Peek in the köök: Mehhiko & Eesti
Hearty fall fare north-east Euro style: peedi-kapsa supp, beet soup with cabbage, a variation on the Ukrainian national dish borsch(t), which Estonians spell borš. And no, that's not crema or crème fraîche, but good old hapu/koor (sour cream) dolloped on top. On the side is dark rye bread with määrde/juust (i.e. cream or spreadable cheese). More precisely koorik/leib ("crust bread"), sold in packages of flat, crusty, paired slices you pull apart. If you are one to fight for the ends of a loaf (kannikad) and yearn for maximum crust surface, then this is a dream come true. Photo: Riina Kindlam
Kiek in de Kök means "Peek in the kitchen" in alam/saksa keel (Low German) and is the name of a landmark artillery tower on the edge of Tallinn's old town. It's one of a kind in Eesti, but it turns out the name is actually an old German nickname for towers, mainly those that formed parts of town fortifications. They gained the name from the ability of tower occupants to see into kitchens of nearby houses. In Estonian the name translates well as "Kiika kööki". Until its closing early this year, there had been a cookware store by that name in Tallinn's vanalinn for 12 years, owned and run by Swedish-born Estonian Anne-Pii Saare.
I've been on the köök or kitchen track for some time now, since I'm translating an cookbook from Estonian into English. I've learned a whole bunch of words along the way and keep thinking "I doubt my far-away Estonian friends know what this or that is in Estonian. I should share."
A second kulinaarne tõuge or culinary push came on a recent morning, when a sidebar of "Must Reads" on the Toronto Star's webpage lured me to continue reading in The Grid about "Toronto's tastiest new tacos". "Six months ago, we thought Toronto had reached maximum taco saturation. We were wrong," wrote Jacob Rutka in the Food and Drink section. Clicking "the gallery above for some of the newer iterations on menus across the city," is what really opened my eyes. The descriptions of the 16 slightly sloppy, albeit nämmi (yummy) looking Mexican sandwiches which appeared before me, included many ingredients I'd never, ever heard of.....
(Artiklit saab täispikkuses lugeda Eesti Elu 19. oktoobri paberlehest.)
(The article can be read in its entirety in the Oct. 19th print issue of Eesti Elu.)