On 25th of January, the Lithuanian capital Vilnius which is home to the Europeana Food and Drink project partner Vilnius University Faculty of Communication saw this second celebration for the eCookbook launch. Members from Lithuanian – Austrian community, also librarians and book lovers, as well as food bloggers and food fans gathered at the cozy coffee manufacture „Crooked nose & coffee stories“ based in downtown of Vilnius.
The evening started with an intriguing lecture given by one of the book authors professor Rimvydas Laužikas presenting not only authentic Lithuanian – Austrian dishes, but also a fascinating historic moments and interesting food stories that reflected to the common gastronomic history of two countries. It was followed by an engaging coffee education lesson, where the owner of the manufacture and a big coffee enthusiast Emanuelis Ryklys shared his knowledge about coffee preparation process, as well as its tastes and aromas.
“I don’t know how it [butter] affects the coffee, but I tasted it and it was amazing.” – Anna Ciundziewicka, 1848.
Finally, all event guest were invited to try an authentic coffee recipe published in the 19th century cookbook “The housekeeper of Lithuania” written by Anna Ciundziewicka and to experience the historic taste themselves!
The book, which is available for free download, is dedicated to the historical gastronomic relations between Austria and Lithuania. It attempts to grasp the gastronomic contexts, including dishes that depict common gastronomic history. Austrian recipes which were adopted in Lithuania and Lithuanian ones, which travelled to Austria have been selected using sources such as Europeana.
Seven Foodbloggers from Lithuania and Austria contributed to this culinary exploration of their countries. For the culinary reading, two traditional recipes from the book were specially prepared by the chefs of Dionysos-Nosh, the hosting restaurant for the evening. Guests could get a first glimpse of the eCookbook and learn about the invisible culinary threads between the two countries – all of this framed by traditional Austrian and Lithuanian music.
Representatives of the Austrian – Lithuanian Society, University of Vienna, Verband Österreich – Nordische Länder or Kulinarisches Erbe Österreich could get inspired by the historic recipes and stories and were invited to share the eCookbook with their networks and communities.
Get inspired by Europes historical culinary heritage and download the book here.
Each year on the 11th of November, the feast of St. Martin is celebrated around the world. St. Martin, who was the bishop of Tours, France in the 4th century is known as the patron saint of beggars, wool-weavers and tailors, soldiers, vintners, innkeepers, as well as the country of France.
However, in many regions of ancient agricultural Europe St. Martin is closely connected with horses and geese. One of hypothesis explains that St. Martin’s day connection with geese is a relict of ancient, most likely prehistoric time, representing the feast of geese migration, which later was also adapted by the Christianity.
St. Martin’s day in Lithuania
St. Martin’s day had a strong ethnographic tradition in Lithuania. It was the end of pasturage season marked by specific customs, beliefs, superstitions and eating of specific dishes. One of those special dishes was roasted goose. In one of classic Lithuanian gastronomy books – „Lietuvos virėja (“Kucharka Litewska”, ‘A Cook of Lithuania’) by Vincentina Zavadzka (Wincentyna Zawadzka, first edition, Vilnius, 1853), we can find an interesting roasted goose recipe called ‘Lithuanian roast goose with apples and sauce’. The main ingredients of the „Lithuanian roast goose…“ are goose and apples. One of which should be discussed separately thus trying to ‘read’ the features characteristic to the ancient Lithuanian gastronomy and the relicts of geese migration feast in this recipe.
The traces of eating goose can be found in many settlements of prehistoric Lithuania, perhaps since the Bronze Age. Lithuanian tribes that resided in the region of the poorest lands established the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The studies show that until the 20th century, especially before the spread of rye in the 10th-11th century, the crops in this region were so poor that people necessarily had to look for some additional food in natural environment. So the time of geese migration was an opportunity to obtain lots of good, fat and rich food, and was perceived as festive time. The origins of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania has formed a mixed gastronomic tradition of cultivated and “wild” food, thus a wild goose may be considered to be an excellent symbol representing this tradition.
The second dish ingredient is apples, which is not less interesting than a goose. Wild apple trees, also known as an ancestors of crab apples, are one of the few fruit trees that naturally grow in the northern latitudes of Europe. The cultivated apple trees came to Lithuania from Eastern Europe via the Teutonic Order and Poland. In the 15th-19th century cuisine semi-wild apples were widely used for making various dishes, while cultivated apples were used as a dessert that was eaten after dinner. Furthermore, they also differed in price. One of the most important aspect of the recipe given by V. Zavadzka is that these two ‘species’ of apples are used to make one dish. The small apples were used for goose stuffing, while the large ones (i.e. cultivated apples) were used for decoration.
Lithuanian Roast Goose with Apples and Sauce
To honour St. Martin’s day, we are sharing with you today the recipe of ‘Lithuanian roast goose with apples and sauce’.
You will need: 1 goose, salt (according to your taste), 0,5 spoon cumin, 2 onions, bunch of small and sour apples, 16 big apples, 1 spoon flour.
Remove goose fat from the opening of the cavity. Rub goose outside and inside with salt and cumin. Stuff the cavity with small and sour apples. Roast the goose in stewpot sprinkled with chopped onions, and water it with goose broth and grease. Place the goose on the platter dressed with separately baked big apples. Use stuffed apples to make a sauce. Mix them with goose grease and put one spoon of flour. Cook them for a while and pour some over roasted goose. The remaining sauce is served separately.
11th of November – National Independence Day of Poland
11th of November is also the National day of Poland. This day is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic in 1918. A lot of recipes of Polish geese can be found in the recipe book “11 listopada. Poradnik świętowania”.
Best wishes for our neighbours and project partners!
Lithuania loves Austria
Did you know that the Central European country Austria had close relations with Lithuania through a traditional cuisine? Europeana Food and Drink has been a great opportunity for partners from Austrian National Library and Vilnius University Faculty of Communication to explore historical gastronomic relations that are rather unknown to develop an eCookbook based on traditional recipes. The foundation for this research was old cookbooks, recipes, pictures and illustrations that were found on Europeana and other online sources. We have a look at Europe from a different angle and consider it to be a net of culinary connections where invisible historic threads leads to the traditional cuisines.
Stay tuned to learn more about the result of this European culinary exploration with historic dishes travelling from Lithuania to Austria and vice versa.
By Rimvydas Laužikas and Ingrida Vosyliūtė, Vilnius university Faculty of Communication.