[Sca-cooks] Estonian food

Stephanie Ross the.red.ross at gmail.com
Mon Jan 28 07:41:48 PST 2013

Ana wrote:

We had something very similar to what you described in Swedish food (Sweden
ruled Estonia and Latvia and Lituany under many years), it's called
"kroppkakor". It's made with potatos, as a kind of big Italian gnocchi or
dumpling. It's filled with ground meat and it taste wonderful.

These kroppkakor are very similar to the potato balls that the Hispanics
(Cubans and Mexicans) make where I live in Florida. Not quite the same as
the meat-filled bread balls I had in Estonia, however; the bread was
distinctly NOT potato-based. I thought they might be Scandinavian because
Estonians today consider themselves Scandinavian and not Slavic, besides
the fact that Sweden ruled Estonia twice before and after the Hanseatic
league. I am dying to get my hands on the book "The Estonians Vikings" to
compare and contrast what we know about the Danish and Scandinavian
Vikings, and how they headed into Russia from Estonia.

A unique schmear that Estonians make for their bread is "egg butter", which
is butter mixed with chopped hard-boiled eggs, salt, chives, parsley and
dill (Estonians love dill, and boiled potatoes are always seasoned with it)
and sometimes sour cream is added too to make it lighter in texture.

There is a section in my book about how food was eaten/prepared "in times
past". Modern cookstoves did not come into being until 1860 - before that
they cooked in pots hung over the fire. Bread was baked once a week
(although there is no description of the ovens, sadly, except that
kohlrabi, turnips and later potatoes were cooked in the hot coals) and
Wednesday and Saturday were fasting, meatless days each week when the
family ate from the pot of porridge. (Always makes me think of the nursery
rhyme "pease porridge hot"). Vegetables, milk and water were added as
necessary to make the consistancy better when reheating it. Meat went from
being roasted in the oven before 1860 to being boiled on the stovetop or
fried in the pan. Pancakes became a staple after this time; before they
baked buns and bread but pancakes were easier to cook on the stovetop. Fish
started being fried at this time too, whereas before it was either baked or
boiled. Rye bread, barley porridge, roasted pork, sauerkraut and cabbage,
pickles, salted herring and fresh fish were the main staples of the diet
for nobles and farmers alike.

Here is a recipe for a lemon drink that is certainly "period-oid" made with
honey, lemon and yeast, a type of small mead it would seem. They also
describe how beer was made for the home if anyone is interested in that
information. There is also a recipe for a type of "kvas", a Russian
bread-based fermented drink that the Estonians call "Leivakali" which I can
also share if anyone is interested. My eating habits have changed since I
visted there. I now drink keefir at home. I used to buy a small glass every
morning at breakfast in Estonia, and I was thrilled to find it recently in
my local grocery stores. Keefir is definitely a staple drink in Estonia, as
well I'm sure in the Scandinavian countries.

Honey-Lemon Drink

700 g honey
5 liters water
25 g yeast
1-3 lemons

Bring the water to a boil. Add the lemon slices and cool to 40 degrees C.
Mix in the honey and let it cool completely. Finally add the yeast and let
it brew until froth forms. Pour into jars and secure tightly with lids.
Store in a cool place.


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