20 January 2018
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Cepelinai or didžkukuliai (singular: cepelinas) is Lithuania’s national dish. They are a type of dumpling made from grated and riced potatoes and usually stuffed with minced meat, although sometimes dry cottage cheese (curd) or mushrooms are used instead. So named because their shape resembles that of a Zeppelin airship.
Our Lithuanian moms' recipes

Many of our readers are very interested in food and recipes. Not least, there seems to be many who would like to find recipes for traditional Lithuanian dishes. VilNews will provide some highlights from time to time, but we also recommend all of you with special interest to join the Facebook group "Our Moms' Lithuanian Recipes" Click here to find this page.

Since the time of the Grand Dukes

- Posted by - (2) Comment

Prie lietuvių stalo – at the Lithuanian table

Text: Vin Karnila

Sveiki garbingi skaitytojai,

Lithuania is steeped in traditions. It would be difficult to think of any part of daily life, family events or holidays where age old traditions are not practiced. Included in these are the time honored traditions that are practiced at the table. Yes, even sitting at the table to enjoy your meal is something that involves traditions practiced for generations by Lithuanian people all over the world.

To start, there is the order of seating. The father sits at the end of the table. Now the end he sits at is important to note also. He sits at the end of the table that is near the wall not the end that faces the open room or the door. The eldest son sits at the father's right, while the other men sit next to the son along the wall. Women sit across from the men and the mother sits at the opposite end from the father. This traditional seating is maintained especially during holidays, when the entire family gathers together.…


Category : Food, wine and more


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Is 'kugelis' Jewish or Lithuanian?

A few days ago our Associate Editor, Vin Karnila, wrote a well-tasting article about 'kugelis'. In addition to presenting his favourite recipe, he also claimed that this is a national Lithuanian dish. Here are a few of his phrases that got several reactions from readers over the latest days:

"Once again I have been elected to share a traditional Lithuanian recipe with you..."

"I think that 'kugelis' has more variations for recipes than any other Lithuanian dish..."

"In spite of what you may have read about "traditional Lithuanian breakfasts" in books, I can tell you that in Lithuania very often what you had for dinner last night is what you have for breakfast (and lunch) the next day."

To read more, go to our
Section 21 – FOOD, WINE AND MORE

This not a Lithuanian dish.

Sorry, but this is yet another example of the erroneous assumptions made about things that are nothing to do with Lithuania and yet, generally because a couple of letters have been on the end of a word (in this case the addition of the letters i and s at the end of the Yiddish/German word kugel), people assume that they're Lithuania. This not a Lithuanian dish.
Richard Schofield

Indeed a cherished Lithuanian dish

In response to Richard Schofield – Potato Kugelis is indeed a cherished Lithuanian dish. It is also called "Bulviu Plokstainis" (flat potato dish). It often contains pork products (like bacon) as that is what was in abundance in Lithuania and still is, although you can find Plokstainis with chicken as well.
I'll bet that there is not one Lithuanian family, regardless of their religious beliefs, that does not have a Potato Kugelis/Plokstainis recipe that is passed from generation to generation.
Rima Raulinaitis

Kugel (or Kigel) is eaten by Jews all over around

I was really interested to read that kugel (or Kigel) which is eaten by Jews all over around, may be a Lithuanian dish, I'd be interested in more information on the source of Kugel(is).
If you are already doing a research on that, could you tell me if Tshulent does sound familiar to Lithuanians?
Gershon Lehrer, Antwerp, Belgium

Kugelis is a favorite with all our family

My cousin from Stakiai grates the raw onion into the potato mixture….she said it keeps the potatoes whiter. I've tried it and it seems to keep them from turning gray. Kugelis is a favorite with all our family and I've made both bacon and vegetarian options – all are consumed pretty quickly!
Sandy Abramovich

We should not confuse the Lithuanian Kugelis with the Jewish Kugel

We should not confuse the Lithuanian Kugelis with the Jewish Kugel. I think the only similarity here is the name. The Lithuanian Kugelis is made with potatoes, while the Jewish kugelis is made mostly with noodles. The Lithuanian Kugelis requires bacon bits (and perhaps bacon fat). So try serving Lithuanian Kugelis to a religious Jew (after you tell him what's in it), and see what reaction you get.
Val Ramonis

In common sense terms, that makes it a Lithuanian dish

I am a professional translator and trained linguist and I have tried to find out the etymology (origin) of the word "kugelis" (N.B. the word, not the object). But no one seems to know for sure. One theory is that the word is of Germanic origin. This theory is around because it resembles the German word "kugel", which means "ball, sphere, globe". Well, sounds a little shaky to me, because kugelis is certainly not sphere-shaped, not even round in most cases (at least not these days). Another theory is that it may have something to do with the German word "kochen" (to cook), but the implication with that word is usually more about boiling than baking in the oven. ("Backen" is "to bake" in German.) In the end, does it matter? It's silly for Richard Schofield to proclaim "This not a Lithuanian dish." Millions of plates of kugelis are consumed by Lithuanians every year. In common sense terms, that makes it a Lithuanian dish.
Gintautas Kaminskas

RE: A beer drinking country

Great article with one noteable fact that is wrong. Lithuania only had one "king", the rest of the time it was the Grand Dukes who ruled. Wish there were something in there about the beer brewed at Avilys which happened to be my favorite when I was there.
Bernardas Tirva

Sveiki Ponas Bernardai,
Thank you for pointing that out. Yes, I stand corrected. I should have said with the permission of the Grand Duke.
Your comment about "Avilys" beer peaked my interest so I did a little searching. The result was that I couldn't come up with anything about a brewery or a specific beer named "Avilys. What I did find was that there are two micro breweries/restaurants named "Avilys". One is in Vilnius and the other in Kaunas. Naturally the beer they produce is called "Avilys beer". These two establishments currently are in operation so when you said "when I was there", I don't know if this is the same company making the same beer.
So many breweries in Lithuania have come and gone. Some have merged with other breweries, some have changed their names and some have simply just closed their doors. In the article, I wrote about the breweries that are still operating in Lithuania today. I'm sure volumes could be written about the others that existed in the past. If you could give us some information about the "Avilys" beer that you remember, I for one and I'm sure our readers would find this very interesting.
In fact we invite all of our readers to share any information you have about Lithuanian breweries from the past.
Su pagarbe – Vin Karnila


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