Par

Though I tend to write this blog in the first person singular, I couldn’t do it without my husband, Artis. He’s my sous chef and partner in crime. It’s a rare night that he’s not involved with making dinner in some form or fashion, even if it’s just holding the reflector and advising me on how to crop or angle. Often, it’s much, much more.

About us:
We share our flat in semi-rural Utah with three cats: Mickey, Bunny and Grace. We attend university full-time at Western Governors University: I’m finishing my bachelor’s of science in accounting and he’s working on his bachelor’s of science in information technology and security.

I’ve been cooking for several years, while my husband is a more recent convert to the kitchen, particularly since I came into his life and turned it upside down.

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What camera do you use?
I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4 point-and-shoot. I love my camera for its 10x optical zoom, native 3:2 format, burst mode and exposure bracketing — none of which my last camera had. My husband bought it for me as an engagement gift before I went out to Latvia so I’d have a great camera to take around. Occasionally, my husband will do the photos for me using his Canon S60. Despite its age, this is a great camera with loads of manual features and shoots RAWs, which is essential for him. (He’s the photographer in the family, I just dabble and try to learn as much as I can from him!)

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Why the emphasis on Latvian cuisine?
I’m an American who married a Latvian. I lived with him in Latvia for some months, getting to know the culture, the people, my new family and of course, the food. I’ve often asked recipes of my in-laws who have graciously shared them with me (sometimes more than once when I can’t find my copy!). Latvia isn’t well-known nor is its food, but I love it and would like to share it with others.

To that end, periodically I try to make one recipe from my go-to reference book for Latvian cuisine: Latviešu ēdieni by Ņina Masiļūne.

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I know [x] as [y] from [Somewhere in Eastern Europe].
In many cases, the food or recipes my husband grew up with or that I grew fond of during my stay are not traditionally Latvian, per se. Both Russia and Germany have had a profound impact on Latvian cuisine due to the inclusion of Latvia in both empires during its history. The Swedes and other invaders have also left their stamp. So, it’s entirely possible you may know a recipe I post as something similar from around Eastern Europe. What I can guarantee is that it’s delicious.

Have a variation I should know about or make? Let me know, I’d love to hear it.

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What do you post on a regular basis?
I always post at least three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with occasional Tuesdays or Thursdays. I usually post a Latvian recipe every so often from Latviešu ēdieni.

Occasionally, there might be cookbook reviews or product reviews, if I come across something I like enough to talk about. And once a month, there’ll be a post on the Daring Kitchen project.

I’m no pro-blogger. No one is beating down my door with samples or giveaways (though they are welcome as I love freebies). When I review a product, it’s because I want to share with you something we’ve carefully researched and genuinely enjoy using.
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You use kefir in a lot of your recipes, why?
One of the tastes I picked up in Latvia was a taste for kefir. Most of the kefir sold in my area is flavored, incredibly overpriced and old. It just doesn’t move in my little town. So, my husband and I started looking into how to make it ourselves. We eventually purchased some live grains from a lady in Ohio and now make roughly 2 quarts of kefir a day. We drink a lot of it but also use it heavily in cooking. We also make cheese from it, usually quark or a creamy cheese spread.

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Why are so many of the posts missing the Latvian translation?
Because I’m really, really slow. I’m nowhere near fluent in Latvian and though I can pretty quickly and easily read a recipe, I don’t speak or write very well at all. All of the Latvian translations take the efforts of both myself and my husband, who uses them as teaching tools, and frankly, right now we don’t have a lot of time to devote to them.

I wish I could write in Latvian as easily as I do in English, if I did, all of the posts would be translated, babbling and all! Sadly, I have the vocabulary of a food-obsessed child and I understand much better than I can articulate. Eventually, I hope to obtain at least conversational proficiency but when that will happen is anyone’s guess.

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