Each nation has its own form of nutrition, in different countries different foodstuffs are used in particular ways according to the established taste of the nation. In olden times bread and different farinaceous foods were mostly eaten by Estonians. Different other foodstuffs like meat (mostly salted), fish (dried, salted and fresh) and butter were called something eaten together with bread. Milk and milk products were little used. During the milking period butter was made and it was stored salted for autumn and winter. Pea, bean, lentil, barley and flour soups had an important part in nutrition. Porridges were also appreciated. In spring and summer soups were made of young goutweed, common nettle, sorrel and even thistle. Fresh and salted or pickled mushrooms, berries and nuts were eaten a lot. Fresh or pickled birch sap was drunk until late summer. Food and drinks were sweetened with honey. Sausages made of barley and pork (white pudding in Northern Estonia and black pudding in Southern Estonia), pork head, pork meat and meat jelly were eaten as festive foods. Pies with different stuffings were made. Beer and mead were made for drinking. Beer was usually made of barley malt, and mead of water and honey and it was let to ferment. Most of these foods are eaten nowadays as well, but Estonians eat hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, pizzas and other internationally well-known dishes.
Some recipes: light ale (kvass), salted baltic herring, meat jelly, Estonian dish of sauerkraut, barley groats and pork, sauerkraut soup, bean or pea soup, white bread, griddle-bread, black pudding.
LIGHT ALE or KVASS
1 kg bread
10 l water
500 g sugar
50 g yeast
Pour boiling water onto toasted bread, add some sprays of black current, cover it and let it stay some hours. Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and add to filtered kvass. Let it stay and pour into kvass or beer vessel. Use after some days.
SALTED BALTIC HERRING
3 kg fresh Baltic herring
300 g coarse salt
4 tablespoons sugar
Gut and wash Baltic herring, rub with salt and let stay for some hours. The put a layer of salt and sugar on the bottom of a prepared container, then a layer of Baltic herring, etc. Cover with a clean board together with a lightweight. Serve with sour cream, chopped onions and boiled hot potatoes.
500 g bony (young) beef
3 middle-sized onions (with skin)
1 small piece of garlic
ca 10-12 peppercorns
5 corns of pimento
2 laurel leaves
Wash meat, put it into cold water and boil, when starts to boil, remove
Let hardly boil using low heat
About an hour later add onion, garlic and carrots. Carrot slices can beforehand be slightly roasted on dry frying pan.
Boil on a low heat until bones separate from meat.
Add salt and spices 10-15 minutes before the end of boiling.
Cut the meat into small pieces, stir it into the broth, Bring to the boil. Flavour.
Put into bowls and cool.
Serve with hot boiled potatoes, and pumpkin salad, mustard and horse-radish.
ESTONIAN DISH OF SAUERKRAUT, BARLEY GROATS AND PORK
1 kg sauerkraut
700 g slightly salted pork
100 g barley groats
Boil sauerkraut with a little water, add washed barley and pork on sauerkraut.
Stew, stir from time to time, add salt.
Put sauerkraut on a dish, add sliced meat. Dress with tomatoes and herbs. Serve with boiled potatoes.
2.5 l water
500 g sauerkraut
500 g pork
Boil sauerkraut, pork and chopped onion on a low heat, add salt.
BEAN OR PEA SOUP
2.5 l water
200 g beans or peas
300 g smoked meat
200 g potatoes
3 tablespoons sour cream
Wash and macerate beans or peas (ca 3-5 hours). Bring to the boil, add smoked meat’s rind, chopped onion and salt. Boil, add smoked meat and cubed potatoes. Serve with sour cream.
1 l water or milk
25 g yeast
2 kg wheat flour
Liquidise yeast in warm milk or water, add sugar, salt and flour. Knead the dough and let it rise. (Cover with a towel, do not put in a cool or draughty place). Shape breads, let them rise on a bit on the griddle, grease with milk and bake in an oven. Serve with butter and milk.
4.5 dl curdled milk
100 g sour cream
800 g barley flour
5 g baking soda
2 tablespoons butter
Add sour cream and baking soda to curdled milk, stir, add salt, sugar,
melted butter, caraway seeds and flour. Stir. Shape breads and bake an
oven. Serve with honey and milk.
2.5 l water
1 l blood
1 kg peeled barley
500 g pork fat
300 g pork
300 g onions
2 tablespoons butter
10 m chitterlings
Wash barley and put into hot water. Boil on a low heat. Add spices and
cubed pork. Stir and then stew. Do not stir while stewing. Let cool a bit,
add chopped and onion heated in butter, blood and slightly roasted cubed
fat. Stuff chitterlings with the stew, tie the ends of the chitterlings
and boil in slightly salted water. Heat slowly to the boil 10-15 minutes.
Take sausages out of the water and cool.
Slush a frying pan, put the sausages onto the pan. Add slices of lardy pork. Bake in an oven. Serve with cowberry jam or pumpkin salad.