"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Food & Fables

Friday, November 04, 2005

Food & Fables

Yesterday I searched our local supermarket for lingonberries, as I didn't have time for an Ikea run (where we get the $10 buckets that last for months). No luck. The cashier said that Safeway no longer carries the product except during the holidays. This surprised me, because given our large Scandinavian population, you'd expect a pretty constant demand. Fortunately, the fancier market down the street still carries little jars of the stuff.

I didn't grow up with lingonberries, but now we eat them in PBJ's, on waffles and over the kids' favorite pudding. So it tickled me when Theoforos shared the berry's role in Kalevelan and Kanteletar nativity stories. I would love to learn more. (Theo, just what is the Kanteletar tradition? Are there English translations available?)

For his cultural studies project in first grade, our son needs to come up with: a description, painting or model of foods from our cultural tradition. I was keen on making Swedish Christmas cookies out of felt or clay, but he wants to build a miniature lavvo, based on this photograph I took at a Sami exhibit.

Readers, please help! What kind of food should be in that pot?


  1. This is a site where you can purchase a lavvu. Maybe they can provide some basic information for your son. Worth a try?


    Here is the website for the Saami School in Kiruna. They give some information about traditional food. Maybe your son could correspond with them.


    Good luck.

  2. Correction. Website for lavuu is:


  3. Kanteletar is a collection of old poems. Here is a link that gives a short description:


    Why not have "biddus" in the pot? It's a traditional Sámi soup of reindeer meat, potatoes and possibly also carrots and other vegetables. Maybe you can find the recipe on the site someone else above posted a link to.

    Or just simply cooked reindeer, and some fluffy Sámi flatbread? Kind of boring but very typical traditional Sámi food. I was once served a meal in a genuine Sámi home that consisted of cooked meat of reindeer, potatoes and the broth from the pot served in a coffee cup. You were supposed to drink the broth while you were eating the meat and the potatoes.

  4. Thank you for all for your kind indulgence. After much pro-and-conning, our son decided to make a 1/2 size baked clay replica of pulla. The result is impressive. Made of light brown clay, it is glazed with clear nail polish and sprinkled with white glass beads of pearl sugar. Thanks to our bread machine, we were able to whip up a batch of the real thing as well, so his classmates can have a taste. (Pulla had a clear advantage over biddus in that department.) Wish I could offer you all a hot cup of coffee and a slice of that Nordic wonderbread.

  5. Question for all "real" Finns out there--is flatbread more of a Finnish thing or a Sami thing? My grandmother, who was (arguably) of more Sami than Finnish ancestry, prefered to make her loaves of bread into flatbread.

  6. My Mom made wonderful flatbread--family is Finn from Oulu. She has been gone 20 years and I still miss her every day!

  7. LLLReader sez: In Astoria there is a bakery at the East end of town, on the left as you are heading West called, I believe, the Home Bakery. My grandma came to Astoria in 1912 from Hailito, small island off of Oulu. The pulla they sell is the exact taste and texture of what my grandma made.

  8. Flatbread is made all over Scandinavia and Finland in various kinds, it's not just the Sámi who make it, but there is one variety that is typical for the Sámi. By the way, it has been developed into a commercial product and you can now find it in almost any store over here. But the industrial product probably doesn't taste the same as the real kind that is baked on an open fireplace in a lavvu. I never had the opportunity to taste real Sámi bread, but I know another traditional food that has been made into an industrialized product, the Carelian pastries (from Eastern Finland), "Karjalan piirakka" in Finnish, neither look nor taste the same as the real home-made ones.

  9. Many Trails Home11/07/2005 04:31:00 PM

    I developed a huge fondness for Karjalan piiraka on my one trip to Finland years ago, and found a Finnish recipe book in a Portland, Oregon bookstore that had the recipe. I made it once only: took forever, shaping those things, and I finally threw out the last half of the rye dough, but they tasted wonderful. My brother (who lived in Finland for a year) loved them. MTH

  10. LLLreader sez: I have had piiraka at the train station in Helsinki on my three trips to Finland--it was so great!! With Christmas coming it's time to get out the Finnish cookbooks. We always have rice pudding on Christmas Eve with one almond in it--the one who finds it has good luck the next year. And then there is the fruit soup!!!! Knocks my socks off!!!

  11. In my family, the almond has different meanings depending on the person who gets it. If a child, (s)he will be the first one to open a Christmas present, if a married woman, she will have a baby, if an unmarried adult, (s)he will get married. When I was a kid, my father's elderly unmarried aunts used to have a lot of fun teasing each other whenever they got the almond... ;)

  12. Recipe for the piirakkas is here. It does take several hours to do but is definitely worth it.

  13. I did once have a great karjalanpiirakka and a couple of nice pulla's at Turku. I hope You all could share these my deepest feelings!

    I love this orientation in tradition. Let's share our best Karjalanpiirakka and pulla recipies. There is the truth in the Pulla! Eat pulla's, you'll find It!

    By the way; what is "pullamössösukupolvi" in english?

    Huckleberry F.

  14. I'm afraid "pullamössösukupolvi" doesn't translate. It's a word that is used about the generation that was born after the post-war depression and never experienced anything else than economic affluence, typically used by bitter older people when referring to the ungrateful younger generations who wouldn't have any chance surviving if thrown into the ordeals the older ones had to go through.

