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Symbolic meanings of food and beverages in Latvian traditional cuisine Māra Mellēna 15.02.2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Symbolic meanings of food and beverages in Latvian traditional cuisine Māra Mellēna 15.02.2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Symbolic meanings of food and beverages in Latvian traditional cuisine Māra Mellēna 15.02.2012

2 Food – a symbol of the Latvian national identity Latvians love eating. We are Northern people, people of peasants, accustomed to a hard physical work through many generations, therefore we still cannot get out of the habit to prepare and consume the food abundant in calories. Fatty pork, pickled cabbage (sauerkraut) stowed in fat, cream sauces and whipped - cream cakes– these are the symbols of our national identity. Juris Zvirgzdiņš, Latvian writer

3 Everyday meals/Festive board Eating – serves to be satiated, to meet one of the basic needs, give us this day our daily bread. Eating – to enjoy the meal, the company and the situation of the special event. Offering food – to Gods, guests, foreigners, beggars.

4 Ethimological particularities TO FEAST – in Latvian mielot. Lithuanianmieluoti, in Russian milovatj (lit. to have mercy), in English we wish enjoy your MEAL. TO TREAT– to show respect, attention and care through offering food and beverages

5 Natural economy Agriculture: cereals, legumes, root-crops. Cattle-breeding: meat, poultry meat and dairy products. Seasonal food, the reserves are mainly salted or pickled, therefore the main flavors are salty and sour, sometimes also smoked. Near the waters – fish as the additional food supplement.

6 Types of dishes/cooking The types of food are determined by the ways of cooking. In the largest part of Latvia (Vidzeme, Kurzeme, Zemgale regions) OPEN HEARTH – oven shelf or mantepiece, therefore the BOILED dishes dominate; in Latgale region : oven –kiln, therefore the dishes stowed in pots are present.

7 Authentically Latvian dishes...barley grout porridge made in milk or fat, rye-bread, barley pies and flat cakes, grey- peas and beans, milled hempseeds, curdled milk... Linda Dumpe 9.lpp

8 Festive board dishes Festive board dishes accompany the transition rituals – season festivities, wedding, funeral, baptism. Along with the other rituals the food shall facilitate the favorable result of the transition.

9 Traditional Latvian dishes Christmas: grūdenis – porridge from milled grain, pigs head and legumes; grey peas; blood sausages.

10 Traditional Latvian dishes In Midsummer festival: rounded cheese with caraway seeds; small pies with meat

11 Notable changes in lifestyle End of the 18th century, beginning of the 19th century: transition from natural economy to the industrial economy system: Abolition of serfhood; Redemption of land by the free peasants; Sharp development of agriculture, industry and trade; Rise of general education level.

12 Changes in food First half of the 19th century – potatoes Second half of the 19th century – cucumbers, salad, fruit-trees, berry-bushes. Second half of the 19th century – stoves with ovens and diversity of available kitchen tools: saucepans, cooking pots, meat-choppers.

13 Changes in food The most important changes in terms of food - 2 new products: potatoes and sugar.

14 Potatoes First time in Latvia documented on the 2nd half of the 17th century in the court of duke Jacob. Next 100 years potatoes were only a plant of FLOWER GARDENS of the manor houses Potatoes are planted in our German gardens. This culture would be recommendable for the peasants, but they do not wish to cultivate it. August Huppel, 1777 Among the peasants the potatoes are called Devils apples, that exhaust the soil..

15 Sugar At the beginning of the 18th century about 217 000 lb of sugar imported to Riga; on the 2nd half of the century it reaches even 1 317 000 lb. In the 19th century sugar is still quite expensive and therefore considered to be a luxury goods. On the 2nd half of the 19th century the menu of rich bourgeois appear desserts, which gradually come into the menu of peasants as well (Baltic –German heritage). Wedding tradition in German style – to welcome the wedding guests after the church with biscuits (cake) and wine.

16 Sugar 20-ies and 30-ies of the 20th century – the dessert becomes an integral part of the Sunday dinner. You, hardworking housekeepers of the countryside, who have always been the guards and keepers of the vim and vigor of the Latvians, take care of the health of your families and enrich their meals with sugar! Try to consume more sugar in breakfast, lunch and dinner, because the sugar is what makes us strong and healthy. Sugar is a cheap product and currently widely produced in our own country. 1935

17 Honey, berries, nuts, mushrooms Honey – an integral component of all transition rituals. Nuts and berries are mostly related to the puberty initiation rites.

18 Eggs Traditional Easter dish and symbol- eggs painted in the onion peels.

19 Beverages Beer, mead, wort. Juices, soups. Milk. Water. Vodka, wine.

20 Labu apetīti!/ Enjoy your meal! Svētībiņ, gausībiņ, Nāc pa logu istabē...* *Latvian folk song welcoming the benediction, satiety and slow-eating as core values accompanying every meal.

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