World on a Plate: Finland

Last week, Lucy’s mom Jodi came in to help us prepare a delicious Finnish lunch. Here’s a note from Jodi, telling us a little more about her beautiful country and its food:

The diet [in Finland] is defined by both climate and geography – it’s what you would expect of an extremely northern country with little growing season and many lakes.

(The northern parts sit above the Arctic Circle)  

So we eat lots of root vegetables, smoked fish and reindeer! Cold climates aren’t conducive to tree fruits, which need a long growing season and don’t deal well with periods of thaw and re-frost. But berries such as strawberries, blueberries and lingonberries as well as other foragibles like mushrooms grow in abundance. As do hardy whole grains, like barley.

At Elements, we made riisipiirakka (rice pie)  – a very traditional Finnish dish. The filling is a riisipuuro (rice pudding) in a rye crust. It’s traditionally served with a hard-boiled egg/butter mix, and then we had carrots as our root vegetable.

Interesting side fact: Indian spices are also “native” to Finnish cooking. Due to our Viking heritage, spices have been coming to Scandinavia since the middle ages and incorporated in a lot of traditional recipes. Cardamom, for instance, is used in many baked goods and breads.

Thank you for spending time in the Elements kitchen, Jodi, and introducing the students to a whole new country through its food.

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