Cooking with Oonagh

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It was wonderful - Certainly brought back wonderful memories. I had almost forgotten about my mother's good cooking. I have to come back. You are wonderful!

FS, Lithuanian Class student

Lithuanian Cookery Demonstration

For seven years I have been teaching classes in Lithuanian cooking. The Classes have been held at the Chandler Library in Nashua on the first Thursday of each month from September to May. Please note that the 2007 schedule has been affected due to space constraints caused by Nashua budget cuts. The next class is on Thursday 26 April 2007.

The classes are generously sponsored by the Zylonis Fund and therefore free to attendees. This fund was started about 100 years ago to further knowledge of Lithuanian Culture. There is a large Lithuanian community in and around Nashua and I was asked to research and then teach classes on Lithuanian cooking.

What I find particularly pleasing is that at least half of the participants are of Lithuanian descent and confirm that the dishes bring back memories of the foods cooked by their mothers and grandmothers. What is even more interesting is that very few of these recipes have been passed down (at least locally) so that I am able to reintroduce these people to their heritage. Together we have discovered Lithuanian history and traditions.

I was delighted when many of the class told me that they had made the Christmas Fruit Compote for their Lithuanian Family members who loved it. They had then taken the same dish to Christmas parties of non-Lithuanian friends who are now learning that Lithuanian cuisine is not just potatoes and cabbage as many non-Lithuanians think. So in this way, I am reinforcing Lithuanian Culture in a very positive manner.

I undertake extensive research including studying in Lithuania at Vilnius University, eating all my meals at a selection of restaurants, bistros, food courts & student diners in Lithuania, investigating supermarkets, traveling around the country and translating the cookbooks that I bought in Lithuania. You can
see some of the cookery books that I use for Lithuanian cooking.

I do have a Culinary Arts degree, I am a qualified teacher, trained in London and Switzerland and have traveled extensively in Europe. I teach International cooking classes, cater gourmet parties and have made regular appearances on WMUR ABC's Channel Nine's "Cooks' Corner" for more than ten years.

Demonstration results - rave reviews

From my many years of experience in teaching and cooking, I am well aware that many recipes in magazines and books are very poorly written with the result that once tried, never repeated. That is a waste of everyone's time and money.

I constantly receive rave reviews from participants in these classes. Judging by the number of people who continue to turn up regularly over the years, they are very happy. I get great pleasure in hearing people of Lithuanian descent delightedly reminiscing over a recipe that I taught, bringing back memories of their mother or grandmother cooking the same recipe but they never had a written copy. I constantly ask if the recipes bring back memories. Of course, each month I bring most of my many
Lithuanian cookbooks with me so that they are available for everyone to look at.

Authenticity

I was very disappointed to read on a Lithuanian Food Web Site, the claim of creating recipes with only a 'Lithuanian flair' as opposed to the authentic recipes that I use. I try very hard to accurately research and test recipes before the demonstration and would not attempt to 'create' a recipe with 'Lithuanian Flair'. That would be easy, but since I am a professional I research a subject thoroughly and extensively.
If a few people are concerned about 'authenticity' of the recipes I would point out the preface by Genevieve Kaneb from the "Recipe Book of the American Lithuanian Roman Catholic Women's Alliance", 1982:

"Five hundred years ago, Lithuania was a formidable duchy in Europe, a leader in art, architecture, music and commerce. Today, we see a small, occupied country, striving to preserve its mores, language and culture. Our goal in publishing this book is to help preserve one phase of a rich heritage by including this section of Lithuanian Cuisine.

