HIRATSUKA, Kanagawa – A recipe book on food in Lithuania on the Baltic coast has been published and is distributed free of charge in public establishments such as community centers and libraries in this city south of Tokyo.
The city of Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, signed an agreement with Lithuania in 2016 on the organization of pre-Games training camps and served as the host city during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The interactions continued even after the Games, and the Hiratsuka-Lithuania Exchange Committee produced the book to introduce Lithuanian cuisine.
The book was written by Rasa Varvuoliene, the wife of the Lithuanian Ambassador to Japan, and Daiva Maekawa, who is a representative of the Lithuanian community in Japan. The couple held cooking classes in Hiratsuka, Tokyo, Kuji City, Iwate Prefecture, and Nishiaizu City, Fukushima Prefecture, to showcase dishes from their home country.
Locals showed a keen interest in the classes, but there weren’t many Lithuanian food recipes available in Japanese, so Varvuoliene decided to make the book herself, she says.
Entitled “Lithuania no Ouchi Gohan”, the book contains 73 recipes centered on homemade dishes, such as salads and soups made from beets, herring marinated in many spices and cheese curds. Among the dishes said to have a history of over 600 years, there are seven meals made from potatoes – known as “the queen of traditional cuisine” – such as pancakes and gratin. The book also includes candies with unique names such as those that roughly translate to “lazy person” and “angel wings”.
Apple cheese, a traditional dish that uses the most common preservation method for drying, is believed to have originated from medieval rulers and aristocrats. It takes three days to make the dessert, during which you need to boil and bake the apples and let the dessert stand before drying it. The book also describes how Easter and Christmas went, promoting understanding of Lithuanian culture.
The cookbook is 60 pages and in color. In total, 5,000 copies have been prepared. To have the book displayed at shipping costs, call the municipal government’s Olympic and Paralympic Promotion Division at (0463) 20-8700.
(Japanese original by Yuki Motohashi, Local Hiratsuka Office)