Oh Mämmi, do I have to?


Finns greet Easter with a goopy, black as tar dish called mämmi. If that's not enough to entice you, let me see if I can adequately describe the flavor. It's been described as a cross between Guinness and shoe paste. Even with such a distinct look and taste, mämmi is a tradition held seriously enough to warrant protection from the European Union. Making mämmi is no joke - first you mix rye flour with bitter orange peel, a hint of sweetener, and a few other ingredients. Boiling water gets … [Read more...]

Recipe: Cardamom Sweet Bread (Pulla)


Makes 1 giant loaf (or as many smaller shapes as you'd like) Pulla is the ultimate Finnish bread dough. Feeling sad? Shape it into a teardrop. Feeling confused? Twist the heck out of it. Feeling like Pippi Longstocking? Braid it! Feeling creative? Shape it into men, women and children. Feeling pregnant? Just make little buns, baby! There's also plenty of choice in regard to flavorings. Pulla always tastes of glorious cardamom. After that? You can leave it plain or fill it. Sweeten life up … [Read more...]

Menu: Finland


I always wince a little when I tell a native about the food I chose to represent their country. I wait for the hammer to drop - for them to tell me "no one eats that food!" Or "good job stereotyping my country!" When I met Ruby, my new half-Finnish friend, I had already been to the grocery store and purchased what I needed for this menu. The thought of changing plans exhausted me. When she asked me what I was making, I almost didn't tell her. I almost ran away. For some reason I didn't. I … [Read more...]

About the food of Finland


This past Saturday, while at a baby dance class - in between pretending to be a turtle and an elephant, I met a woman. Her name is Ruby and she's half Finnish. To be fair, I had no idea she was Finnish and it isn't why I started talking to her. Of course, once I found out her origins, I immediately took her home to cook with me. Mr Picky was okay with it - as long as he got to eat. While we cooked, Ruby told me lots of neat things about Finland (did you know they are one of the … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Fiji


THE SCENE: I knew it was time but I secretly hoped to fail. "Can I help you?" the fishmonger asked. He was bright eyed and eager. His apron was starched. "I am making ceviche and need a very fresh piece of Mahi-Mahi." Please, oh please, I thought, scanning the fish case. Please let him say they don't have any. "We don't carry sushi-grade fish," he said, shaking his head. He looked genuinely disappointed. "Oh, ok. Well, thanks anyway" I turned on my heel, giving Ava … [Read more...]

Recipe: Polynesian Coconut Bananas


Serves 4 People all over Polynesia eat this rich, sweet dessert. It's uber simple to throw together - just take care to not overcook the bananas, lest they become mushy. Mushy is a big time banana fail. I never met anyone who loved mushy bananas. Do you? TIP: This amount of coconut milk can easily cook more bananas - perhaps up to 8 small red bananas. I only needed 4 for our small family though. Ingredients: 4 small red bananas or 2 regular bananas 1/4 tsp salt (or just a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fijian Coconut Ceviche (Kokoda)


Serves 4 (as an appetizer) Until Kokada entered my life, ceviche was uncharted territory for me. Raw fish dishes are definitely not native to my hometowns - Boston, Atlanta, Paris, or Luxembourg - they're really more of a tropical item. (Is it weird to say I have more than one hometown? It's all I know...) I had my reservations about consuming raw fish in landlocked Tulsa, Oklahoma - but, after taking a big sniff, the fishmonger assured me the mahi-mahi was fresh. What a flavor sensation … [Read more...]

Fiji teaches: what food would be on your flag?


Do you ever, in the midst of clipping your fingernails, start wondering about the meaning of life? Do you ever, while tweezing those stray hairs, start wondering "who am I, anyway?" Do you ever, while watching a movie, start thinking about what food your soul might be made up of? The other night we watched "Cold Souls," an offbeat film about the possibility of removing the soul and freezing it until needed again. The main character (played by Paul Giamatti) extracts his soul only to find out … [Read more...]