Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Today is emakeelepäev (pronounced ['emakeelepæev] - now there's a mouthful!) alias the day of the mother tongue in Estonia. It's the birth anniversary of Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801-1822), the father of Estonian written poetry. Since 1999, this day has been marked by various events celebrating Estonian language, the mother tongue of just one million people. It's a beautiful language, closely related to Finnish, and more distantly to Hungarian (and not at all to Russian, Latvian, English and other Indo-European languages). Apparently it is a pretty difficult language to learn. We have a funny letter Õ in our language (as well as more familiar Ä, Ö and Ü), three degrees of phoneme lengths, no grammatical gender (the word for 'he' and 'she' is both 'tema', no distinction is made), our nouns and adjectives decline in 14 cases, we have no future tense, yet we've got two infinitives. You get the picture..
A former US Peace Corps guy, Douglas Wells, has written a funny account about The Origins of Estonian Language, describing his frustration about learning the language after five years' residency. Do read it, it's hilarious! And if you want a more serious overview of the language, then check out this article by the Estonian Institute.
Back to food now. We had a most delicious and simple dinner last night, courtesy of Orangette's Molly. Two years ago she posted a recipe for tuna mouthfuls, or bouchons au thon - a recipe she had brought back from her time in Paris. I bookmarked the recipe ages ago, but, as it often happens, didn't make them until much-much later. I was beaten to it by Michelle of Oswego Tea, and Zarah Maria of Food & Thoughts - both praised those tuna bouchons. You can officially add me to the list of your bouchons au thon fans, Molly!
Molly's bouchons au thon
1 can of tuna chunks in water (185 g), drained
3 Tbsp tomato purée
5 Tbsp sour cream
3 large eggs
200 g grated cheese
4 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 finely chopped small onion
Flake the tuna chunks into smaller pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients and give the mixture a good stir.
Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cups (I use a silicone muffin tray for this).
Bake in a preheated 165 C oven for 25-30 minutes, until the omelets have a golden and slightly crisp topping.
Serve with a fresh green salad.