On this episode, Jess talks with her high school friend, Rachael, who has a special tie to Finland. During this hour, they discuss Finnish food, sauna culture, and various other things Rachael has learned from her travels to Finland.
This is the eighth installment of Foodies Take Flight, a series where Jess talks with world travelers, expats and citizens of countries outside of the United States about their food experiences. Whether you have wanderlust and want inspiration for your next trip, or you’re a homebody who just wants a mental vacation, Foodies Take Flight will take you up and away.
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Hi, it’s Jess and you’re listening to the flaky foodie Podcast. Today we’re going to answer the question, What the heck do they eat in Finland. And we’re gonna talk with my high school friend Rachel, who has a special connection to Finland. And she’s going to talk about her food experiences there, as well as her overall experience there as an American. So you won’t want to miss that. After our brief message. We’ll talk with Rachel about Finnish food.
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Welcome back to the flaky foodie Podcast. I’m Jess and we have with us, Rachael. She is one of my friends from high school. And she’s currently getting her theology degree. And she has also has a connection to Finland. And she’s lived in Taiwan for a few years. So welcome to the show, Rachel.
Rachael J. 1:47
Thanks, Jessica. Nice to see you. Nice to be here.
I know you’ve been kind of into other cultures worked in like international international kind of education before. So what kind of draws you to I guess…Hey! you have a map behind you. I don’t know. At home, you can’t see this, but she has a map behind
Unknown Speaker 2:07
My husband for my birthday. Once he bought i He asked me what I want. And I said I want a giant global map. So he bought me a huge one. And I love it. Yes. Yes. So I was a math major in undergrad. And the further I got into math, the more I started taking international culture classes as like a relief from the math classes. And then my my professors and my advisors like, Hey, you’re taking so many international studies classes, is there a reason for that? And I was like, Oh, just I love them for fun. And then they encouraged me to switch majors. And I realized how much I enjoy people and learning about cultures being an advocate for people. And so a part of that I got to study in Taiwan for a bit because they switch majors. And then I also have been to Japan, Nepal, all different places in Europe. And then of course, I worked with a lot of international students. I started an international ministry with my friend from Japan at my school, which was the University of West Florida. And we did a lot of outreach and stuff with international students from all over the world. And that’s where I met my husband, who is from Finland. So yeah, it was raining one day and I saw him on campus and I drove by I was like, Would you like a ride? And he took the ride and invited me over for dinner to eat with him and his best friend from Spain and I was like, oh Finnish and Spanish food fusion. I’m all about it. And then from there invited him to the international stuff. And anyway,
do you remember that first meal at all?
Rachael J. 3:56
Ah, yeah, I think I remember there was salmon with like, pie. Yeah. Which is like a rice dish. It’s like so in salmon smoked salmon with cream. Finished food has a lot of heavy cream. It was like a resumo Spanish rice dish with salmon.
Was it good? It
Rachael J. 4:23
was good. It was good. Yeah. And from that lots of friendships we had I met a lot of the Europeans through my husband or friend at the time because all the Europeans hang out together all the Asian students hung out together and and it was fun to just go over to their house. They they often my husband had the biggest kitchen, one of the apartments or dorms that have the bigger kitchens on campus. So a lot of times all the Europeans would go to his place and cook together and I Got into that loop and hung out with him a lot. And it was fun 10 years ago. Anyway,
so you all kind of met this first meal being kind of almost your first kind of unofficial date. And now, in the present, you’ve gone back to Finland with your husband a couple of times. So how have your food experiences been when you go back to Finland?
Rachael J. 5:24
Yeah, I’ve been to Finland, I think six or seven times each for about a month. And from the very beginning, I went when I was not a vegetarian or a vegan, so I ate everything in anything. And I was there first in the winter. So if you can imagine if you’re up north in the winter, there’s a lot of hearty food, a lot of soups and casseroles and a lot of baked things. A lot of the warm up from the inside. Yes. And then in the summer time, it’s very fresh, a lot of fresh. They had they have a lot of greenhouses because it’s Finland. So you can’t grow a lot of veggies unless it’s like potatoes. So they have a lot of these greenhouses. And so there’s a lot of fresh herbs and salads and tomatoes, and a lot of open face sandwiches. And I, you know, I tried everything and anything, a lot of smoked fish, a lot of fried fish. And then throughout the years, slowly, I turned to like vegetarian and vegan. And so when I would visit and other times my my palette, sort of veganized and they and Finland is actually very innovative. They have so many vegan and vegetarian dishes now. really been fun to like over the last 10 years, sort of visit Finland every you know, it first was every year and then every other year.
First of all, Pause. it’s been 10 years.
Rachael J. 6:55
I’ve been married to my husband for nine years. And then we’ve been dating for about a year and a half to two years prior to that. So you know, my gosh,
because it feels like your wedding was yesterday. Like literally Oh, yeah.
Rachael J. 7:11
Yeah. It’s 2013 We got married. So yeah.
Oh, wow. Oh, wow. I’m sorry. I’m having a little crisis right now. We grow out on how fast the time to go. So they really increased vegetarian options. What are some like new of the new vegetarian dishes that you’ve kind of discovered in Finland that you enjoy?
Rachael J. 7:39
So the last time we were in Finland was just this January, and it had been about four years since we had gone because we were gonna go in 2020 and then you know, stuff happened. So
the Panini Yeah.
Rachael J. 7:55
But so so we went and 20 just this January, and this was winter. So you can imagine it’s like negative 15 to negative 20 degrees. And it’s beautiful winter wonderland. Apparently this has been one of the snowiest coldest winters like it’s still snowing Normally at this point, it should be melted and starting to transition to spring. But I were just on the phone with his parents yesterday because it was his mom’s birthday and she just talked about how they just had a fresh giant amount of snowfall so Oh wow. Anyway, so it was winter so there’s a lot more of the hearty dishes a lot of casseroles since it was around the post Christmas time you have just so many casseroles so many meat pies.
