In naming this blog I hoped to tie together my love for all things fermented as well as celebrate the cultural and religious heritage of my own Polish/Baltic ancestry. As the Lithuanian god of fermentation, Rugutis seemed like an appropriate muse to dedicate this work to.
My great-grandfather and great-grandmother emigrated to the US from what is now the Lithuanian city of Vilnius, but was at the time part of the Russian Empire around 1913. I can only imagine what drove them to leave friends and family behind and embark on a journey to a strange new land so far away from the world that they had known, but the political turmoil that swept through Europe on the eve of the first world war may have played a pivotal role. By emigrating to America they saved themselves and their family from the ravages of two world wars, and decades of repression under Soviet rule, for which I am eternally grateful, yet part of me always wonders about those that stayed behind. What were there lives like? and how might my own life be different had been born in Soviet Lithuania instead of the USA?
Now almost exactly 100 years to the date of their emigration their prodigal great-grandson returns home!
In this series of posts I hope to cover the fermentation traditions and culture of Lithuania and Poland through a travelogue of sorts highlighting some of my adventures in these two intriguing countries… Stay tuned!