Jun 30, 2009


Participants: Ülle, Helen, Hana, Pärja, Evelyn, John, Tero, Karolina

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes

red+purple in the hay womb

Upon arriving, participants are asked to close their eyes and walk one-by-one through a tunnel. They open their eyes to find themselves in a room full of hay, lit by red and purple lights with red and blue fabric covering the windows. There are blankets and pillows scattered to get cozy in the lay. Music* begins to play.

Emma walks into the room wearing a white apron and holding a large mixing bowl. She walks around misting everyone with homemade lavender spray, then crouches next to a participant in the hay with a cup that she has filled with mixture from the bowl and a spoon. She asks them, "Kama?" When they say 'yes', she spoon feeds them from the cup - a traditional kama mixture topped with sea buckthorn syrup - until they indicate they are finished or until they eat it all. She repeats the process with every participant, then exits. Participants are left in the room for an additional ten minutes before Matt enters to guide them out.

feeding sveta kama

feeding hana kama

*The music was composed of previously recorded material, Mooste field recordings, and re-compositions of the music used in Meal One. Little rhythm was employed in the music, but slow frequencies (à la brain waves) were emphasized to induce a relaxed state. Higher frequencies were filtered out to simulate the auditory experience of the infant within the womb.


Mix 500 mL kefir with a heaping scoop of kama. Add honey until it tastes delicious. To make the syrup, cover sea buckthorn berries with water, heat and simmer until they have rid themselves of their seeds and reduced to your desired consistency. Strain. To serve, drizzle the syrup over a bowl of the kama mixture.

Estonia's only marketed national food product

Kama is one of the only foods advertised as being a 'true' Estonian product. Many Estonians will tell you it is their national food. It is a toasted grain flour or meal of peas, rye, oats and barley. Kefir, or fermented milk, is a staple of the Estonian diet and is as ubiquitous in the fridge as milk.

sea buckthorn
Sea buckthorn is a small, tart orange berry that grows on a bush in late summer in the Baltic region.



Meal 2: Emma servin it up

Matt enters the Hay Womb and leads each participant, one-by-one, to a seat in the dining room. The space has a dirt floor with windows opened to outdoor daylight (darkening into evening as the meal progresses). A low central table is against one wall, strewn with bird's nests, homemade glass glitter, apple wood branches, egg shells, onions skins, peonies, and books used by the artists during food preparation.

the gathering of courses

offering table

Chairs and small tables made from materials found in the village or MoKS (an oven, tree stumps, Soviet tractor parts, etc) are positioned in a crescent form around the central table, with two or three chairs arranged around each smaller table. Every time someone is seated, they are given a glass of lemon water. Once everyone is seated, Emma enters the room and asks a random participant to come with her to the kitchen, where they are given a paper mask and a dish. The masked participant returns and serves a course to everyone.

emma and john

For each course Emma chooses someone in this way. As a piece of flatware or utensil is needed for the course (plate, fork, etc) Emma herself enters to distrubte. Gradually everyone is masked and all food is served. With each course Matt is serving as a DJ.

Meal 2: DJ Kray-Z Marbz

Matt reads aloud his own textual collages based on (historical, mythical, agricultural, medical) research of the foods served (examples provided below with the recipes). Via microphone and mixer he mediates the meal and facilitates conversation. Prepared sounds and music were also used for similar purposes. The music included: clustered animal voices to accentuate rye bread 'lycanthropy'; field recordings from around Mooste (a grain silo, birds, Mooste lake, a rainstorm, frogs, cats, etc); a song composed in the rhythm of a slightly uptempo heartbeat (to persuade participants nervous systems away from the more relaxed fluid state of the hay room into a more awake and motor-oriented state); and a piece for organ reeds composed to reference the use of these reeds in the previous meal.

Once dessert is brought out, people are given a break before the projector is setup for viewing the TV commercials (many pertaining to food) of Estonian cinematographer Harry Egipt.



menu from meal 2

nettle dumplings


For water that is perfectly safe to drink, but has a detectable (and not delectable) metallic or mineral taste, add lemon! Cucumber and mint are also great for this...