You actually made like a handheld vegetarian meat pie. I remember one time at your house. I think you all had just started dating. It was like a re a reunion between us and our the rest of our friend group and you may like it was a meat filled vegetarian meat filled pie. That sound good. It was very good. I don’t actually went home and tried to recreate it. Oh
Rachael J. 9:21
really? Yes. Yeah, like meat pies are a big thing. fried meat pies, baked meat pies. When I was there one of the first things I wanted to get because it’s one of my favorite dishes in Finland is sandwich cake. And so you you have layers of bread typically like a kind of a light rye bread or just some kind of standard bread. But then what they do is they in between they layer it with different types of you could have like smoked salmon with me anaise You could have an egg salad kind of like boiled eggs with, with all sorts of different there’s so many different options you could have. But basically, inside of the layers of bread you have different kinds of sort of meat salads or veggie salads that are with mayonnaise or cream cheese, and fresh dill, salt and pepper. It’s very light and then the very once you got all those layers stacked kind of like a sandwich lasagna, the outside you have like a sour cream mayonnaise or cream cheese and sour cream, kind of like a whipped lighter cream that you put on the outside. So it layers the whole thing a lot of people use mayonnaise and that mixed mixed in with other things and then you on top of that you layer it with all these fresh veggies. Bell peppers, smoked salmon, and you make them really pretty like flowers, carrots and I mean it’s just really really pretty. I recommend looking it up sandwich cake. And you’ll sandwich Yeah, and
I wonder if it’s like I watch me made on YouTube. Have you ever watched Yeah, videos and she made like a fruit. Sandow, which is like, cream cheese. And it’s like this big, really thick, fluffy white bread. And then it’s fruit and you cut it in half. And you can see like the fruit makes a flower and different shapes.
Rachael J. 11:25
I’ve had those in Japan. They’re delicious. But those are sweet and fluffy. Okay, well, this
is like the savory this is super savory. But
Rachael J. 11:33
no, not similar in that when you cut into it, you see shapes, it’s more like they the the inside just looks like a lasagna because it’s just layers. The outside, they just take a lot of veggies and things and smoke fish and they turn them into just flowers. So they’re sitting on top as if you’re looking at a wedding cake that’s been decorated, but with savory things. And then you slice it like you slice a lasagna or a slice of cake. And you serve it and it’s so good. And it’s so like fresh. And of course they because Finland is very vegan and vegetarian friendly. They have a lot of options that are like without the smoked fish. We actually made one with his mom at home. So it was like the thing I was craving. She’s like, alright, let’s let’s make it and yeah, that was That was delicious. And we made it with smoked tofu. And I mean hummus. And we have a lot of pickled things, pickled mushrooms that I know that sounds really strange. But in the winter, you’re eating the pickled versions of things you’d have in the summer. So in the summer, it preserves everything. The land of Finland is just lakes and forests, lakes and forests, lots of fresh fish, and lots of berries and mushrooms. And people live off the land. It’s a very earthy, like the palette is just like you’re living off the land. I feel like you step back in time. And so like for his, for example, his family, they have a little summer home called a monkey. And they go there in the summer and it’s on an island. So during the winter, we walked across the ice to get there and in the summer you take a boat, of course. Anyway, in the summer, you you look out in the forest, and you see all these berry bushes that just are like the carpet of the forest. And so you’re just going around with the little stupor and you’re picking all these fresh blueberries and you can even eat the blueberry flowers. They taste like honey like nectar. They’re so delicious. Anyway, the blueberries so his family collects so many blueberries and then they freeze them so that throughout the rest of the year, especially during the frozen tundra, you can still have access to these yummy there’s nothing like wild berries. They have also wild strawberries. And something called a lingonberry
Yes, and that’s the flavor of Swedish fish.
Rachael J. 14:10
Yeah, they’re like sour. Yeah, and then so these are all in the forest and then my favorite berry in Finland is called cloudberry and it grows in sort of the swamp area and in in a lot of times more of the Arctic Circle so in the north part of Finland but sometimes you can find them in the Mid South Finland and they are orange and they are like a little cloud and they’re so yummy and anyway Sue lots of berries and then lots of mushrooms. I never thought you could go scavenging for mushrooms that weren’t for you extracurricular activities more. These were these are mushrooms that you enjoy Should I say free? Yes,
we’ll the they typically tell us that you know if you go pick mushrooms either gonna die or end up on cloud nine.
Rachael J. 15:11
But in Finland they do have a poisonous mushroom that they pick. And what they do is they cook it and once it’s cooked, it’s not poisonous anymore. And it has like a pepper like a black pepper taste and there’s so good. So, anyway, this winter, we got to enjoy summer picked mushrooms, both the ones that are poisonous and ones that aren’t the canter rally I think is what they’re called. They’re beautiful orange mushrooms. They kind of like I don’t know, they bloom in a really pretty way. But so we had mushroom pies and berry soups and just fresh berries. Her his mom was a thawing out fresh strawberries, wild strawberries. And I just wanted to get a bite. Because there’s something about strawberries that are from the forest. There’s so much sweeter and juice here. And I ended up eating the whole container. Anyway Oh, yeah, the this past winter. It was wonderful. I really enjoyed a lot of my favorite dishes. I could go on. I do love finished food. So is there any kind of food you’d like to know more about or customs or I don’t know. Well,
what are some like key differences between like our two cuisines? Finnish and maybe America is big. So maybe like Southern America or you’re from actually Michigan. So maybe what you used to have north as well.
