Mulgi-Mulgimaa is a district in South-Estonia with its own culture, food and dialect.
My mother is Mulk and so am I. Mulgipuder means Mulgi’s porridge. This dish is very old though. In former times when people had wood burning stoves the porridge was placed on a stove in the morning where it had time to cook and get simmer and better. People just had more time.
Mulgid (the people who lived in Mulgimaa) were wealthy. But because in early times animals were more important than people, they were usually to ones who got to eat the porridge first. And if there was anything left from the dish it was passed on to the rest of the family. Like my mother used to say – the Mulgi’s porridge was a pig food (Bon appétit! Sorry!)
Despite all, me and Estonians love this dish. It’s very, very nourishing and filling with an option to cook it completely vegan-friendly!
Potato and pearl barley porridge, i.e. potato-barley mash, originates from Southern Estonia. People in Southern Estonia (the Mulgi people) started boiling potatoes and pearl barley together in the second half of the 19th century as the combination was very filling. By the last quarter of the 19th century, this porridge was known all over Estonia. In the second half of the 20th century, this dish reached cafeterias as well and it has by now become a national dish that is served at various official events.
Pork Leg is a traditional Estonian Shrove Tuesday dish. On that day, everything except for the pork legs was eaten.
So before fast, pork legs were used to create an additional greasy, delicious dinner. Last year I wrote about Shrove Tuesday’s customs.
Now, when I think about my childhood school times, on every Shrove Tuesday we had this tradition of going on a 15 km ski-hike.
It happened quite often that on that exact day we had crazy snowstorms and it was terrible! Well, sure, hot pea-soup and Shrove Tuesday’s whipped cream jam filled sweet-buns were waiting for you when you finally got back but still…
Due to global warming or some other unusual phenomenon the snow from November to March isn’t that common anymore. Ironically, I would love to have a chance to ski now… And. Fortunately this year we have real winter with snow 🙂
Btw. Can you tell me why two words: fast food =junk food and fast as fasting have different and contrary meaning but the same base and strain?
This January, I would like to introduce you to a foreign dish that throughout the years has become more and more popular in Estonia to the point where me and my fellow Estonians consider it being part of our national cuisine.
Plov. Originally, it’s a dish from the Middle East/Central Asia that has gone through a long journey from south to north to our dinner tables. With some touches of local seasoning and ingredients Plov has become one of the most common ”everyday meals” in Estonia. As Estonians love pork so much, one of the main ingredients of the Estonian Plov is definitely pork.
Aspic or Meat jelly is a savoury jelly made from meat.
Meat Jelly, Sült is very good example, how time changes the meaning of some food. In old times Sült was winter time food. Because it takes 4-6 hours to cook it and this will heat up the kitchen. Because in old times for winter was left only pork legs and heads, which are suitable for cooking Sült. It was “poor” food. And food for poor. Today all ladies know, how important is collagen…:)
Today, for me, this is perfect summer dish. Sült is served cold and with cold cottage cheese sauce and boiled fresh potatoes.. yummy 🙂
Sült is a dish traditionally made from a mixture of meat, trotters, hocks, rind and other ingredients that have been cooked for several hours and cooled afterwards, forming a jelly. A traditional Christmas and wedding food, served as an appetizer or as a meal itself.
My father still cooking Sült himself. It is very complicated to cook Sült only for 2 persons and still you need very large pot. So, I buy Sült in summer time from culinary. And in winter time, I get it from my father. This is my father recipe.
Vastlapäev, known as Shrove Tuesday in much of the English-speaking world, the Estonians celebrate this day a little differently.
Instead of pancakes, we eat split pea soup and the delicious Vastlakukkel cream cake.
Traditionally children will sled down any available hill of snow, to get “long linens”. And not only children. Tomorrow, after meeting I am going with my colleges to sled, as well.
And later we have pea soup and Vastlakukkel!
Today, of course nobody care about linen, this is just for fun:)
The name Vastlapaev is taken from the German word “fasten” (to fast). And after Vastlapäev started fast, because meat was ran out.
Traditional pea soup takes time, so this is reasonable to cook more soup and leftovers freeze or store in clean airtight jar.
Estonian Style Sauerkraut with Pork and Barley is called ” Mulgikapsad”. Kapsad- means Cabbage and
Mulgi- Mulgimaa is area in South-Estonia, with own culture, traditions, food and dialect.
This area and culture is perfect example about the globalisation already in 19th of century. During the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865 was lack of cotton and price was very high.
So, was demand for alternatives. South Estonia, Mulgimaa has perfect conditions for cultivation of linen. Bondage was in Estonia abolished 1816, but still farmers were very poor and land was owned by landlords. But because of America and demand for linen, farmers gets enough money to buy from landlords land and farms. And this area become rich and successful. This made others little bit jealous and they started to call people and this area Mulgimaa 🙂
In Latvia means word- Mulk- ” silly” and in Estonia it means “hole”- in meaning that the all richness went in to the one hole…:)
I am Mulk ( person, who is living and born in Mulgimaa), as well. My mothers ancestry have been lived in Mulgimaa more than 400 years. Maybe more, but we have first written documents from 1630 of year 🙂
Mulgikapsad can be served as a meal unto itself, usually with boiled potato and certainly with some fermented milk for drink. You may cook this as vegan, without meat.
Barley has been cultivated in Estonia longer than any other crops – for over 4,000 years. And pearl barley has been a staple food for Estonians through the ages; it has even been a food fit for celebrations. In the olden days, the tradition in Estonian villages was to make sauerkraut soup with pork and barley groats on Thursdays and Sundays.
As You probably know, Estonians are the least religious nation.
The Estonian wordjõulud (Christmas) is of ancient Scandinavian origin and comes directly from the word Jul/ Hjul which means “cycle”, and has no real connection with Christianity.
In 22th of December the Sun rises in Estonia at 9. 17 a clock and sets at 15.22. So, we do not need any fairy tales. We have very practical reason to celebrate 🙂
Jõulud as the winter solstice , when the day is the shortest and the night the longest, is celebrated between December 21 and 25. According to folk-tradition, “the sun was laying in the nest” and the day was celebrated as the Sun’s birthday. From that day on, the Sun started to rise and move slowly to the north again.