July 9, 2016 Continued…
The Bruno Breakfast of Champions
Bruno’s arrival at 8 a.m. was a bit of a surprise. He owns the flat we are staying in as well as his own adjacent apartment. He can freely walk from room to room as they are connected by a shared storage space. He reminds me of The Doctor for those of you familiar with Doctor Who. He just kind of appears through this magic portal and disappears into nothingness when his job is finished.
In truth, he is a University Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Brilliant, patient, caring and devoted would be four words I would use to describe him. You can throw in “Host with the Most” and then you have Bruno Grasmanis. Old school smart.
He showed up with a coffee maker and coffee the night before which I coaxed to life. Then he came with cups, saucers and plates of tomatoes, bread, grapes, smoked fish, pastries, butter, cream, and so on. We found that this is how Latvian meals operate. The person hosting the meal just puts out plate after plate of food and fully expects you to eat all of it. Then, at some point, they say, “It’s time for breakfast (lunch or dinner),” and you are expected to continue eating the main course. I am not exaggerating.
“Would you like some eggs?” He asked after bringing us all this other food. Glen and I politely (and smartly) said, “Yes, please.”
He returned a few minutes later with the best scrambled eggs I had ever eaten. The funniest part of the whole story is that he never sat down to eat with us. He just brought us food, and disappeared into his TARDIS to get more and more.
I also managed to get into his apartment to thank him, get some dish cleaning supplies and an old newspaper for Vitauts to read. What a way to start the day!
After breakfast, we all piled into his Honda CRV and headed down the highway to meet Ansis at an undisclosed location somewhere between Riga and Jurmula where we would continue our journey to Kuldiga, one of Latvian’s many Gem cities.
Side note: Several of the experiences I have had in Latvia confirm that we grew up immersed in the culture of Latvia without really knowing it. This meal is the spitting image of so many experiences I have had at Latvian-American households where you are handed food and the host or hostess constantly beckons you to eat, and even if you are eating, the host will never relax nor sit, he or she will constantly be in motion preparing more and more food.
We used to laugh about Liesma never sitting down to a meal. It wasn’t her fault. It was in her blood. And dad’s incredible tables filled with various meats, cheeses, and smoked fish for all occasions were just his inner Latvian taking over.