Rachael J. 16:46
Surprisingly, you know, northern United States has a lot of influence from European countries. So for example, in Finn and Michigan, we have something called a pasty, which is like a meat pie. And you eat it with gravy and it’s got like turnips and so it’s like a beef for slowly roasted beef casserole or like a crock pot but then inside of a bread and served with gravy anyway that’s kind of like what they have in Finland like meat pies but yeah, I would I would say comparing it to southern Florida you know, here we have so many fresh fruits and veggies because you know it’s just year round you get all these fresh things. But in Finland there’s so much reliance on importing fresh vegetables and fruits so the fruits and veggies aren’t as flavorful so there’s a lot more reliance on like, what you can grow in a greenhouse which is a lot of like different lettuces and herbs and tomatoes and simple like onions and garlic and and dill so the flavors are much more focused on the ingredients. Then the spices. So like here, I do love Southern greens, like I really enjoy, you know, mustard greens and things like that. Not so much with the bacon. But but I do love that but in Finland I would say they don’t really have they would they would have more of cabbage. So you could find like cabbage rolls. I feel like we have cabbage rolls here kind of alright got like the minced meat inside and with rice and it’s like wrapped into the egg roll shape. And casseroles I feel like we have casseroles here in Finland though the flavors are different. Like for example, my husband’s favorite has a liver and raisins and rice and it’s got kind of like maple syrup cooked in and so it’s like a sweet liver rice casserole. It sounds really strange. I’m not a big fan but if you like liver, it’s like really common and popular and loved. But I feel like we have like the carrot and raisin kind of salad down here. You know and they they have they do have a carrot and rice casserole
me we we do the the part of Florida and from you eat liver but it’s fry
Rachael J. 19:29
and you know, I feel like we have the liver sausage which is like a pate right? I feel like they they have a lot of liver sausage and the liver that they put in the casserole. It’s like, you know, it keeps its creaminess because it’s been on like the fried one where you actually it’s like the whole liver right? Yeah, I’m also not a not a big fan of that. But
oh no, that was my least favorite.
Rachael J. 19:57
Um, rutabaga. They use a lot of rutabaga so there’s really Oh, there’s this rutabaga casserole that my husband also. Yeah they cream the rutabaga with cream and butter and salt. And they add maple syrup. They love maple syrup and they make that into like a really creamy thing and then they bake it so the top gets kind of like yummy and then inside is creamy and then soups. We have soups. They have
lots of finished soup like a popular one.
Rachael J. 20:33
Salmon. It’s like a salmon cream soup. So if you can imagine you got like every family does it different just like everybody’s doing their lasagna different. And but I would say the core is a heavy cream with butter onions and fresh dill. And then of course you’ve got the salmon. And it’s really fresh salmon and
it’s really rich, is it smoked or just plain salmon?
Rachael J. 21:06
I would say it’s probably not smoked salmon that they put in their smoked salmon is what they use normally as a topping to a sandwich or put on the sandwich cake or just eat on top of the rye bread. They have so many kinds of rye bread, but they they just take a rye bread butter and put some smoked salmon on top. But in a soup they’ve got Yeah, this the fresh salmon is not dry. It’s really rich, very, very popular. I’ve had it’s very good. And then of course sausage. Finland is a big they they just they call it mokara. They love their Makara they have so many kinds of mokara. Like the blood sausage. They’ve got the smoked sausage, they’ve got kind of what’s like our Polish sausage. You know, the kielbasa, I think is what’s called the you know, when you go to the store they got it’s like a big U shape. And it’s kind of fat, they got that. Anyway, they have they’ve a kind that are like small and skinny, that would almost look like our hotdogs, but they taste they’re not so they’re not processed. They’re just small hotdog looking sausages. And of course because Finland is really innovative with the vegan and vegetarian they have. I am so jealous. I wish we had access to the Finnish vegan sausages. They even have a vegan blood sausage that they use right there. The rye flour is inside. But it’s rich and it’s delicious. And, and in in the summer. And in the winter you always have a fresh So anywhere you go in Finland, there’s all these little huts and inside the hut is a place you can have like a fire and it’s kind of like parks are everywhere. There’s there’s these little huts. So a lot of people have like, they like to make a fire and cook sausage over the fire. And that could also be in their sauna. A lot of people have their own sauna in their home. And so is
it so is it like the hut with the fire is a kind of like the way we have grills everywhere you go to a public park and there’s a grill but there’s this like a hut with a fire. Okay,
Rachael J. 23:25
yeah, and it’s a kind of reminds me of like, Native American style, kind of like really tall, almost like a teepee, the roof goes all pretty low all the way down. And so when you’re inside, it’s almost like a like a teepee if that’s how you call it. But anyway, the. And they’re and people at their own homes, they just have a lot of grills and they just love grilled sausage at anyone and you’re in the sauna. Of course you’re naked because, you know, and that’s the Finnish sauna away. You. You’re not allowed to wear anything and your grill and grill and sausages and
make it okay. And that’s a little bit of a danger.
Rachael J. 24:20
When I was there this winter, we stayed at our friend’s Mulki, which is the wind, the home that’s typically on the lake, and their sauna is right on the edge of the lake. And of course now it’s frozen with about a couple of feet, at least maybe two or three feet of snow on top. So you’re in the sauna, and it’s me and the girls and these are like our friends and we’re, you know you’re getting really toasty and then everybody wants a break. Okay, so we run out and we jump into the snow and make a snow angel. And that’s like, and then we run back into the sauna. And you do that like two or three times at least Come and drink a beer or they have a lot of sparkling water, which is salty. It’s like a salty sparkling water. It’s It sounds strange, but it’s it’s kind of I think it’s like a Russian thing because we’re near my husband.
I’ve just never heard of that before this
Rachael J. 25:17
interesting like carbonated ocean, you can get really really salty or slightly salty but, and and the tap water the finish tap water it’s hard to explain how delicious water can be. It’s like from the tap super cold. Super fresh super not really tasting like anything, but it’s I just I want that I would drink so much more water. If the water was like Finland water. Anyway, sausages sauna, and really good water. I salted water. Yeah, and and you can also take birch I think it’s birch young birch branches with their leaves on them. You can buy them from the grocery store. They like sell them everywhere. And you get a bundle. And then when you’re in the sauna, you whack your back with them. Like exfoliating.
