The Rescue Board (Päästeamet) has produced a booklet with recipes which it says can be prepared in the event of a power outage, for instance during a crisis situation. However, some of the fare on offer arguably appears to match neither the hypothetical situation nor the wallets of many people in Estonia, ERR reports.
The Rescue Board has been distributing the booklet, titled "Imemaitsvate roogade retseptid" ("Wonderful recipes") at public events such as the recent Paide Opinion Festival. People were amazed by the complexity of the recipes and the ingredients, which are, at least in an Estonian context, comparatively high-end, including Indian-style chapatis or Italian-style foccacia bread, Parmesan cheese (price per kilo in, for example, Rimi €37-43), and other items which might not usually grace many people's food cupboards even in normal times, or would be challenging to concoct in a crisis situation.
Rescue Board spokesperson Silver Kuusik rejected claims that the recipes are inappropriate, not only as emergency fare, but also for more normal times, given their ingredients may suit more the wallets of those of more well-heeled people, and/or those with easy access to stores selling such products.
The Rescue Board has no plans to introduce a separate recipe book for people with low or medium income.
He said there was something to suit all budgets to be found in the booklet, while there was nothing to stop people playing around with recipes, to find something more amenable in terms of ingredients
"And if you can't find a suitable recipe, it's worth putting your own knowledge or imagination to use," as he put it.
At the same time, the book's recipes presuppose the use of a campfire or camping stove, which would require sufficient outdoor space, for instance to be found in private houses rather than apartments – but a little under 28 percent of the populace live in such properties, according to the latest census.
Kuusik added that the booklet had first appeared in 2017 and had proven popular, with a print run of 4,400, at €0.23 per copy.
Kuusik added that cooking in the event of a power outage is viable, but requires a camp stove or primus-type stove, or an outdoor campfire, and he recommended a range of non-electric utensils for use in preparation.
An example recipe from the booklet, for minestrone with bread is as follows:
2 cans of corned beef or pork
40g cooked spaghetti
1 onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
400g canned beans
400g canned diced tomatoes
200g tomato paste
1 chili pod (dried chili is also suitable)
200 g of pickled paprika
Salt, pepper and ground paprika to taste
Fry the onion and garlic in and add the chili until browned. Add the meat and brown, followed by the tomato paste. Heat through, then add the remaining ingredients.
Simmer on a low heat for half an hour, and serve with chapati, garnish with herbs and balsamic vinegar.
In the event of not being able to reach a heat source, the above ingredients can also be combined and eaten cold, the Rescue Board says.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Andrew Whyte