Food Culture and Tradition

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Baltic Foods Glossary and Food Terms


Berries: the finest and sweetest berries are said to be from Estonia. Here are some of the varieties:

Karusmari: gooseberries.

Klukva: large juicy cranberries. A favorite Estonian drink is vodka and cranberry juice called “The Rolling Estonian.”

Murakad: cloudberries.

Pohlad: l i ngo nberries.

Punane Sostar: red currants.

Bliinid: Estonian version of Russian Blini.

Estonian Fruit Salad: a combination of dried and fresh fruits (or just one type) cooked, then layered in jars and preserved with a syrup of water, sugar, and wine vinegar.

Halva: Estonian confection of a peanut-flavored flaky sweet. (Mediterranean halva is made from sesame seeds.)

Kama: a special flour that is made from a mixture of grains and legumes, dried, roasted then ground. This flour is then mixed with sour milk or cream and lightly flavored with salt or sugar to form a soup consistency. This cool soup is used throughout the summer in Estonia as a refreshing snack or beverage.

Kapsad: cabbage.

Kartuli-Tangpudru: a mixture of barley and potatoes, slowly baked in a casserole. Sometimes onions and ham are added. This often accompanies soup to make a filling meal. An Estonian favorite.

Koksimine: the Estonian “egg game played at Easter time. The decorated hard-cooked eggs are knocked against an adversary’s eggs, the object being to see how many eggs you can crack before yours is broken. Many jokes are played as part of this game, including decorating eggs that are not hard-cooked; even painted rocks have been known to become winning eggs.

Koogel-Moogel: an Estonian treat made of egg yolks, thickly beaten with sugar; eaten as a pudding.

Korbid: slightly sweetened cheesecake baked in a round shape.

Kugelis: baked Lithuanian potato pudding, often with eggs and onions.

Lekakh: Jewish Lithuanian honey cake. Also popular in Poland.

Lietiniai: Lithuanian soup accompaniment, made from tiny pancakes filled with the ground, seasoned soup meat. The tiny “parcels” are crisply fried then served with clear broth. Crumbled bacon garnishes the soup.

Ligzdinas: large juicy Latvian meatballs filled with mushrooms or a whole hard-cooked egg.

Mulgi Kapsad: Estonian casserole of sauerkraut, potatoes, and pork hocks or pork tails (or any pork cut), seasoned with salt, pepper, and bay leaf. So popular, it is almost a staple dish.

Pannkoogid: huge Estonian pancakes, which are almost a meal in themselves, eaten plain or with berries and sour cream.

Pirukas: Russian in origin, this Estonian soup accompaniment is made of plain yeast dough, filled with meat, vegetables, or grains, shaped into half-moons and deep-fried or baked.

Pudru: Estonian name for any porridge made from grains.

Pulmasupp: Estonian country-wedding soup, a rich soup of butter-browned meat, with dumplings and added vegetables. Traditionally eaten from wooden spoons and bowls for the wedding supper. Accompanied by beer in wooden steins.

Rassolnye or Rossolye: Estonian mixed salad of beets and potatoes, herring and meat, blended with sour cream dressing.

Solianka: Latvian fish soup. Supp: soup.

Suris: white Lithuanian cheese resembling pot cheese, or the Italian ricotta.

Sult: Estonian specialty of sliced veal molded in its own aspic.

Tule-Homme Taas: literally, “Come back tomorrow,” a satisfying Estonian pancake dish: huge pancakes wrapped around a filling. The filling may be cream cheese, spinach, carrots, or apples with sugar.

Vinegretas: Lithuanian version of Rossolye. An appetizer salad of beets, potatoes, herring and cubed meats, blended with a dressing of seasoned sour cream.

Virtiniai: Lithuanian soup dumplings made of filled noodle pastry. For Christmas Eve these are filled with mushrooms and served in a clear meatless beet stock.

Zalbarsciai: light Lithuanian soup made from grated beets and buttermilk. In the spring, the shredded beet greens are added.

Zrazy: rolled-up filled slices of beef or veal, made in individual servings or as a large roast to be sliced. A favorite throughout the Baltic.

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