Rachael J. 26:20
The blood? Excuse me blood flow and okay. Yeah, I love sauna culture. And I would say my skin was much happier. Like eating your skin feels good. And
so is it like a COVID situation? Or is it separate?
Rachael J. 26:36
Sometimes it depends on your family friend group. Oh, like Europe, nudity doesn’t.
So it’s like no strangers in there, or it’s just your, your group that you’re our
Rachael J. 26:46
group because it was a friend group of about, I think there were eight or nine, maybe nine of us. So there were three, or there was four girls and five guys. And so we went the girls went first and like but some friend groups, everybody goes together. But I personally felt more comfortable with just the girls. And when in families typically it’s like aunts and grandmas and moms and cousins, all the girl cousins like would go together. Like, if you’re on the in the summertime, and you’re on a boat and you’re going down the lake. If it’s around like the sauna time, you you keep your eyes on the water, because the Saunas are typically on the lake. So if you look over, you’re gonna see a bunch of naked butts. You know, depending on what time of the day it is, you’re gonna see nudity and saunas. It’s just like, not sexualized at all. Whereas an American nudity, it’s such a like a promiscuous thing. But in Finland, it’s like, it’s just a body. It’s just what you have that you’re, it’s just you and it’s not like you’re staring at each other, but you’re looking each other’s faces and talking and you’re just in each other’s birthday suits. And it’s no big deal. It took me, I think, the like after two visits to Finland to kind of get over it. And now it’s totally fine. But definitely an adjustment. Like it’s my first trip there. I saw my husband’s Grandma and mom, everybody’s name. I remember waking up one morning and looking out like it’s like the beginning of the day. And I see his grandma and her birthday suit running down the dock. And then she she jumps into the lake, and I just swim around for a minute and they get out and I asked her later and she’s like, Yeah, that’s how I love to wake up. It’s very invigorating in it.
That’ll get you there. Yeah. That’s a good blend. get the day started and really be like, I’m awake.
Rachael J. 29:02
And I’ll say it’s a totally different experience if you don’t have a bathing suit on. Yeah, but anyway, Finnish culture is a lot of just nature living off the land. Like when they go fishing, and they use a net. They try to get the bigger fish but sometimes they’ll catch a bunch of the small little fish and those are actually fried and a giant wok with salt and pepper and oil and they’re they’re really crispy. There may be I don’t know, three inches long. And you just it’s like the Finnish french fry. You pop the whole thing in your mouth. You know, and it’s kind of like anchovies, I guess because they’re smaller and they’re they’re not the bones aren’t a big deal at all. And, um, and I got to try those one. I wasn’t veg person and they’re, they’re delicious and like, you would never buy that from the store because my my husband’s Emily’s from the countryside. Apparently there’s like two kinds of Finnish people. There’s the Finnish people that come more from like the Swedish background, they have more etiquette, maybe they have more rules more way of eating. Whereas then then there’s the country, people that the people who live in the countryside and that would be my husband’s family. So even their accent would be what you’d think of as like a country accent in America. And they they don’t have any special etiquette and very relaxed very anyway. And you you eat off the land, you enjoy the land, you would be an insult to buy something that you could get off the land from the store. So
yeah, so tell me about like walking into a finished grocery store as an American, what stands out as being like completely different and foreign and what are some things so we’re just like, hey, we have that.
Rachael J. 30:59
Um, so what was interesting when you walk into a Finnish grocery store is kind of like when you walk into a Whole Foods or a fresh market, when you see all the flowers. Almost every grocery store sort of has a beautiful floral section. And I think that a part of that is because there’s not a lot of fresh flowers in Finland, so brightens it up, there’s a lot of, especially in the winter, it’s kind of dark all the time, like the sun comes up at around 11am and sets around 2pm. So there’s like when you walk into a grocery store, it’s so fresh and bright, and I think there’s something nice about being able to take some of that home to light in your own home. There’s also so much fresh herbs and lettuces and stuff because of the greenhouses, year round. So you you see just a whole bunch of sack is a giant section with like the lettuce and the herbs are actually little pots of soil. So a lot of people can just in they’re cheap. They’re so cheap, and just abundant and then the sauna section of even the typical grocery store there’s going to be this is a whole song. I mean, you know like it’s not a whole pile but there’s like an aisle that is okay sauna stuff sauna bucket, sauna branches that I was talking about. Get the sauna, oilseeds for the buckets because you you want. So the Finnish sauna setup is you’ve got an A wood oven on top of the wood oven or rocks. And so you always want to have a bucket or five buckets in your sauna that you can use with a they have a giant ladle and you use the ladle the splash the water onto the rocks, because when it’s not just a dry heat, it’s a wet so it feels hot. But then when the water gets on there, it’s like this wave of heat that kind of prickles your skin in a way that gives you kind of this, these kind of goosebumps, I don’t know it feels really good. And makes you sweat more and you got to have a bucket. And also you want another bucket because in order to stay in the sauna longer as you take that ladle and you put it on top of yourself too. So you’re getting yourself wet. And you know, as women we want to keep our hair wet because you don’t want to hurt or burn your hair. So I like to keep my hair really wet more put it in a giant bong and continue to like, make it make it pretty wet. So anyway, yeah. And then of course they have essential oils. And so they’ll put essential oils into the water and so when the water hits it you also get that blast of wonderful smells. And yeah, I saw the sauna section and another section that surprised me was there. ready made foods. You know, if you go to our grocery store, there might be a I don’t know a couple things that are ready made, but they’re like junk or they’re just like a sandwich. If you go to like a Publix you might find you know some salads and sandwiches, but that’s about it. But when you go to a Finnish grocery store, there’s not only regular things like meat pies, and smoked salmon sandwiches. I don’t know. Kebab kebab Turkish kebabs are really big and Finland like everybody loves Turkish kebabs. So you can get like a kebab you can get. And then of course because it’s this innovative in Finland, veg culture, so there’s vegan and vegetarian, like every even in the middle of nowhere. If I walk into a grocery store, there’s going to be a vegan or vegetarian ready made sandwich or pie, like savory pie or I don’t know if Fresh, something really fresh made every day. Oh, and one of the things that I also love is I’m a I’m a bargain girl like you give me I’m a coupon I love seeing at the end of that receipt, you just save $20 and coupons. And in Finland always there’s like, it’s always marked like, you’ll find something marked 30% down. And then if you buy it after a certain time in the evening, like, I don’t know, if it’s like seven o’clock then it’s now marked 50% off, or 75% off. And I’m like, Yes. And you know, it’s still got a couple of days left. And I like on everything. It could be the readymade stuff it could be the yogurts, it could be, it could be anything. And another thing that I love about finished groceries, okay, I, I will say when I when I travel the world, one of my favorite places to go is a grocery store. Because, yeah.
