section of the grocery store, which is where I came across a packet of organic kasha, the roasted buckwheat kernel kind. Although we ate a number of Slovak dishes when I was growing up, I'd never tried this. Vivi and I whipped up a pot this morning, and ate it with a spoonful of honey and some milk. It was, suprisingly, delicious! (As the very healthy-looking, slightly strange-smelling grain boiled away in the pot I was already mentally going through the list of words I expected to use to describe its taste -- they included "terrible," "awful," "no good," "very bad," and, of course, "yuck." I was astonished to be wrong.) We will have to try some of the many, many, many other recipes for kasha -- sweet or savoury; breakfast, lunch, or dinner; main or side -- found here.
Pretty word, too, isn't it? Kasha. I expect a celebrity will use it as a name for a baby any day now.