In the late 1800's, America witnessed the arrival of Lithuanians in sizeable numbers seeking a land of peace and plenty. A hard-working people, they established themselves, as did most immigrants, by taking menial jobs in factories, mines, stock yards and on farms. (Read Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' for a description of a Lithuanian family in the Chicago stockyards at the beginning of the 20th century). Their diligence was rewarded. American-Lithuanian communities became rooted in this country, each culture contributing to the other. Housewives of these hardy immigrants brought with them recipes which had been handed down from mother to daughter for generations. Combining new ingredients found in America with their traditional recipes, they established a cuisine that is truly gastronomic folk art. Lithuanian cooking relies heavily on potatoes and flour, from which a hearty meal can be made. Dairy products as well as fish, are staples of a diet which serve family and ever-present guests. Traditional recipes have been modified through the years and "new" recipes have been added by more recent arrivals from Lithuania and from relatives and friends living in Europe.

We proudly offer these recipes of Lithuanian originsubmitted by members, family and friends of the American Lithuanian Roman Catholic Women's Alliance.

Some recipes have been passed down almost unchanged, some have been up-dated and some show the influence of other cultures on Lithuanian cooking. They all retain the unique flavor of the hospitable Lithuanian cuisine.

We hope the recipes please you and that some will become favorites in your household.
Gero Apetito!
Genevieve Kaneb"


Lithuanian cooking is versatile. Every district has its special dishes, therefore, slight variations occur in menus for traditional "holiday" dishes as well as in everyday cooking.

Many of the recipes in the ALRCWA book have clearly been adapted to American ingredients since they list Campbell soups by name as ingredients.

The recipes in the Lithuanian Heritage Magazine in the section 'Let's cook Lithuanian' quite clearly state that they don't have a test kitchen so they will have to accept the writers word that the recipe is delicious. Unfortunately, either the writer or the proof reader has not proof read many of the recipes since there are ingredients left out and recipes that don't work. One of the recipes has clearly been adapted since it includes quick cooking barley and a packet of Lipton Recipe Secrets Beefy Mushroom soup mix. Yet it was happily accepted and printed in the Lithuanian Heritage Magazine.

A few of the recipes I've demonstrated at the class.

Soups

Creamed Carrot Soup
Pertrintu morku sriuba
Cold raspberry soup

Cold blueberry soup

Barley soup with mushrooms Perliniu kruopu sriuba su grybais (one of our favorites-very hearty and full of mushrooms, barley, vegetables, cheese and cream)
Mushroom soup with bacon Gryby sriuba su lasinukais
Wild Mushroom soup Kelmuciu sriuba

Vegetables

Barley Risotto
Perliniu kruopu kose - excellent on its own or as a side dish.
Carrot baba
Similar flavor to a pumpkin pie but served as a vegetable side dish
Kasha and wild mushroom casserole
Very tasty and full of protein and fiber
Various sauerkraut recipes all very popular, especially the version with mushrooms and Madeira wine.
Mushroom crepe torte
Marinated mushrooms
Potato pancakes
Potato souffl
Cucumbers in sour cream I love this one, particularly if you add shrimp to make a main course salad.
Garlicky Farmers cheese with walnuts
Mushrooms with sour cream grybai su grietine

Entrees

Fresh butcher made kielbasa in beer gravy with apples and onions

Roast trout with sour cream

Veal Stew

Roast Turkey Roulade Kepta kalakutas vyniotinis
Cold Veal meat loaf with horseradish sauce
Bacon buns
Grated potato pudding with chicken Kugelis su vistiena
Potato scones with swiss cheese
Fresh baked ham
Hamburger-cabbage casserole kopustu-mesos patiekalas

Desserts

Pumpkin pancakes

Little cheese pancakes

Birch tree log
Easter Coffee cake
Christmas fruit compote Kaledu vaisiu kompotas
Apple squares pyrageliai su obuoliais
Little stick cookies Sausaineliai
Apple upside down cake
Poppy seed cookies sausainiai su aguonom
Raw apple cake (it is cooked) obuoliu pyragas
Oatmeal torte aviziniu dripsniu
Apple pancakes
Potato bread Bulvinis ragaisis
Apple almond pudding
Quick coffee cake greitai gamintas kavos pyragas
Square with almonds plokstainis su migdolais

Fun cooking classes

Come join the fun see more of Oonagh's classes

Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers catering from 6-60 people, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, and makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.  



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