Find like good local things, and you don’t feel like you’re getting scammed sometimes. And you’re in certain places they see a foreigner, especially in Asia, like you get marked up or the food is fine. But like if you go to a grocery store, you’re eating what the locals are eaten. And anyway, all that to say there’s also always a giant bakery section. They love their pastries, because the coffee culture place like coffee is 789 cups a day and they even have like It’s freezing
out that it warms you up.
Rachael J. 36:29
You have to drink coffee. And there’s even like, I think official government required thing you have to have a coffee break when you work for a Finnish company. And so anyway, oftentimes with your coffee, you’re served pastries, and that could be from savory to sweet. A lot of cardamom flavored things. A lot of things with like berries or cream. Or custard. Dona?
Do you know that? Fam, you found out that cardamom helps with breast cancer?
Rachael J. 37:02
No, I didn’t know that, you know? Yes, each are carbon sugar cardamom and see like, you can even take some cardamom pods and just put it in some hot water and have like a really nice tea with a little bit of honey. So good. Anyway, my husband has introduced me to cardamom sometimes he just likes to put it in the most random things, but in Finland, they put it in like everything. So it’d be interesting.
I was Yeah, Chai was my introduction to carnival. Okay, I had Chai somewhere and I was just like, This is amazing. I love this taste. What is this taste? Like? And then I realized that’s what it was.
Rachael J. 37:39
Yeah, that like clothes. Clothes can be pretty overpowering and so can like all spice but but Cardamom is kind of such a nice flavor, almost like licorice are hard to explain, but I love Oh, speaking of licorice, that’s another big thing they eat. But anyway, grocery stores baked things. Love that.
Do they do the salted licorice? Yes. They always say less. So it’s just them. Yeah.
Rachael J. 38:05
And it has a warning on the box that says Don’t eat too much. Or your digestive tract is gonna be feeling it. Because it’s a laxative. Yeah. But it’s like a as if you were buying a box of mints. You buy a box of salted licorice or sour licorice or sweet licorice, but all that was like black licorice there. And then that you also find like gummies that are like licorice and fruit flavored gummies kind of mixed together. That’s my husband’s favorite. I think this last trip he bought probably one bag every other day and probably gained a bit of weight when we were there. She can’t find it here. And so yeah, one of one of my favorite baked things is actually savory. It’s called a Karelian pastry. And what they do is they take like a really thin rice dough, and they turn it into sort of like a boat shape. And it’s filled with a rice porridge that’s really really rich. And then they buy
like a rice pudding almost.
Rachael J. 39:10
It’s not sweet, but yes, and then they bake it and then when it comes out you they put buttermilk on top and it kind of softens the pastry but you get like that crisp outside
my face is not discussed.
Rachael J. 39:25
I know it’s like the textures. I’m a texture person and so you got like the kind of nice crisp outside that has absorbed some of that salty, buttery flavor. Then you got the inside which is like this nice creamy rice porridge that on the very top of the rice porridge is now it’s like a nice crispy layer that also has been absorbing that buttermilk, and then they just sell it it’s been dried. The buttermilk was completely absorbed and you can buy them for so cheap. And then what they do is they At home, they’ll top it with an egg butter, which is scrambled like a boiled hard boiled egg that you cut up into little pieces and you kind of melt butter down and mix it together. And then you put in the fridge again. So you just kind of as if you’re taking butter, but it’s got butter with boiled eggs in it and you kind of spread it on top. And then they’ll put some fresh dill and smoked salmon, or just with the butter, or with just nothing like me, I just will eat it as is it’s so good. Anyway, it’s kind of like a sandwich base, but like an open open sandwich base. And you could put anything like any sandwich e things on top. Anyway, it’s one of my favorites, and you can’t find it anywhere. And it’s so exhausting to make. I’ve tried making it and it just takes so much time and so much effort and it’s not worth it. But in Finland, you can get it for like 25 cents a piece. And it’s like, oh, well, yeah. Wish we can have them here. Yeah, I missed them.
So you mentioned that Bill’s family isn’t as they don’t have like a lot of mealtime kind of Frou Frou customs. But are there any like differences in terms of etiquette between sitting at a finish table is sitting on an American Table?
Rachael J. 41:15
Yes. And it goes like this….Silence.
Rachael J. 41:28
It’s like these. For me. It’s really awkward. Like, they’re just eaten away and just being really quiet and like not talking and for them. Like small talk isn’t really a thing like I don’t know, they just are comfortable with just being in each other’s presence for like, sometimes five minutes and there’s just no talking. And, and
I don’t think that will bother me. Or my extrovert? Yeah, I
Rachael J. 42:04
guess I guess I would say there’s a joke in Finland. And an you know how to make a difference. tell the difference between an introverted Finnish person and an extroverted Finnish person is the introverted Finnish person looks at their own feet when they’re walking down the street and an extroverted person looks at your feet when they’re walking down the street. And then yes, I’m the extrovert. So like, for example, I’m walking down the street and someone’s in their yard, you know, I know some finish phrases. So I’ll like say something to them in a greeting like Good afternoon or high or how are you? And then my husband’s like, no, like, when they are in their home on their property and their garden on their front porch? That is their personal private space and you’re rude by just even looking at them. By your like invading. Personal space
you’re supposed to have like a bubble. It’s a literal bubble.
