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Bosnian baklava (Image: Baked in Bosnia)
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Baked in Bosnia is the Balkan comfort we now need every week

Sunday night is perhaps our least favorite night to cook. By then, we’re dealing with the pre-Monday scaries and not in the mood to take on any kind of potentially stressful task like burning dinner. Seattleites are in luck, though, because Sunday is pickup day at Baked in Bosnia.

Owned by Selma and Eric Mansell, Baked in Bosnia is a pre-order restaurant serving phenomenal starters, main dishes, desserts and drinks all coming from Selma’s roots growing in Bosnia and later Germany.

“Selma has always been extremely passionate about food,” Eric said. “I think a lot of that comes from her Bosnian roots. That’s kind of what happens when you grow up in a country where everybody cooks what is grown on their own small farm.”

Each week, Selma and Eric create a new menu for Baked in Bosnia. The rotating menu always features an appetizer, A Bosnian-style pita, side salad, soup or stew, a main entree, dessert and a drink. Everything is offered a la carte, so go ahead and pick and choose whatever sounds the best, or take our recommendation and order it all.

Here’s what we’re talking about when we say order it all. For starters, dive into the Suho Meso & Cheese Platter, which is one of Baked in Bosnia’s best-kept secrets. The suho meso cured and smoked beef is served with feta cheese and bread. Next is the Bosnian pita, made from layers of newspaper-thin phyllo dough stuffed with cheeses, meats and vegetables and then coiled into a delicious spiral.

For a main dish, choose between Bosnian goulash or chicken and spaetzle, a recipe Selma’s mom perfected while working at a restaurant in Germany. Dessert options range from Bosnian baklava to Bavarian plum cake.

Every dish at Baked in Bosnia is something Selma grew up eating with her family in Bosnia and then Germany when they fled to escape the Bosnian War, and then in Wisconsin when they immigrated to America. Selma and her right hand in the commissary kitchen, Jerri Andreasen, make everything from scratch each week.

Cooking has always been a part of Selma’s life.

“I was always really passionate about food and cooking for my family and friends,” Selma said. “The Bosnian culture is really welcoming, and we’re all about being the best host possible. We want to welcome people into our family by offering them literally the best food they’ve ever had. That’s who we are, and we’ve always been like that.”

On a trip to Paris, Selma gathered momentum behind the idea of starting her own restaurant, inspired by the small vendors who perfected a handful of menu items. When the Mansell’s moved to Seattle four years ago, Selma’s dream was to share Bosnian food with the fantastic culinary scene here. But the Mansell’s altered their plans when they learned their oldest daughter is autistic.

Prioritizing family, Selma and Eric worked out a schedule to be home with their daughter to help facilitate in-home therapy. The schedule of Sunday pickups for Baked in Bosnia became the best plan to make this happen. Come Friday afternoon, Selma turns all of her attention to baking and cooking this week’s menu while Eric takes over childcare.

It’s time-consuming work to make everything from scratch, and it’s often stressful to work on a short timeline, but it’s work that Selma and Eric find rewarding.

“We have amazing food here in Seattle, so it’s really intimidating to start something that isn’t well-represented here,” Selma said. “But I want to teach people about the Bosnian culture, and I really want to do that because I feel that it’s phenomenal food. We all have our favorite regional foods - why can’t Bosnian be one of them?”

With orders packed up and ready to go each Sunday, Selma goes back to focusing on her family, planning future menus, catering and special events like her upcoming cake event, “Slices of My Life.” Features 13 cakes, each representing certain parts of her life from war and asylum to love and laughter.

In the future, the Mansells would like to host a Baked in Bosnia giveaway to families with special needs children since they know first-hand how difficult it can be to find time for a quality family meal.

As we enjoy sipping on some rose lemonade and prepare to indulge in both a Bosnian cucumber, tomato salad and steak Burek, we have Baked in Bosnia to thank for making Sunday night dinner something we look forward to each week.

Baked in Bosnia offers a varied weekly menu for pickup at 501 2nd Ave W #100 on Sundays. Pre-orders are required and can be done on their website. Sign up for the newsletter to get menu previews and special event notifications.

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