Monday, October 29, 2007

Notes from an Authority...

I received a great letter from Liz N. today -- she grew up in Lanesville with my mother -- she provided me with further information about Finnish food.

Her daughter made a Punajuurisalaatti a few years ago for a family gathering. "Punajuuri" is the word for "beet". The salad contained boiled potatoes, cooked beets, diced apples and cucumber. Similar to the Sillisalaatti, but no fish.

Liz's cousins in Finland go mushroom hunting every summer and salt their finds, so they can be used in the months to come. Very consistent with what I read about mushroom foraging in Finland! Also, she said that they use lots of fresh dill in Finland. However, that practice didn't make its way to the Lanesville Finnish community. Strange, since I think dill is pretty easy to grow in this area.

And the answer to the question of how to make the hole in the center of the Reikä Leipä rye bread. Cookie cutter? Bottle? No, of course not -- with your fingers! Logical. Liz uses Beatrice Ojakangas' "Finnish Cookbook" (she is now the second person to mention that book to me!). This cookbook describes how Western Finnish flat rye bread is about 8 to 10 inches in diameter, with a hole about two inches in diameter in the center. The hole is made with the fingers :) Reikä Leipä was mostly made decades ago when the Western Finnish housewife made about 100 loaves at one time! Can you imagine? There was a mass baking spree once in the Spring and once in the Fall. Then, the loaves were stored on a pole near the ceiling, as I noted in an earlier entry.

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