You might wonder why whenever I’ve been back home I return with a couple of extra kilos. This is why: Black currant, mint and chocolate cake. I ordered this from the bakery for my 25th birthday. Five years later the taste was equally divine. Risotto with forest mushrooms and roasted beetroot. And goat cheese salad, one of my absolute favorite dishes in the world. The crown jewel of Carelia: Riisipyörö with eggs and butter. Boiling some new potatoes on a warm afternoon by the lake. A clod of butter and some Karelian pasty to go. Warm Finnish squeaky cheese served with cloudberry jam. Vegetarian cabbage rolls with smoked root vegetables and lingonberry jam. Followed by some Sisu ice cream for sugar and stamina. Home made vegetarian carpaccio with a Mediterranean breeze. Every Thursday the whole city gathers at the market place for some pancakes. Strawberry cake at a summer party. And of course some bubbles!
When we decided to visit my other grandma, she said she was chopping some wood but could make us a cup of coffee since she needed a break too. This woman is just amazing: pushing 80 she takes care of her house, her flowers, her impressive 150 m2 vegetable garden, her apple trees, her many black- and red currant bushes (not to mention making juice and jam of the apples and berries and lifting the potatoes), goes berry picking and mushroom picking, weaves carpets, makes long bicycle rides every morning, bakes cakes, cookies, pies and bread, and yes chops her own wood. This is just to mention a few of her regular activities. I cannot help but wonder that I’m fifty years younger and why does it feel like I cannot get anything done? I tried my best to watch and learn.
A day at my childhood summer cottage. As the shadows were getting longer and the fire was fading out I had to leave and I knew that the city was awaiting to swallow me into it’s wide open mouth. I wished that time would have stopped right then and there, when I was sitting in the rocking chair after the sauna watching out from the window to the small familiar lake.
I always thought this was a magical place. My mother tells me stories of her life as a farmers’ daughter: skiing to school in the winter, eating piles of home made pancakes with her six siblings, her mother’s flower dresses, how she was lying on the green grass wondering to what distant worlds the passing airplane was taking it’s passengers, picking berries, helping out her parents with the farm work. I also have memories of my own from this place. Summer days spent with my grandparents and my many cousins. Drinking home made juice in the garden, naming the new born calf of a cow, the old smoke sauna in the middle of the field, grandma weaving carpets in the attic, grandpa driving his tractor somewhere in the fields, the smell of fresh rye bread and the warmth of the oven. Playing hide and seek, dressing up in old clothing, eating wild strawberries, playing in the hundred year old playhouse. If I could be a child again just for one day I think I would spend …