Sirje Potisepp, Head of Estonian Food Industry Association
My warm relationship with Estonian pork started already from early childhood – our family had a countryside household with animals. I understood that these animals were not for caressing, but to ensure always food for us. Although I was always sad, when some animal was taken to slaughter, I still knew that soon something really tasty would reach the table.
We ate pork almost every day, and there were probably hundreds of ways, how mother and granny could cook pork – all of them provided delicious results. Dishes were basic, as there was no time to cook for hours beside work. My favourite dish was pork stewed in cast iron pot on charcoal in a heating stove, which sometimes had to be baked for entire day before eating. Although it was flavoured only with salt, pepper and garden herbs, it was a farm gourmet that nobody has been able to repeat until now.
The whole animal became food – blood pancakes, dishes of pork stomach, lungs, heart, ears and pettitoes. What was not fit for humans, was given to animals. We had no refrigerator, therefore much pork was dried, smoked, pickled. I remember, how I invited boys from the neighbourhood to help me open the cover of barrel, in order to taste delicious pickled pieces of port. When grandma once discovered the pork barrel spoiled by the greedy rodent, she was really angry with me!
Although our family is consciously eating as versatile food as possible, pork is still on my table almost every day. There are countless ways, how to prepare delicious pork steak, therefore the pork menu never becomes tedious.