These are färsk gris, which loosely translates to "fresh pig". No one knows why...but they are delicious. Basically it's a jelly doughnut, but better.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Today was the day to try another Nordic tradition: cross-country skiing. Kristina was going to show me the ropes. Here is my first lesson:
Here is a closeup. You may can tell that, at this point, I am not thinking, "Maybe I'll take up cross-country skiing as a lifetime hobby!" No, I was not thinking that...
Two nights ago Sara made a fresh batch of Julstjärna (Christmas stars), which are sweetened puff-pastry formed into stars with a plum filling. They are delicious!
This is one of the main streets in Jakobstad showing off the famous symbols: Faith (cross), Hope (anchor), and Love (heart - waaaay in the back). These three symbols are on EVERYTHING in Jakobstad, and are quite neat. One tradition is to hang hand-made paper lights of the symbols in your window during the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Getting ready to snöskoter! The main event arrives!
Seven men and six snöskotar!
Here we are just before we leave. The ride was indescribable in words or pictures. We drove through the archipelago on the ice...that was intense. Getting stuck in the middle of the lake is not very fun. I think we all had a great time, and I really appreciate the guys making an effort to show me a good time.
In the next day or so, I will have a picture of the national dish of Finland!
We got to the rink and it was covered with snow, but thankfully the tractor was there clearing it off. After quickly mastering the art of skating, I decide to get out on the ice and check out the equipment. Stick looks good:
The boys of the family (Dani, Tossi, Joppi, Paul, Martin, and Patten) have been planning a "boys night out" for us. On the schedule was hockey (which simply meant "skating" for me), snowmobiles, and pizza. As I had no skates, I had to do a little testing. Here I am the morning of boys night trying to decide which pair were best:
"Yes, these are clearly the best!"
With that, I'm ready to take on the world (or a small ice rink in rural Finland).
Next I had to get all of the proper gear. Here I am looking into the future, a future that holds NHL aspirations? Maybe. You should know that "maybe" is Swedish for "absolutely not".
Following is the process for making Karelian pirogues.
Step 1. Obtain pirogues. These are essentially thin wheat bread stuffed with a type of rice pudding.
Step 3. I am an American and like to mix things up. I put a little pepper, and some cheese on top. Traditionalists among us (I'll not name names) only put the egg.
Step 5 (Optional). If this does not sound up your alley, you may have an "American" muffin from Boström's bakery down the street. They are pretty good too!
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sofie, Dani, and Hannes look over a new gift:
Smoked moose meat! I also got smoked reindeer meat, a bottle of white truffle oil, and a great book! Thanks dearheart!
Kristina's OTHER sister, Kea (Mikaela), her husband, Patten (Patrik), and one of their 18,000 children, Joas:
Christmas Eve is celebrated in Finland like Christmas day is celebrated in the U.S. In case my mom was worrying, they did feed me well:
We had a special glazed ham, roast, mashed potatoes, paté, two kinds of homemade bread, pickles, beet salad, rutabega casserole, some carrot dish that was good, potato salad, smoked salmon, fruit salad and other things...
Here is the fruit salad. It had boiled egg yolks on top!
Then something terrifying happened:
The Christmas Eve tradition is that some dress up as Tomten (Santa Claus) and go around and hand out your presents to everyone. This is all well and good, but the way that they let you know that they're there is to walk up to the window (in the pitch black) and know on the window! I reached for my gun, but didn't have it.