Anne: Flavors from Finland

Today’s guest post on ethnic food ties into my new theme. Anne blogs over at Food Loving Polar Bear. She likes yoga and walking just as much as I do and she’s going to share some of her favorite foods from Finland (that’s where she lives!). A quick side note…

How does ethnic food tie into intuitive eating?

Ethnic food is usually not particularly low-calorie or in line with clean-eating principles. But it’s usually delicious; if you can eat a diet filled with wonderful ethnic foods and not gain weight (or maintain a healthy weight) you are probably eating intuitively. Here’s an example – the traditional European diet (French, Finnish, etc…) is filled with things like heavy cream, cheese, and decadent desserts and pastries like croissants (oh, croissants!). Yet Europeans are generally much thinner than Americans. Why?

Why French Women Don’t Get Fat

French women don’t obsess about food, they eat what they crave, and they eat real food. They’re in tune with the body’s hunger and fullness signals. They don’t eat emotionally (meaning they’re not the type to turn to Mr. Ben or Mr. Jerry when they’re sad) and they’re not emotional about eating. These are generalizations of course, but these are the general principles of intuitive eating.

Enough of my rambling. Without further ado… the lovely Anne!

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Hi!

I’m a new blogger from Finland and I am proud to introduce you some flavors from my home country. Thanks Maggie for the chance to promote my tiny country and its delicious foods!

finland map Anne: Flavors from Finland

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A little background information about Finland:

  • Finland is situated between Sweden and Russia, in northern Europe
  • Finland has 5.4 million inhabitants
  • The capital of Finland is Helsinki
  • There are more than 2 million saunas in Finland
  • We do not have polar bears in Finland icon wink Anne: Flavors from Finland

Now you know a bit about my home country! In this post I’m going to concentrate on my favorite topic: FOOD.

Traditional Finnish cuisine is similar to Swedish, German and Russian cuisines. Finnish dishes tend to be less sweet than Swedish ones, and Finns use little or no sour cream in preparation compared to their Russian neighbors.

Traditional dishes (perinneruoka) are rarely eaten on a daily basis and saved for the real holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. The traditional dishes are often regional and more valued by the older generations or only eaten during a specific holiday; for example Mämmi during Easter. This following dish is only eaten during Easter, (almost) never on other occasions. For the recipe of Mämmi click here.

mammi finnish food Anne: Flavors from Finland

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Mämmi does not look very appealing icon biggrin Anne: Flavors from Finland

Home-made food (kotiruoka) can be also found in restaurants and we have many restaurants in Helsinki specializing in traditional Finnish food.

The most common traditional foods in Finland (which are eaten on daily basis in Finnish homes):

Leipäjuusto (the direct translation is bread cheese):

Leipajuusto bread cheese Anne: Flavors from Finland

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It’s usually eaten with jam, but I usually eat without. It doesn’t have much flavor and it feels a bit rubbery in your mouth but once you get used to it, you will love it!

Reindeer (poronkäristys)

reindeer Anne: Flavors from Finland

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Reindeer is usually eaten with mashed potatoes, jam and pickles. It’s one of the most popular dishes among those foreigners whom I have introduced this dish to.

Cabbage rolls (kaalikääryleet)

cabbage rolls 400x227 Anne: Flavors from Finland

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They look like spring rolls, but are not. It’s minced meat (ground beef) rolled into a cabbage leaf. They’re also served with jam, usually with cranberry. These took me almost 20 years to like them, but now I actually like eating the rolls, I also should try making them at home. As a child this used to be my most-hated-dish-ever icon biggrin Anne: Flavors from Finland

Pea Soup (hernekeitto)

Pea soup is one of the most popular dishes among poor students. It’s cheap, filling and even though you have tons of gas in your stomach after eating a can, sometimes you just don’t mind. Pea soup is usually eaten here every Thursday. Even my office has pea soup Thursdays! It’s eaten with mustard or, like in the picture, with ham icon wink Anne: Flavors from Finland

pea soup 400x280 Anne: Flavors from Finland

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Finnish meatballs (lihapullat)

These are a familiar dish in my kitchen. My boyfriend loves my home made meatballs and I have also made them in Germany for a bunch of Germans who had no idea how to make them at home, they were a success!

finnish meatballs Anne: Flavors from Finland

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They are also usually eaten with mashed potatoes.

