Friday, September 22, 2006

Five Things to Eat Before You Die

Melissa of the wonderful The Traveler's Lunchbox recently called all foodbloggers to share their five things to eat before you die. I was tagged first by Jeanne of the Cook Sister and then by Johanna of The Passionate Chef (thank you, both), but as I was busy travelling to Belgium and Estonia in August and early September, I didn't get around to it until now. Apologies for the delay.

There are many food-related things I'd like to tick off before I die, many of them listed in Melissa's ever-increasing list (1400 responses so far!). I do expect to have a loooooooong time to do that. Meanwhile, I'll stick to what I know. Here's my list of suggestions:

Go and pick wild berries - either cloudberries (left), cranberries, wild blueberries, lingonberries, wild strawberries or anything you wouldn't easily find in your local supermarket or grocery store and grow in your area. There is something extremely liberating and exciting about picking tasty and luscious berries out in the wild and popping them into your mouth. Believe me, a cultivated blueberry is an immensely poor representative of the real thing.

The same goes for wild mushrooms. Go and forage your own, and enjoy the huge variety of flavours, textures, and looks. Although the 'exotic' enoki, shiitake and shimeji mushrooms available in upmarket grocery stores are more flavoursome and interesting than your average cultivated white or chestnut mushroom, there are still so many mushrooms worth discovering. Have you ever tried milkcaps, various ceps, grogers, puffballs, russulas? Yellow chantarelles? Black trumpet chantarelles? Cutely-named blueish pied bleu mushrooms? They're all worthy of your attention, believe me. Just make sure you handle them appropriately.

Greece - and its people - have been good to me, so I cannot not recommend a bowl of thick and creamy Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit and honey, and a cup of strong frappe. Preferably with a view of the Aegean sea.

Having lived in Scotland for the last seven years, I must promote their infamous national dish of haggis, neeps & tatties. If you use good-quality haggis (I'm partial to MacSween of Edinburgh), you're guaranteed to like it. If you're a bit squeemish, then at least give their vegetarian version a go. Oh, and obviously follow that with a wee dram of whisky.

And last, but not least, you must promise me that you try some delicious Estonian sourdough rye bread one day. It's the best rye bread out there. Take my word for it.


johanna said...

you managed to join the meme! well done. i'd have to agree with picking wild anything... it's just the best. if only it wasn't so much work ;-)

Paz said...

I'd love to have a taste of everything on your list. ;-)


Simonetta said...

you hit again my soft spot with wild mushrooms. I had a go, once in Kent (just porcini in a bounty frenzy, having just big snails as territorial competitors) and everybody in my family - including my little daughter -remember our bitter-sweet adventure (my husband hurt his calf on some hidden barbed wire and we also ended up in hospital). But we did make the most amazing tagliatelle ai porcini and porcini and truffle risotto ever...

Melissa said...

Thanks for your wonderful contributions to this project, Pille! I've never gone foraging for either cloudberries or mushrooms, so I obviously have my work cut out for me :) As for the haggis, I'm glad someone finally said it - it's definitely deserving of a spot on the list!

Pille said...

Johanna - thanks for tagging me. Now that I cannot temporarily blog about the dishes created in my kitchen (soon, though!!!), I've got more time and energy to take part in memes..

Paz - well, there must be some forests somewhere near NYC that have wild mushrooms and berries?

Simonetta - sorry to hear about your husband's misfortunes while forageing for mushrooms, though I'm sure he agrees the porcini dishes were all worth it:)

Melissa - glad to hear that we agree about the haggis (and even on the brand of the best one available:) Re: forageing for cloudberries or mushrooms - happy to take you "on tour" next year in Estonia!