Monday, December 03, 2007

Inglorious food, glorious drinks


urr said...

dear mr lucas,
i'm starting to wonder have you ever been in estonia? what are you actually writing about?
i'm estonian and i have never seen or heard about "beetroot pizza". who are your contacts here in estonia? why are they lying to you? it's clear now that they are not estonians anyway.
by the way, i've heard many bad comments about british food, so in your place i wouldnt be so arrogant about the national kitchens of eastern europe countries. you should better try them more times than one. hungarian home made foods are delicious and certainly it is possible to find something tasty in estonia too. at least our italian friends have founded...

sarunas_skyrius said...

How dare you dis cepelinai! They're the fish&chips + curry + sunday morning fryup of Lithuania. Only after eating six of them will one appreciate the essence of lithuanian cuisine. And then die.


Richard said...

In old Europe, when people talk about national food, they think about what is served in restaurats. In "new" Europe, when people think about their national food, they think about what their mother or grandmother makes on a Sunday.

Hence restaurants in CEE tend to be below par, as local diners do not espect the food to be good. It will be much better at home. They tend to concentrate on getting drunk and dancing in restaurants.

Edward Lucas said...

Dear URR

I lived in Estonia from 1992-4 when I was editing the Baltic Independent. My memories of our late night battles with the printing plant staff are also indelibly associated with the consumption of pizzas from Petri Pizza, then almost the only fast-food outlet in all Tallinn. "Suur Pizza dopelt peetiga" was I think the phrase I used for a large pizza with double beetroot topping. I was glad to have it at the time, but I am also glad that this culinary peculiarity has given way to more conventional fare

Pierre said...

Balsams is also good on vanilla ice cream. As always, drink in moderation! :-)

As an aside, wasn't Russia's much touted Stolichnaya produced and bottled in Latvia at some time?

Aleksejs Nipers said...

I can not understand only one thing - why "zeppelin" have to be avoided. That is my favorite Latgalian ;) food.
Actually may be because you tried it in the wrong country :))

urr said...

oh I see, peetri pizza, huh. pizza is not estonian food as you probably know, but in these years maybe really some people covered the pizza with very strange things. my grandmother made open pies covered with cabbage and meet or apples or pohlamoos, all of them very tasty. beet was always eaten only boiled, cut little pieces and with some köömned as a salad.
I hope that in some day you will find here some more tastful food.
ps estonian liquoer "vana tallinn" is too quite known, at least in russia.

Kristopher said...

Even now, Cafe Mmmuah next to the Kaubamaja does a bruschetta with beetroot pesto. It's excellent.

Peetri Pizza's famous beet topping was not some ignorant Eastern European peculiarity, but probably more in line with Italian culinary freedom and the versatility of piatti poveri (poor food). Go to the Veneto or Friulia and you will see spinach used in sweets, beet gelato, etc. It's not bad at all, besides being nutritious.

And why put down Czech food as boring? Dumplings or even cepeliniai can be works of art if done well.

What tends to make food unpalatable is not the presence of offal or abundance of butter or lard or starch but commercialization and homogenization.

Sadly this is a trend in Estonia, where I live, as it is in most places.