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Epari newspaper – June 1st, 2016
Traditional Flavors Out to the World
Americans enjoy the southern Ostrobothnian food culture.
Last summer Kristina Vänni from United States tasted Finnish Slice Cookies for the first time in Lehtimäenkylä and decided that she had to figure out the recipe: she thought that other people should have a chance to taste them as well. “It’s the best cookie in the whole world,” Vänni claims.
Vänni’s family originates from southern Ostrobothnia from her father’s side of the family, and she has visited South Ostrobothnia several times. Vänni is a passionate cook who develops recipes for different companies and she’s always been fascinated by Finnish food culture. ‘Traditional homemade food is so good here.”
One Finnish treat is the blueberry pie. Anytime she visited relatives, she noticed that it was served at every home, so she decided to make it for her almost 95-year-old American grandmother. “She liked it a lot, so I thought that other Americans would surely love Finnish food as well.”
Inspired by her experiences, Vänni decided to put together a book with recipes and photos of the southern Ostrobothnian foods. The book is the reason for her visit to Finland this time.
“This part of the country will be the main part of the book, because my relatives live here and I’ve spent a lot of time here. The area is also an essential piece in the Finnish food culture,” Vänni emphasizes.
The book’s recipes will feature seasonal ingredients. “I baked a rhubarb pie with my relatives. The ingredients are really good here in Finland. When I buy rhubarb in my hometown, New York City, it doesn’t taste nearly as good as here when you pick it up from your own garden,” says Vänni.
In New York, Vänni belongs to a Finnish yoga group, whose members get to test her Finnish cooking. “When I was making Sima, I thought that the recipe had a lot of sugar in it. I also made another batch which contained less sugar, but the members of my yoga group didn’t like it at all! They preferred the original recipe, so I learned not to make any more changes to the original recipes,” she laughs.
Getting to know the local life
It is possible to get your hands on the ingredients that are used in traditional foods even in United States. “There are many farmer’s markets in New York, and they have huge selections of everything. The dark syrup used in Finnish Slice Cookies is something I can’t find in a grocery store, but it can be ordered online.”
During her project, Vänni will get acquainted with southern Ostrobothnian lifestyle as well. She posts about her experiences and the book’s progress in Homefarm Life’s social media channels. “For example, I’ve been to a cow shed and learned how an organic farm operates here. It is interesting, because there aren’t so many of them in the US.”
Vänni is excited about southern Ostrobothnian food and believes that other Americans will be as well. “Be proud of your local food culture. You have food traditions that go way back and it’s worth telling about.”
Text on the photo: American Kristina Vänni familiarizes herself with southern Ostrobothnian food traditions and is going to publish a book about it.
Ruokaprovinssi Facebook – May 24th, 2016
Ruokaprovinssi is a community organization in Seinajoki, Finland to promote local food producers and the awareness and use of local food of the South Ostrobothnia region.
Chef and food writer Kristina Vänni from New York visits the food province with her photographer and videographer. She is writing a cookbook focused on the food of South Ostrobothnia. There will be more visits to South Ostrobothnia in the near future. The group was hosted by Asta from the Rural Women’s Advisory Center and Suvi from Into Seinäjoki. You can follow the project through the Homefarm Life Facebook page.