DEVILED EGGS (Tåidetud Munad)

Use the absolute best quality eggs you can find (even if they are exorbitantly expensive), preferably from a farm. Hard boil, peel, cut in half and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Grate more cold butter than you can believe, a dollop of mayo and a small dollop of mustard onto the yolks. Salt and pepper to taste. Use two small spoons to refill the mixture into the eggs. Serve with a sprig of dill on each egg.

Peter carl fabergé making 24 eggs presented to Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II of Russia. 69 total surviving (of 105). made of precious metals, stones, enamel, and gem stones. Ulu Sooster's model.


This pig skin was boiled for several hours until soft in pork stock, when it was possible to separate it from the remaining fat that clung to it. Cut into small pieces and saute (with a little oil) in a very hot pan so it cracks around like popcorn, carmelizing and crisping. Cover the pan to make this happen. Add diced onions, and season with salt. Serve on toasts with fresh parsley.

Artificial insemination of pigs has been practiced in Estonia since the 60's. with the first intrafarm AI unit being built on the Rakke Collective Farm. Norway, Finland, and Austria import the semen of the following breeds: landrace, large white, duroc, hampshire, pietrain.


RYE BREAD (Magushapu Rukkileib)

This sweet-and-our rye bread recipe is from Estonian Tastes and Traditions by Karin Annus Kårner and takes several days to make! Plan ahead! First you ferment rye flour to make a starter and then feed it extra flour to create a base for your bread. In the end you have several loaves of hearty, flavorful rye bread plus starter to expedite the process for the next time. I am not going to write the whole recipe here because it is quite long, so if anyone would like it I can scan it and send it to you. The one thing I purposely did differently than the recipe was in baking: I used Ülle's trick of baking for the first half hour at 250 degrees C, the second at 200, then at 150 - this gets a nice crispy crust. Serve with butter!

emma's first rye bread is... WONDERFUL!

The delusional belief that one has turned into an animal, especially a werewolf. In Europe during the Middle Ages, lycanthropy was commonly believed to occur due to witchcraft or magic. One modern theory is that the rye bread of the poor was often contaminated with the fungus ergot, which caused hallucinations and delusions about werewolves.



Buy high quality wild salmon fillets. Rinse and dry. Cut the fillets so that for every piece there is another corresponding in size - effectively you are going to be making salmon sandwiches. For instance, if you buy one fillet, cut it into two pieces that are about equal in size. Rub the salmon with vodka or a combination of vodka and aqua vit. Make a mixture of coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, sugar and a flavoring spice like caraway or juniper berries. You will need quite a bit of this mixture, which you will rub over both sides of the salmon fillets. Cover completely, then sandwich the fillets together (skin side out) with copious amounts of fresh dill in between them. Wrap tightly in plastic, put on a plate, then weigh down with a brick or heavy weight in the fridge. Turn the salmon approximately every 12 hours, and let cure for three days. When you are ready to serve, unwrap and rub off the excess salt rub. Cut thin pieces with a sharp knife, moving with the grain of the fish. For the sauce, thin a cup of sour cream with a tiny bit of milk. Add a teaspoon of vinegar (white wine or sherry perhaps), salt and sugar to taste and lots of fresh dill.

grav- (scandinavian): hole in the ground; grave
-lax [aka 'laks']: salmon

Gravlox was originated by fishermen in the middle ages who would bury salmon in the sand of the ocean shore, where it would ferment favorably.


"With proper vodka snack a person always remains the mister of position, can always completely control himself and receive only stimulating aesthetic effect from vodka drinking, instead of rough intoxication."



I made a rich a flavorful broth from the bones and remains and squirrelly bits of Mr. Piggy and assorted aromatics that found themselves in the pot. I stewed the pig skin for several hours in the broth as well (that was removed before serving and made into the above mentioned crostini) and cabbage. This cabbage was an impulse move, a last minute inspiration in the kitchen, and became the little star of Meal 2 for me, although among the flashier menu items was hardly noticed by anyone else. So flavorful and tender! The lacy cabbage tendrils nestled between the succulent dumplings and velvety broth was just heartwarming for me, a surprise success. The dumpling dough, in typical Estonian fashion, was made in a 3-1 ratio of flour to potato start, with cold water added by the tablespoon to form the dough and a little salt. Chill, then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick - you want it to be thick enough to be "toothsome" and to hold the filling in adequately when you cook - and cut into circles with the rim of a glass. This round was filled with a mixture of gathered nettles that were steamed and pureed, fresh ricotta cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Pinch closed and seal with cold water on your fingertips. Boil in the broth right before serving, or do them ahead of time in plain water and add to the broth when serving. They will rise to the top when ready.

