Eating and preparing Latvian foods is important – not only for our health, but according to ancient Latvian beliefs, it is important to ensure we have plenty of good luck and love in our lives with fewer tears. As well, by knowing that what we are enjoying is the same food our ancestors or our friend’s ancestors would have been enjoying, then not only our bellies will be happy! Pull out a recipe from Our Latvian Recipe Basket to try and ensure you have a good future!
Latvians, like many other nations, have many beliefs about WHAT we need to do and WHEN and HOW we are to do those activities (or not do). For example, there is a well-known Latvian belief that on the evening of “Jāņi” (Latvian summer solstice celebration), you must jump over a bonfire so that mosquitos will not bother you, but did you know that during that same evening you must run naked around the fields to ensure a bountiful crop? There are also many and varied beliefs specifically about food, or how it is prepared or eaten, for example – it is believed that while making bread, you must curse a lot while kneading the dough to ensure that it will rise well, or if you eat sauerkraut then you will always have strength! (Can you not envision a Latvian version of “Popeye The Sailorman” where instead of getting his super strength after eating a can of spinach, he gets it after eating a plate of Grandma’s super yummy sauerkraut??) There is a belief that at Christmas you must eat nine times so that you will have good luck the following year, however, there is another belief that not only must you eat nine times, but that there must be nine different dishes on the table. That sure does seem like a lot of eating, but the nine different dishes belief is to ensure that the following year is prosperous and fruitful, which does seem like a very good reason to have to do so much cooking and eating, don’t you think? There are also beliefs about what kind of meals should be amongst those nine dishes, for example a roast chicken needs to be on the table to ensure success in the future, fish – for money, gingerbread cookies – for love and peas so tears are not shed. We have heard that “Jāņi” cheese must be made so that the cows don’t get sick and “Pīrāgi” need to be eaten so new surprises can be expected and grey peas need to be consumed to ensure you have tons of money. See how important it is to prepare AND to eat Latvian food??? Otherwise you will be poor, unlucky and alone – with sick cows.
Fellow citizens! Let’s not be poor, unlucky and alone – with sick cows. Let’s prepare Latvian food! If you don’t have your own favourite recipe, or are looking for a new Latvian recipe to try then look in Our Latvian Recipe Basket!
In Our Latvian Recipe Basket we have shared only some of our family recipes, but we know that there are many other very tasty recipes out there – each dearly loved, but different from one another – just as we are all. We hope that you will continue to share your favourite family recipes thereby further filling the Recipe Basket and providing more options for everyone to try and enjoy! Feel free to share a little bit of the history of the recipe or if there is a story about the recipe or about when the dish was enjoyed. Also don’t forget to check out what goodies you can get at our Letts Shop, including the “Latvian Cooking” cookbook where you will be able to find other Latvian recipes to try. Please send your recipes, stories and feedback to email@example.com
JĀŅU SIERS | “JĀŅI” CHEESE | Meta Bāze
KĀPOSTI – SALDSKĀBIE | SWEET AND SOUR CABBAGE | Zelma Brežinska
PASKA | Zelma Brežinska
PIPARKŪKAS | GINGERBREAD COOKIES | Austra Bārs
RASOLS | BEET, POTATO AND HERRING SALAD | Zelma Brežinska
ZUPA – KĀPOSTU | CABBAGE SOUP | Zelma Brežinska
ZUPA – SKĀBEŅU | SORREL SOUP | Zelma Brežinska
FISH IN RED MARINADE | Austra Bārs