Sunday, February 25, 2007

Enemies. Bad Finland. Food. (Part I)

An article that was published earlier in the New York Times, I think, has now appeared in the Observer of the Guardian. No wonder, as this is very interesting: "Who Is Killing Putin's Enemies?

Vladimir Putin has presided over a staggering economic boom in the six years since he took control of the Kremlin. Meanwhile, a dozen of his critics have been assassinated and the country's vast natural resources are in the pockets of a chosen few. (End of quote.)

Was quite touching to read about Anna Politkovskaya's last moments.

*******

Finland, Finland, Finland. I have been blogging so much about Russia lately, that I could say a few words about Finland for a change.

So. Three things I dislike in Finland:

I could say some serious things too, like racism, xenophobia, industry destroying the environment and wasting energy and producing a lot of trash and exploiting the third world countries, but I'll get back to those later. This list is much lighter now. But yet, these are the things I hate:

3) Finland hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. Why, of why did we have to win the bloody farce last spring? Bad and extremely boring music, expensive set up. Bad everything. (I was très heureuse with zero points.)


2) Ugly, uninviting and distasteful Finnish architecture. There is a lot of it, too much. Look at any centre of any little town in Finland. Driving through the whole Finland, from Helsinki to Sodankylä, Lapland (every June, to the Midnight Sun Film Festivals) makes me cry.

1) The Finnish food. Bad, tasteless, raw tomatoes and cucumbers (pickled cucumber with almost no vinegar and with lots of sugar = Swedish style. Sugary "Felix" pickled cucumbers are disgusting), watery, boiled potatoes, bad meat...

When Berlusconi said two years ago that the Finnish food is bad, quite a bunch of Finns got offended. Why? (I said immediately this is the first, and probably the only time, I hear any words of wisdom coming out of Berlusconi's mouth.) Should the Finnish food be good, there would not be so many pizzerias, kebab houses and hamburger-junk-food places around. Please, the Finnish cooks: learn how to demand good ingredients, and PLEASE learn to use spices. And not just in Helsinki, but elsewhere, too.

*******

Luckily Miss Funnybunny loves easy food. Easy to make, that is. I try to use a lot of organically grown vegetables, and never raw ones. I never put tomatoes into the fridge but let them rest by the window for a week or two before we eat them. And, in winter, sun-dried tomatoes or tomato sauces are more practical and tastier.

Because Miss Funnybunny's three-year-old friend at their nanny's is half Italian, my two-and-a-half-year-old Funnybunny speaks a (huge) bit of Italian, too! In the mornings, when she is to get her oatmeal, we often have the following discussion:

Mummy IStori: Here is your oatmeal, dear. Wait a second, I am just putting it onto the plate. There is Winnie the Pooh, see? No, the Mumin plate is not clean, sorry. Please, honey, don't come near the hot kettle. Put your legos away. NOW. No, I don't think your horsey would like this kind of food. Now...
Miss Funnybunny: I WANT to have latte, with my porridge! Latte, latte, latte!!!!!
IS: Ask nicely. But sure. (Pouring milk into her bowl.)
Miss F: And... Zucchero!
IS: Yes, sure. (Putting a tiny little bit of sugar onto the dish.)
Miss F: (Smiling like a winner.) And cannella!
IS: But of course! (Adding a puff of cinnamon onto Funnybunny's porridge.)

Then my happy and clever little daughter starts eating her oatmeal. She is proud of herself: she can speak, she knows how to ask for things - and how to be polite, even though that is easily forgotten - and she can eat without making a huge mess. (Just a little mess.)

And I am happy and proud, too.

5 comments:

Mane said...

Well, fish food in good in Finland. For example, fried herrings with mashed potatoes is a world class dish indeed.

Try, for example, restaurant Salve. Or try Konstan Möljä for excellent fish dishes.

But in general, a lot of food served in Finland is not that good - mostly because everyone is too stingy with money.

The same is true with architecture. Most companies, cities and individuals do not want to pay for real architects. Instead, their house are designed by some engineers.

Mane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I. S. said...

That's right, I forgot all the fish. I love herrings, and Salve's herring with mashed potatoes are among the best. Konstan Möljä I have tried yers ago, maybe I should check that out again.

Money can be the reason for boring and tastless food, but not always. Like fish and potato dishes can not be that expensive. But yet, very difficult to find in Central Finland. And Finnish mushrooms, where are they? (One can for example dry them and eat all year long.) Berries? Apples?

Not using (good) architects is a problem, too. But I also think that huge part of the problem has been the disastrous POLITICAL tendency of not giving any value to - and then ruining - the old, beautiful buildings; tearing down the old centres of little villages. They have looked different, you know...

Anonymous said...

Fish food really is good in Finland. And we have many excellent smoked and fried food. And reindeer meet is super! i think it is to strong word to say and simplifying that Finnish food is only bad. For example if we compare it with the Italian food... I have been in Italy dozen times and my opinion is that it is very hard to find good food in Italy, usually it is boring and did not taste almost anything.

I. S. said...

Thanks for adding the reindeer. Yes, it is good.

Of course, there are some good restaurants and suppliers in Finland, but at times, very difficult to find... At least if you want to spend less than 15 euros / dish. And very, very difficult to find delicious salads, even during summer! (Finnish restaurants tend serve tomatoes raw, even in summer... When they are really red they probably throw them away.)

In Italy I have loved the food, and there I have eaten almost 100 % vegetarian. But almost always during summer (= super-ripe vegatables). So I have no idea about Italian winter food. Wouldn't mind trying, though!