nettle dumpling remains

stinging nettles: urtica urens

ta sai nõgeste käest kõrvetada (literally 'he was stung from the hand of nettles').
the powers of nature in ancient estonian culture and in the language are represented as a single hand. a pair of hands is one hand (as with all the symmetries of the body). to speak of a single hand (right, left) is to speak of half a hand. the hand of the nettle stings.

Milarepa, the great Tibetan ascetic saint survived for decades of meditation only eating nettles. his hair and skin turned green. he lived to age of 83. That's just wonderful. Nettles in the pocket protect one from lightening. Fortunately. Enhance fertility in men. What doesn't. Native americans used nettles to make fishing nets and ropes; while the Germans during WWI, due to textile shortages; their uniforms 85% nettle fiber



Matt beautifully butchered this roast from Mr. Piggy, which sort of looks like a cylindrical meat log that you cut from under the ribs (ish). You want to leave the layer of fat it has on top, as it insulates the meat when roasting. I salt and peppered the roast, then marinated it with a mixture of local honey, mustard and mustard seeds. Roast at 250 degrees C for 30 min, then reduce to 200 for another 30, then 180 until it's done. This was my first roast so I'm no expert source, and although they say 35 min. per pound + another 30 I had no idea the weight of our roast so I just winged it and Evelyn's mom poked at it to test the juice level. This one ended up a little overdone for my taste but not a bad first effort. Let rest before you serve.

skinning aint easy


In Mooste there is a local farm with its own factory kitchen that makes sauerkraut and pickles for the village shops and restaurants in the region. We were lucky enough to visit this farm and kitchen, but more on that later. We used their sauerkraut for this meal, and braised it in beer with caraway seeds and apples to pair nicely with the roast. We used a local dark beer, covered the sauerkraut just barely in a saucepan and let simmer along with the caraway seeds for about an hour, adding the apples towards the end.

Mooste sauerkraut

Dr. Lejla Kazinic Kreho (croatian nutritionist) says: "I can only suggest all men try it. Eat cabbage twice daily and observe how your sexual power increases."


Broad beans are very popular in Estonia, and the markets are flooded with fresh ones in their pods during summer that are boiled, salted and served whole. We were too early for this phenomenon, but purchased last season's, dried and quite cheap, from a market vendor. Soak overnight, drain, bring to a boil in fresh water and simmer until tender (like any dried bean) with aromatics. Turn off the heat and salt the water. Leave for twenty minutes then drain. Warm to serve in a pan with butter and top with fresh parsley.


New potatoes were parboiled, chopped and sauteed with butter, salt and dill. Simple and delicious!

Estonia has an institute, Jogeva Sordiaretuse Instituut, for warding off the late blight that set upon the Irish to create their potato famine in the late 1800s. the US had potato blight listed as one of their 17 agents for its suspended biological warfare program.

The written menu was constructed from pages from an English-Estonian dictionary as a document of single words, and pasted on the wall opposite the central table inside an old door frame.
Plate + Menu + Cup
Rye + Bread + Butter




Prepare compote in advance by peeling and chopping rhubarb and simmer in water with sugar to your desired consistency and sweetness. As a topping I prefer a looser, less reduced compote. Chill and serve cold on top of the rice pudding, which I made by covering short-grain white rice with milk and simmering with a cardamom pod until cooked. I whisked together sugar and an egg and incorporated this into the mixture over low heat to thicken. Add brandy at the end to flavor.

emma and matt's rice pudding with rhubarb compote


Meal 2: John, Sveta, Tero, Karolina


meal 2, room 2 coming together

Meal 2: Hanna lovin it

Parja eating Pork broth+stewed cabbage+nettle dumplings

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