Archive for December, 2010

Family Secret

December 29, 2010

Pīrāgs: All that is Latvia in one bite.

Small, unique, determined, traditional, patient, familial, proud and most importantly, delicious!

The simple combination of dough, bacon, ham and onions has infinite international variations, but there is only one form of Pīrāgs. This recipe has been passed down generation after generation and there are no duplicates.

While I adore perogies, calzones, pelmeni, shumai and all the other “bacon and dough combinations”, there is absolutely no substitute for this traditional Latvian bundle of joy. Not only is this recipe incredibly delicious, it holds a significance that can only be defined by blood, family and tradition. Pīrāgs are served at funerals, weddings, anniversaries, Christmas, New Years… you name it. Pīrāgs are part of Latvian culture and they are absolutely amazing.

Funny thing is that every Latvian family has a slight alternation, or small “secret”. I’m completely biased and truly believe that my 87 year old grandma, Velta Ligers, holds the ultimate Pīrāg secret. In the Latvian-Canadian community, you often hear the saying “my grandma’s Pīrāgi are better than yours!”.

My grandma’s Pīrāgi, really are BETTER.

While us Latvians love to celebrate tradition, there is always room for a little competition…

2010 has been an intense year for me. I have learned to really value my family and friends because you never know when you’ll have to say goodbye.

Recently, my mom and I travelled up to my grandma’s house to try and put her famous Pīrāgs recipe in writing (she has been doing it by heart for 80 years). My grandma (i.e. Nanny) holds a big place in my own heart and I love her dearly.  

I think we succeeded in capturing “some” of her secret touches. While my Pīrāgs will never be as good as Nanny’s, I’m proud to have learned her recipe and I will continue to carry her secrets. After trying to do this on my own for the first time, I have a hard time understanding how she is still able to do this recipe to such perfection. It’s extremely labour intensive, strenuous and long, but it’s rewarding.  

Sorry folks, there will be no recipe to follow these mouthwatering shots. This one’s a family secret.