Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lithuanian Delicacies

this phrase is an oxymoron
I sit here stuffed after eating
needing to make the food
for the photographs
there is nothing light about
Lithuanian cooking

both Grandmas were Lithuanian
one of them a documented Jewess
the other undocumented
but who kept a weird sort of kosher
she would only eat chicken
or lamb from the shoulder
my Mother’s rebellion was to
use pork as much as possible

I don’t know if you have ever tried getting
a recipe from a Grandmother
“if I give you my recipes you won’t care if I die.”
and my favorite,
“ I am still working on the perfect combination.”
truth be know, they didn’t know how to tell you
cooking was done at one time
by people who didn’t read or write
it was taught by watching
a handful of this, a pinch of that

kugle is a perfectly acceptable
vegetarian dish that tastes so much better
with bacon
it is a noodle or potato pudding
I use medium sized potatoes,
one per person, one egg per potato
egg to milk mix is about
two thirds egg, one third milk
more milk if the potatoes are dry
also some flour if the potatoes
seem not to be full of starch
onions fried in butter until soft
and bacon or ham if you don’t
keep kosher

it takes FOREVER to bake,
at least an hour at 350
taste the center
if it is done, it is ready
if it is almost done
you can nuke for five minutes

don't forget to put sour cream on top

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman


  1. Food as biography: You may have coined a new verb:
    "Koogling" meaning tracing your heritage in comfort foods. Large fresh ravioli stuffed with chopped spinach, herbs and ricotta would lead directly to my maternal grandmother, and great grandmother, rulers of their kitchen in Boston from wench lavish Sunday feasts flowed. As a child, I got to run the little wheel that scalloped the ravioli edges. Fine poetry and photos, again.. See what you started?

  2. I learned to cook by the watch and "stir until it's thick or this color or whatever" method. Kugle is not part of my heritage but I've had it at a friend's house.

    Meat pies is more in my family line. Interesting post.