Rachael J. 43:10
Yes. It’s funny because they say Finland is the happiest country and it’s not been a few years but Finnish people are like, really because I don’t feel very happy. I don’t know about you. And I would say there’s a little bit of a loneliness there’s a lot of isolation and a lot of a lot of alcoholism. There’s, there’s like a every country has things they struggle with. And I think in Finland, a part of the loneliness factor does come in with this kind of social privacy. And I’ve heard from multiple Finnish people who visited America that one of the things they loved about coming here is that there is just this greeting of warmth when you go into a grocery store or when you’re walking down the street like you don’t have to know someone super well to be greeted with love and care and so not all Finnish people are super wanting the private seat privacy but there they would be considered rude if they are out you know, doing you know, they would be they don’t want to hurt other people and they’re very respectful, very honest culture. Anyway,
interesting because with our, with our culture, being so extroverted, being an introvert feels like that sometimes you wish, like you had that bubble where people okay, they’re expected. Right? You know, I’m not expected to make conversation here. And extrovert living in the Finnish society probably feels the same way an extrovert would in our society. So that’s, that’s really interesting.
Rachael J. 44:44
And you think about like how much more effort it takes to have really good friends, right? Not just have social drinking buddies, which drinking culture is huge in Finland. It’s funny as another part of the grocery store. I was surprised by Do you have to go to a liquor store to get anything really alcohol like they don’t really sell regular alcohol in a grocery store, but they do have in a grocery store a giant non alcohol section so you get like the non alcoholic wine and beer and stuff. And I think that also has to play with like, because drinking culture is so big there’s also so much excessive alcohol drinking so the grocery stores are trying to for those who love the taste of beer but are trying to cut down but anyway, yeah. Definitely introverted and extroverted has a has a piece in that and even, I mean, even Don’t you love having some good friends, even though you’re introverted, you still enjoy having people that care about you. And how did you meet those people? Sometimes it’s extroverted people who reach out to the introverted people that yes,
I say it takes both of us to make the world go round. You know, behind every introvert that stays more than probably about 20 minutes at your party and extrovert is the only reason keeping them there. Oh,
Rachael J. 46:15
yeah. I mean, that was kind of like high school like with some of our friends, right? Some of my closest friends were introverted, and yeah, just works. And my husband is an introverted man, and I’m extroverted. We make it work. Um, definitely, um, when we first got married, when we did the what is it that when you have the four letters, the Myers Briggs, and we did, like we were complete opposites. And we just took it recently, and instead of being on the opposite spectrums, we’re still in the opposite spectrums, but more close to the middle. So it’s interesting how we kind of influenced each
other each other. Yeah, that’s sweet. Very nice. Yeah. Oh, I’m getting sentimental in my old age.
Rachael J. 47:07
We’re only 30 Something I’m 3030 33 we’re young, we’re young and 30 is good. It’s a good year. It’s good. It’s good decade. Anyway. Yeah.
So you’ve kind of answered how easy it is to find things to eat and Finland as a vegan or vegetarian. Are there any dishes that you had to kind of adapt to make meatless other than the sandwich was it sandwich sandwich cake, cake labor
Rachael J. 47:44
cuckoo labor cuckoo is what it is in Finnish. I guess macaroni casserole is is something and Finnish pancake mix macaroni casserole is like a casserole. But you’ve got a lot of ground beef and egg and cream, salt and pepper. It’s really simple. But it’s my husband’s like, favorite thing. It’s like It’s like the childhood mac and cheese. You know, you just you just sometimes desire it. And VLAN my husband, he he doesn’t eat beef anymore. He does eat fish, but he doesn’t eat beef. And sometimes he’s just like, I still want that. So in America now we have all of these like beyond burger and impossible meat and stuff. And you can make really nice ground beef and kind of just easily supplement it with now you got the just egg for the egg. When we first got married nine years ago, it that wasn’t a thing yet. So there are people in Finland who were vegetarians, and they wanted to make it so I follow some of the recipes and they use like lentils and stuff instead of and that was all right. Well, of course it’s not the same. And I mean, I went vegan for health reasons. And so sometimes I just crave a good beef, you know, there’s the texture and the smell. And it’s not just like a flavor swap. So it’s so nice nowadays to have like the impossible meat and be able to grind it up. And then with the finished pancake, so it’s actually baked in a casserole dish. And it’s about an inch to even on the edge of sometimes like an inch and a half or two inches deep.
Is that similar to what we will call like a Dutch baby here or like the German Pancake Dutch baby. That sounds weird, but that’s what you call yours like a bakes pancake.
Rachael J. 49:51
Okay, maybe I don’t know, like the it’s it’s got a totally different texture. I would say it’s more dense. It’s because they use a lot of eggs and cream or milk and some people use yogurt and of course with flour and cardamom, you got to put cardamom in and, and sometimes fresh blueberries they put in it and it bakes and then they cut it into squares. And it’s like a really like one square will fill you it’s very dense. And you put on top, you could put cloudberry jelly, which is so good. Or like fresh berries, or of course they got their maple syrup. Oh, oh, you know, there’s one thing that I haven’t had the courage to make. That is it’s what is it called? It’s like a holiday. Nam me. That’s what it’s called, man. Me. It’s like a pudding made from rye flour. And molasses. It sounds really weird.
