NEW! What a relief. My Latvian Ancestors updated, ordered, arrived.
- from 72 pages to 104 pages;
- with many more photographs;
- including the Estonian RIIS family of legend;*
- with a brand-new cover, thanks to the talented Jane.
I have been fortunate over the years to meet three of my mother's first cousins: two live in the U.S.A. and one in Latvia. Two years ago in Latvia, Cousin Rasma greeted us Canadians at the Freibergs' ancestral farm, Kalna Koneni, ushering us to a table loaded with traditional Latvian goodies, the most wonderful feast. Hospitality knew no bounds as we were given a basket overflowing with more of the same for our next journey.
Family, I have words for you. BACON BUNS. I repeat, bacon buns. Are you listening, nephews and nieces? Proof absolute of your DNA inheritance, though it be one-quarter of your makeup. A revered Latvian food item, bacon buns (pīrāgi) are part and parcel of any respectable Latvian meal. Thus our bacon craving is legitimately and irredeemably lodged in our cells along with the cholesterol.
We discovered another proud Latvian product in our takeaway basket. Balzams is ... an acquired taste. It's a herbal liqueur in a vodka base, famously known as Riga Black Balsam. Personally I find the acquiring is hard work. It's that word balsam that reeks of evergreen needles, right? And reminds you of swiping some gummy sap off a pine tree to chew when you were a kid to see what it tastes like, right?
The twenty-four herbs that go into it are supposed to be very healthy for you ― Lord knows the Latvians are a health-conscious lot ― and if that doesn't cure whatever ails you, then the 90 proof will ensure you don't care any more. Now I'm thinking that balzams should follow a bacon buns binge just to clear the bloodstream. I sort of cheated because the bottle I brought home had an extra dose of currants in it, rendering it slightly more palatable.
The two foodie photographs are not in my book. A bonus for reading this. You're welcome.
Time soon for a little rest and ocean air until the next project starts clamouring.
* Previously posted about at length; see "Estonia" in the sidebar at right.
© 2015 Brenda Dougall Merriman