Spud Sunday: Lithuanian Spuds

Today’s post is brought to you, Sesame-Street-style, by the letters L and B.

L, first and foremost, is for the dreaded lurgy, to which I have been subject for the past few days and which has kicked to touch all inclination to cook or do anything much. Pah!

On the other hand, L is for lovely, which is how I would describe a recent request for interview from new blogger on the block, Piggy Fair. While I’ll admit that something in the name tempted me to respond, all Miss-Piggy-like – “Qui, moi?” – you can read what I actually said over here.

Lithuanian potatoes

L also stands for Lithuanian, and I was as surprised as anyone to spy Lithuanian potatoes for sale just minutes from my door. I, of course, did what any dedicated potatophile would do, and brought some home, figuring that if the local Lithuanian community were that particular about having access to their own potatoes, then the matter would bear further investigation.

It was a simple enough case, really. Boiling confirmed that they were a waxy-ish sort, leading me to infer that, as with most continental Europeans, Lithuanians do not share the Irish love of a floury spud (which is often all you’ll ever find here). Twitter later suggested that they were “stone mental for the spuds, them Lithuanians” – as this veritable catalogue of Lithuanian potato preparations would also indicate – while a search for “Lithuanian potatoes” on Google gives priority to several variations on the theme of kugelis or potato pudding – a weighty, wintry mass of grated potato, onions, milk, eggs and bacon and, according to some reports at least, a Lithuanian national dish.

Thus enlightened, I planned next to try my hand at said potato pudding, but it was not to be (see Lurgy, above). I will also say that, flavour-wise, these particular potatoes did not, to my mind, live up to their ‘special’ billing, but perhaps the real proof will be in that potato pudding. L, it seems, will have to be for later.

In other news…

Robert Burns

Robbie Burns

B is for Burns Night Supper and, following the success of the inaugural West Cork Burns Night Supper last year, the West Cork Hotel and West Cork Food will host the event again on the 25th of January. The event will celebrate Scotland and the Scottish poet, Robbie Burns, with a memorable meal featuring West Cork produce, and will also include ceilidh dances, poetry recitals, the piping in of the haggis and, inevitably, ‘a wee dram.’ Bookings are being taken by the West Cork Hotel at €40 per head, see here for more details.

Bread Revolution

B is for book and B is for Bread Revolution, which has been short-listed for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the bread category. The book, co-authored by Patrick Ryan, of the Firehouse Bread School on Heir Island in West Cork, and Duncan Glendinning, will go up against authors from France, Austria, Denmark and Singapore for the title of Best Bread Book. The winner will be crowned at an awards dinner on February 23rd at Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. Best of luck to Patrick and vive la Bread Revolution.

Comments
  • Lithuanians: stone mad about potatoes, apparently http://t.co/aGCALTRe

  • Sorry about your lurgy! After two weeks I’ve still only mostly shaken off the Colorado version I brought home :-(

  • Sorry to hear about yours too Tim! And there I was thinking I’d done well to escape it over Christmas, only to have it strike on my return. Hope it doesn’t take as long to shake off :(

  • Dear spud, was going to write something pithy, but decided to to wish you a quick recovery instead,
    hope you are on the mend,
    Brian.

  • Ah thanks for the good wishes Brian – still coughing and spluttering a bit but I shall soldier on!

  • After a little investigation it has been found that the lithuanians are trying to take over the world by tainting their potatoes with the flu bug, this is only a theory, but beware of lithuanians bearing spuds.
    Cheers,
    The international spud conspirators.

  • From my friend Anastasija from Latvia.
    “I do not know how large the Lithuanian population of Dublin is, but there are certainly loads of Latvians in Ireland, maybe more than there are in Latvia (just joking). Maybe same is true for Lithuania.
    I cannot speak for all the European continent, but my family likes floury potatoes, and most people I know do as well. But there are varieties in different flavours and textures available, and for certain types of cooking floury potatoes would not be ideal. I was trying to remember from my trip to Lithuania what kind of potatoes we had there, but the only potato-related thing I can remember is their national dish, a sort of large boiled potato cake with minced meat inside – you would need a variety that would be rather moist to make this one. I can imagine if you want to cook it, you would even go as far as importing your home potatoes for it. It is a very tasty and filling dish, but rather tricky to make – the ‘potato dough’ tends to fall apart while you boil it, if you make some mistake in the initial stages.” I also understood that most Europeans favoured floury ones too. David

  • Thanks so much for that David (and Anastasija!). I read a little about the dish Anastasija describes and it actually sounds to me not unlike our Irish boiled boxty (except that the boxty in question is a solid dumpling, as opposed to being meat-filled and it, too, can be tricky to make). I’d love to know if the local Lithuanian population here are cooking up these and other potato delights! Re: potato preferences, maybe it’s just the French who pooh-pooh potatoes that have a tendency to fall apart, so :)

  • The Lithuanian national dish is Cepelinai http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cepelinai

    My girlfriend is Lithuanian and her lot love them ;) I’m not a huge fan myself. Just can’t warm to the texture. Although when the leftovers are cut in half and fried the next day they are particularly beautiful. Potatoes are definitely a Lithuanian favourite though.

  • Thanks for that Barry. I am now, of course, curious to try the cepelinai, just to see what I’d make of them – I’m sure that I could go for the fried leftovers, if nothing else!

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