But man, it’s
Rachael J. 51:07
actually it’s really rich. And you tap it with like whipped cream or, or just cream or milk. And you can either have it hot or cold. It’s like a I think they typically have it around now around Easter. And I feel like it’s already pretty vegan. But I don’t actually know the recipe. But it’s again one of those things that you can get so easily in Finland, but I feel like would take so much effort to make here. I don’t know what else. So man may finish. So the finished pancake, I swapped vegan yogurt and soy milk and I didn’t have to use egg and it turned out delicious. Even my husband was like this isn’t the real thing. And I was like it’s good. It’s good. Macaroni casserole I hate by the way, macaroni casserole, you eat it with ketchup. So after it’s cooked and ready to go, he puts his giants he calls it fresh tomatoes on top. Because that’s of course his vegetable of the day. Very potato man and most Finnish people because most veggies are kind of unless you get them from the greenhouse, which is like the fresh herbs and lettuces but even that, you know, it’s like potatoes. That’s that’s their vegetable, which of course we now know is not really a vegetable, right? It’s like a it’s like a starch so I don’t know, I feel like they don’t eat enough vegetables in Finland. But um, my husband would be a perfect example of that. I don’t know, I haven’t really been successful at casseroles so I I feel like plus the rutabaga. I don’t even know where to buy that. Do do you? Is that like a common thing in the grocery store? Maybe I just don’t search enough for
it. Um, I feel like I’ve seen it in a Publix but you will probably have to go to the country and find like a produce stand or something or a market somewhere in the country because pentru people eat rutabagas or you have to know somebody who I guess grows up I guess I don’t know. I’m not a I’m not a big rutabaga fan. I didn’t know that at a church potluck every once in a while to show up. Yeah, somebody’s talking about
Rachael J. 53:43
like, it’s not probably it’s not a common thing served in the city of Orlando. But
if you come up here and maybe go to like a Quincy or Havana you might be able to find
Rachael J. 53:56
some, alright, it hasn’t been it’s like its own unique flavor. It’s almost like sweet, and I really like it. So, but
well it would always just fool me because I’m like, this is a potato. It’s gonna taste like say goodbye. It is like this is Apple’s
Rachael J. 54:15
own texture, right? It doesn’t get creamy. Unless you make it creamy. Yeah, there you know, there’s one thing I can’t get in America. And I could never make it on my own. And it’s a liquor that’s made from pine sap, or pine tar. Oh, have you heard of it?
No, I just I just had a memory. I just thought Tiktok was somebody who was eating like these mini pine cones. And it was like a jelly out of him. So he was like, it was looked like it looked like honey surrounding little baby pine cone. Oh, and he was just like it tastes the way it tastes the way a pine cone and kind of smell sweet. And I was just like,
Rachael J. 55:03
I feel it kind of reminds me of like sweet menthol it’s hard to describe, but they have like drinks made from this liquor made from pine tar and it’s like own. It’s kind of smells smoky has a very smoky tar smell, but it’s sweet. And yeah, you just drink it. Sometimes they put it in like a soda or another’s, you just drink the liquor straight up. And also they they make liquor from those cloudberries I was talking about. And actually, we still, we still have some finished chocolate leftover from this last trip. And they take dark chocolate, that mean, European chocolate in general is just so much better than American chocolate. And then they they take the cloudberry liquor and they insert it into these little capsules of sugar. And then they cover the sugar capsules in this dark chocolate. And so you have to pop the whole thing in your mouth because the liquor in the middle is still liquid. And other cars I made the mistake of biting in half because I wanted to see it look like them. And then of course it goes all over me. And I smell quite quite wonderful for a little bit. But um, yeah, there’s like, I don’t know, there’s just certain things you can’t get over here that I definitely miss. And can’t ever reproduce it. Or if I do it just takes too much effort like the Kirlian paste, pastries and even sandwich cake sandwich cage takes so much time just like lasagna takes a lot of effort, a lot of things that you’re preparing ahead of time. But I did do it for my 30th birthday. I had a giant like a really big party with a really big sandwich cake. And it was if you got the right occasion. It’s it’s great for weddings and stuff like that, too. I don’t know what else. Yeah, I haven’t tried making the cabbage rolls but I think I would like to make those at some point too. Because I feel like it’s pretty easy to reproduce. Now that we have impossible meat.
We have cabbage is not as hard to find his elusive rutabaga.
Rachael J. 57:30
I’m sorry. I’m like in ponder Oh, oh, one other thing that I didn’t mention is in Finland. They eat beer a beer. They eat? They’re like B E AR bears the bears. Elk. Moose rain way. Literal bears. Yeah.
I was thinking you were going to like a cookie like a teddy Teddy grant.
Rachael J. 57:57
They do have those? Yes. No, like the meat selection is more than cows and pigs and fish like they’ve got reindeer and moose and elk and bears and you can have that as like, you know, minced meat or, or jerky or sausage. Yeah, and I don’t know, it’s just again living off the land.
Have you had bear?
Rachael J. 58:25
I did. Um, I had bear like smoked salami, Bear Bear salami. And it was okay. Just tasted like salami. Kind of.
Okay, so let’s face it. Okay. It was I have for bear meat in my mind and I think is from the yearly that book where they had some bear they talked about how greasy it was. And so it was great. So bear with me.
Rachael J. 58:59
But Salami is greasy. So you know, maybe that was intentional. And I also had salami and reindeer and I had reindeer sausage. And of course this is like a decade ago but I still remember it being just chewier and greasy. Yeah, greasy and salty. But you know they just eat it as they used. I think they also have horse meat. Like you can still find it in the store. And I think there’s like people are trying to make horses not on the market because just like here like it’s more like a pet now so there’s like a sense of like sadness when you you see a horse meat hanging next to the pork. But But yeah, yeah. We bought elk jerky for some family brought it back with us so anywho that was just one thing that I was kind of shocked. To buy when I was in the grocery store
this might be Yeah. Yeah.
Rachael J. 1:00:08
All right, okay.
Rachael J. 1:00:13
Yeah. Anyway, so I wonder
if that’s that’s kinda like that. Wouldn’t we have in the bear for that to be a thing here? But yeah,
Rachael J. 1:00:23
yeah, I don’t know they might be protected, but I feel like there’s probably a hunting season for it. I’m sure there’s some of your your listeners have maybe no. Have
Yeah. I’m sure I’m sure they may have had deer sausage before but well know about bear.
Rachael J. 1:00:41
I mean up in Michigan deer sausage is a normal thing. And deer the backstrip and I grew up with all of that.