Pickled herring (silli)

pickled herring Anne: Flavors from Finland

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There are tons of different kinds of pickled herrings in Finnish grocery stores. I personally love the middle one, herring with mustard. They are a traditional summer dish and are eaten with new (small) potatoes and dill.

Viili

This is a product I tried to explain in my blog some time ago. It was difficult! I found an article in Foodista about viili!

Viili Anne: Flavors from Finland

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Smoked fish (savustettu liha)

We Finns love fish, especially smoked fish! We have so many different kinds of fish and I really want to make you drool in the end of my guest post, so here are some pictures of my favorite delicacy icon wink Anne: Flavors from Finland

smoked fish Anne: Flavors from Finland

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Mmmmh!

smoked fish 2 Anne: Flavors from Finland

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smoked fish 3 400x299 Anne: Flavors from Finland

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I hope you all enjoyed this little journey to Finnish cuisine. Feel free to ask me more anytime!

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Thanks again, Anne! Finnish food sounds awesome. I have actually had a lot of these dishes because I’m part German (Cabbage Rolls, Pickled Herring, Meatballs, Pea Soup). I’ve never had reindeer but it sounds really cool. And anything that is translated as “bread-cheese” is okay in my book.

What’s your favorite ethnic food? What do you think about ethnic food and intuitive eating?

P.S. I have been playing around and updating my blog; poke about and check out my new tabs and some updated pages if you want. I’m not quite done yet so I’ll do another announcement when I finish.

8 Comments on Anne: Flavors from Finland

  1. vanillavivante
    16 August, 2010 at 10:36 am (4 years ago)

    Interesting — I’ve never seen Finnish food before!
    On your points above about intuitive eating/ethnic food; a lot of ethnic food is VERY vegetable-heavy (esp. Asian cuisine), which is worth noting. Also, I feel like the French are VERY emotional about their food, but in a positive way; rather than turning to food to cope with negative emotions, it’s seen as a source of pleasure and celebration, not something to be overdone. What do you think?

    • Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad
      30 August, 2010 at 9:48 pm (4 years ago)

      @vanillavivante: Really good points! Actually a lot of Asian food is veg-heavy now that i think about it. And yes about being emotional about food… I guess I never really thought about what it’s like to be emotional about food in a good way.

  2. Heather Eats Almond Butter
    16 August, 2010 at 10:36 am (4 years ago)

    Oh gosh, I have no doubt I wouldn’t love the bread cheese. That sounds amazing as does all Finnish food! I think I’d really enjoy the cabbage rolls as well. Great guest post. Thanks Anne!

    I think my favorite ethnic food would have to be…oh gosh, I don’t know…to many to choose from! Love them all! :)

  3. Cindy
    16 August, 2010 at 10:55 am (4 years ago)

    I’m with Heather…too many choices, i love food, and all cuisines.

    Thanks for the yummy peek into Finnish food. a lot different from here!

    :)

  4. Pearl Lee
    16 August, 2010 at 12:28 pm (4 years ago)

    so interesting! thank you for posting, anne!

  5. Gaby
    17 August, 2010 at 3:04 pm (4 years ago)

    How cool! I never knew much about Finnish food but love some of the German and Eastern European staples, including cabbage rolls, pierogies, saurkraut, etc.
    I think Vanilla is right on target when she says it’s not that French women (or other cultures too) are not emotional about food, but it’s quite the opposite. There aren’t as many negative associations with it. It’s a positive part of culture, being social, and enjoying life.
    For a huge travel nut like me, I LOVE trying different kinds of cuisine and think it’s a major part of the experience when I go somewhere. While it’s harder with the diet I usually keep at home, I tend to loosen up when I’m somewhere new. It’s a cost/ benefit analysis thing, and my experience of a new culture takes priority. Like Anne said, these are “special occasion” foods.
    I don’t know if I could pick a favorite since it really changes depending on my mood. I crave simple flavors though so I love these kinds of things. Thai food is an exception though, I love it! And I have a soft spot for south american of course :)

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