16 February 2011

16 February - Lithuanian Independence Day; King Tut

Weather: "Winter's back breaks", says The Old Farmer's Almanac.

[Not noticeably, says the Widow]
Today is Lithuanian Independence Day, celebrating the day in 1918 when 20 men signed the Act of Independence proclaiming their country once again an independent State (against great odds, I might add, for neither Russia, to whom it belonged, nor Germany, who maintained its influence in the territory with German troops, wanted an independent Lithuania).

Several communities in the United States are holding ceremonies and festivities in honor of the day, some of which you can find here.    Many of them are celebrated on the weekend closest to today, but some of them will be held in March, near the day when Lithuanians reiterated their independence and broke away from the Soviet Union, becoming the first of the Soviet Republics to do so.

       The Council of Lithuania in its session of February 16, 1918 decided unanimously to address the governments of Russia, Germany, and other states with the following declaration:
       The Council of Lithuania, as the sole representative of the Lithuanian nation, in conformity with the recognized right to national self-determination, and in accordance with the resolution of the Vilnius Conference of September 18-23, 1917 proclaims the restoration of the independent state of Lithuania, founded on democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital, and declares the termination of all state ties which formerly bound this State to other nations.
       The Council of Lithuania also declares that the foundation of the Lithuanian State and its relations with other countries will be finally determined by the Constituent Assembly, to be convoked as soon as possible, elected democratically by all its inhabitants.
       The Council of Lithuania in informing the Government of ..................... to this effect kindly requests the recognition of the Independent State of Lithuania.
       Vilnius, February 16, 1918

This is called the national dish of Lithuania, and like a good national dish [think American Apple Pie] you will find subtle differences according to the cook.  The basic ingredients are potatoes and bacon, eggs, milk, and onions, BUT!  how many and what kind of potatoes? how much bacon? a whole onion or only half... and do you grate it or chop it? how many eggs? how much milk and is it regular milk or something out of a can?... 

All of these decisions must be made before you add seasonings.  And then...  just when you think you have the recipe down pat, those who regularly enjoy this dish will tell you that sometimes they change the amounts of the main ingredients - and the seasonings - to suit their fancy (grandmothers will tell you that the changes had more to do with what was available).  And they very kindly invite you to do so as well!

Well, it is good and filling, trust me.  Find one of the recipes online, especially this one from Beer and More in Food, and give it a try, remembering that 1 pound of bacon is the usual size package, and 5 pounds of potatoes is a small sack or bag. [I used that recipe and cut it in half.  And yes, it is good the next day lightly fried for breakfast]
Today in 1923, after months of cataloging the treasures found in the antechamber of tomb KV62, Egyptologist Howard Carter opened the sealed doorway and discovered the burial chamber, with intact sarcophagus, of King Tutankhamen.  This is worthy of its own post, but for now I will leave you with this:

I hope this works.  If it doesn't, put "Steve Martin" and "King Tut" in your search engine and look for one of the videos (you will have to anyway, if you want to see the original Saturday Night Skit)

He was born in Arizona
Got a condo made of stona!
King Tut!