Yeah. Yeah. My family’s country so possums. Oh, recommends Oh, yeah. Oh, wow. Thanksgiving. There was definitely there was cooling on the table with Oh,
Rachael J. 1:01:01
wow. I mean, like when I was in Taiwan, you know, turtle and snake and, you know, all those all those things you can’t even imagine are hanging at the market. But I didn’t think about it here in the
States. Yeah. It tastes good. I was I was vegetarian. So yes. Well, well, I’m pescetarian. Now. Okay. I was I had already covered it. I mean, it looks like a season has heavily season has usually sweet potatoes around the company meant for it. Oh, but interesting is interesting. It’s funny, because you know, the younger generation doesn’t eat that type of stuff anymore. Not not as used to it. So a lot of discus from hobby. What is that? What is this?
Rachael J. 1:01:54
Caught it and how was
it prepared? Interesting. I mean, I’m telling you, I growing up, my babysitter was cleaning a squirrel. Oh. I was like, Okay, I like it’s like the other day.
Rachael J. 1:02:10
What was it yesterday, I was sitting on the patio with my two cats and my husband and we’re watching these two squirrels we live on like the second floor and they have crawled up a palm tree. And they are the palm tree. I don’t know what they’re called. But they bloomed these yellow things. And I don’t know if it’s a flower or fruit or something. But the squirrels are having a hay day. And they were quite enjoying themselves. One almost fell. And this is like second floor height. So like for us, it’s right in front of us. And he almost fell but he grabbed on to these yellow things. And then he’s, he’s not even fazed. And he’s chewing off the other branch. And then anyway, me and my cats and my husband find squirrels super cute. could not imagine eating them. But hey, it’s an animal and live off the land.
I mean, it makes sense to eat, if you want to eat meat to eat what’s around you. So right now, a couple generations back, that’s what it was like. Yeah. And so, I mean, people in Honduras, you know, they have a lot of Regatta. And so the tour guy was just like, you know, we call it Bush chicken, you know? Oh, so people eat the animals that are around them if you know if you partake in meat, so
Rachael J. 1:03:25
yeah, yeah. Well, I will say if you go to Finland, you will not be disappointed by your vegetarian options because they they make a lot of vegan versions of everything. And they use this meat they made out of oats. And oh, yeah, I haven’t seen that here. Have you seen it? Well, yeah. Yeah.
It’s kind of you know, SDA. Oat burgers are a big thing.
Rachael J. 1:03:52
Oh, burgers you have you see the oats, right?
Yeah, but there’s this like really grounded. It looks more like
Rachael J. 1:03:58
gluten. They they turn it I guess into a flower and then they’ve processed it to the point where it’s very chewy. Like gluten, like say, Tom or have you called us gluten meat? It’s It’s
our third day. And as my dad likes to say, I like that. I like that.
Rachael J. 1:04:22
Sounds fancier would you like I guess because, you know, it makes me sound like I’ve got quite an evil palette.
So what am I groups they were just like, I’m not calling it I’ll call it a holy thing. I like it.
Rachael J. 1:04:47
Next time I serve it I’m gonna call this is the Holy 10 of the Yuka Ryan and household. That’s how we say our last name, by the way. Anyway,
yeah, I’ve wondered for some time but it was like it passed. Before it’s just like, how do you say, you know, my brain has already come up with a song for your car?
Rachael J. 1:05:06
Oh, yeah. Well, this is how I say it’s like Yuka like the vegetable, right? Like the rye bread and then no, then you go right. And then you can run. And then if you can roll your r’s, you got reinen.
I cannot. Okay, it’s three years, two years of Spanish. And I tried. I’ve tried very hard.
Rachael J. 1:05:31
And so okay, no worries you and a lot of others. So I was really excited when I got married that I all of a sudden now have in my name, because in Finland, they have the the rolling RS, which is really surprising. And they’re j and the J. Yeah, the J sounds like, Oh, why? Like, like Germany. So. Yeah. Cool.
Cool. But this has been very interesting. I
Rachael J. 1:05:57
feel like we’ve been all over the place. I hope that I represented Finland. Okay.
Well, I have a lot of questions.
Rachael J. 1:06:05
I hope everybody goes and visits. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people and wonderful food. And I mean, imagine going to North Finland and staying in an ice igloo and watching the Northern Lights every night when you go to bed. I mean, it’s just beautiful, and the lakes and fresh air and the water so clean and people are really sweet and kind. So anyway, and if you’re an introvert, you will get your privacy and if you’re an extrovert, there will be extroverted Finland, Finnish people who are very excited to meet you. Anyway,
well, thank you so much, Rachel, for this wonderful kind of insight into Finnish culture and food. There are a lot of things that pique my curiosity, where I’m like, I want to taste this. I did not know that Finland had such a big food scene. So is there any place if anybody kind of wants to maybe connect with you? Is there a way to do that? Are you comfortable giving out if
Rachael J. 1:07:11
I’m on socials of Facebook and Instagram with my first and last name? Like on Instagram, my handle is just first my first name and last name, which you’ll post I assume in the description, because it’s a little long, so but yeah, feel free to message me I’d be happy to just Yeah, have you got questions about Finland or you want to just say hey, I’m a foodie so
that’s a definite issue extrovert Yeah. Yeah,
Rachael J. 1:07:44
I feel like on Facebook they like have like the setting and I don’t know how to turn it off like if you’re not friends and you message yeah, like I don’t see those messages unless I have to check every once in a while. But I would try Instagram first to message me so yeah, anyway,
awesome. So this has been Rachael Jukrainan you go right. And like, right, right? Yeah, rye bread. Jukarainen. And she’s been here to teach us about Finnish culture. I have been the flaky foodie. Thank you so much for listening today. Treat this episode, like gossip or the gospel and tell somebody about it. And make sure that you have an amazing week, eat something delicious. And if you do, you can tell me about it on social media. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a little on TikTok. Alrighty. Thanks, everybody.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai