Meals were always an important event at traditional Latvian farmsteads, with entire families gathering around large tables to discuss the events of the day and to enjoy an unhurried meal of various porridges, legumes, vegetables and – on special occasions – meat and fish. Bread always held the place of honour, because it symbolised wealth. This can be seen in the following Latvian folk song:
Today, too, rye bread is a particular favourite in Latvia.
Selection of food has historically been closely related to the seasons and to the basic occupation of the family – agriculture, livestock breeding or fishing.
Annual traditions which have played an important role in festive meals have survived to this very day, and in a very pronounced way. At Christmas, the traditional meal includes grey peas, pork snout and meat pasties. At the Midsummer’s festival, you will always find a wheel of special cheese and lots of homemade beer.
If you wish to prepare a Latvian dish, we might suggest pork chops with horseradish. This is a very simple dish which can be prepared quite easily. Buy around one kilogram of pork chops, flatten them with a kitchen hammer, add salt and pepper, roll in flour and egg, and then fry until light brown on both sides in hot fat. Mix some mayonnaise with some horseradish and spread this over the fried pork. Layer the pork in a pan with thinly sliced marinated pickles. Grate some cheese over the top and roast in the oven for another five minutes. Serve with roast potatoes and a salad.