Some of my world-traveling friends are returning home within a few days.
Mary Anne is coming home this weekend after a month in Finland. When she was in high school, Mary Anne served as an exchange student in that country, and has kept in touch with her exchange family and “sisters” through the past four decades. She shared a few pictures of castles and weather in a message earlier this week and did admit that she’s ready to come home. I can’t wait to hear stories about Santa Claus (Finland is locally regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern Lapland region) and taste the coffee she might bring home (Finland is the world’s top per capita consumer of coffee).
Mary Anne loves to cook and I hope she’s come with a few authentic recipes. Finnish cuisine is notable for generally combining traditional country fare and haute cuisine with contemporary style cooking. Fish and meat play a prominent role in traditional Finnish dishes from the western part of the country, while the dishes from the eastern part have traditionally included various vegetables and mushrooms. Finnish foods often use wholemeal products (rye, barley, oats) and berries (such as bilberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and sea buckthorn). Milk and its derivatives like buttermilk are commonly used as food, drink, or in various recipes. Various turnips were common in traditional cooking, but were replaced with the potato after its introduction in the 18th century.
Mary Anne will host book club in a few months and maybe she’ll prepare a meal with sea buckthorn, vegetables, mushrooms and some red meat. According to the statistics, red meat consumption has risen, but still Finns eat less beef than many other nations, and more fish and poultry. This is mainly because of the high cost of meat in Finland.
Travel. Your money will return. Your time won’t.
Marcy and Mark are returning from an eight-city/twelve-day whirlwind vacation starting at Niagara Falls and ending in Boston. She attended a gay Chinese/Jewish wedding with long-not-seen cousins on her dad’s side, visited with a sister- and brother-in-law on the Cape, and stayed with a stepsister in Boston. I don’t have any details yet, but I’m sure the amount of delicious food eaten during their twelve days will be quite impressive.