    However, I don't consider the word optimal to be used about the ones who were born in the 70s or later because the pulla, and absolutely not the weird, even appalling, mixture of warm milk and pulla (="pullamössö"), is not the symbol of ultimate luxury for them (=my generation). So, someone should invent a better term.

  15. I can't post on the first site
    so will post here.

    The flu threat is a classic
    "Catch-22" situation.

    The vaccine can not prepared
    until the virus mutates and in-
    fects people and then may take
    months or years to develop with
    some deaths likely.
    Be prepared as suggested but is
    completely out of our control
    in the preseht,

    In fact it shows us that each day
    is a blessing to celebrate and
    enjoy !

    With that in mind lets get back
    to things we enjoy such as dis-
    cussions on this blog.


    I am not saying that your love
    of family is not real to you.

    All I am saying is you can't
    prove it to me. It is your per-
    sonal reality not mine.

    It is the same way with all re-
    ligions ;Christian, Jewish,
    Muslim,Indian, Chinese with all
    the endless subdivisions.

    The following yous are generic.

    You can't prove anything to me
    by quoting any Sacred book in-
    cluding the Bible.
    Pick and choose all the support-
    ing verses you want, it is still
    a leap-of-faith.

    Reason can only take you so far,
    then a leap which is based soley
    on faith is made which you cannot

    Some of the leaps-of-faith get so
    ridiculous and barbaric that for
    example some extreme Muslims
    believe blowing up fellow Muslim
    children will get them to heaven
    with 76 virgins.
    What do the women get ?

    On a smaller personal scale but
    also destructive are arguments,
    shunnings, family splits, nervous
    breakdowns, brain-washed fears,
    etc, all totally unnessary for
    something that can't be proven !

    Will we ever grow up?

    If your faith is helping you cope
    in this crazy world stick with
    But does that prevent you from
    recognizing the vitality of other
    beliefs all of which are based on
    faith which cannot be proved ?



  16. Troll, you are spot on. I have no argument with you, except to say that evolving standards of humanity will conflict with religious dogma,e.g., we no longer tolerate spousal abuse as a husband's prerogative, we do not allow immigrants to practice genital mutilation, and in most parts of the country, science curricula still include evolution.

    Huckleberry, here's the fast pulla recipe I used for my son's project. The results were not ideal (the texture is just not the same with a bread machine), but that didn't stop anyone from eating it.

    Bread Machine Pulla
    1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
    3/4 cup milk
    3 tablespoons butter
    4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
    3 cups bread flour
    1 tablespoon yeast
    1 egg white beaten with 2 teaspoons water
    1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
    Place all dough ingredients in bread machine pan in order according to manufacturer. Choose dough setting. When dough is ready, take out and punch down.
    Cut into 3 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a rope about 20-inches long. On a greased baking sheet, braid the ropes, tucking ends under. Cover and set in warm place to rise until doubled.
    Brush dough with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.
    Bake at 375*F (190*C) for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.

  17. I didn't know you could make pulla in a bread machine, handy...

    By the way, you can make pulla also without eggs, milk and butter. Good for vegetarians, allergics and also during the fasts (the nativity fast just started a few hours ago). Actually I think eggs are quite uncommon in pulla, but I think most people use milk. My mother usually makes it without milk though, there's practically no difference in the taste if you replace the milk by water.

  18. Every time I try to post on the
    site I want my computer freezes
    up. Any one else have this
    problem ?

    Before I heave it in the trash I
    will try here and hope it doesn't
    get lost in the " pulla ".

    Additional comments on my last
    post under "Open Thread"-Global

    With the above statistics, the
    world population at 6.2 billion
    and growing exponentially,natural
    resources diminishing rapidly,
    any religion that preach against
    birth control has its head in the
    sand !

    In fact I would consider such an
    act immoral considering such a
    Global Fact that "Every 10
    seconds, 3 children die from
    preventable causes" until we
    solve such problems.

    Throw in the Aid Epidemic in
    Africa because of non-condom
    use (Catholic Church says use
    self-control instead ) and.
    you have religions exacerbating
    the problem rather than solving

    P.S. The argument has been made
    to me that the rich U.S, can
    absorb population growth with no
    My retort is that the U.S.
    is the greatest consumer of
    rapidly dwindling natural
    resources per capita in the

  19. Hello, Troll,

    I totally agree with your comments regarding the US as major consumer of resources (while we espouse the need for others to "share" with us and care not a whit for conservation). And here you came through Michigan Tech, no? How did you happen to become so informed and enlightened, as opposed to following the Party Line, business-wise? I'm curious. I attended Michigan Tech for two years, but it's been awhile. Maybe things have changed....

  20. sisu;

    To answer anon above and you,
    yes I am a grad of Tech.

    Tech has certainly changed.
    They now have a Michigan Tech
    Masters International Program
    in Civil & Environmental
    Engineering which combines
    a graduate degree in civil or
    environmental engineering with
    2+ years of training and
    engineering service with the
    U.S. Peace Corps.

    The program is the only one in
    the U.S. and has attracted
    students from all over the

    These young people are showing
    their boomer parents that there
    is more to life than the bottom

    This program will address many of
    Global Facts mentioned previously