About the name or What this blog is not.
Kotiruoka literally translates as Homefood which more accurately means home cooking or food prepared at home in the traditional manner. It’s also the name of a classic Finnish cookbook first published in 1908 which has been updated and reprinted regularly since then. The 100th anniversary edition was published in 2008 and the 19th edition was printed again in 2013. Certainly a good example of Finnish sisu [persistence] for a cookbook of simple food from a unremarkable cuisine. I have the 1983 edition and, by all accounts, it is mostly unchanged from the original and subsequent pressings.
This blog is not about the book.
While I was pleasantly surprised to snag the name, I am adding in a punctuational middle dot to the word to differentiate it from the cookbook and expand its meaning. So while taking a bit of liberty [jokamiehenoikeutta] in using the name, I’m trying to not trespass on the rights and ownership of Otava, the publisher of the Kotiruoka cookbook.
So first, Koti is Home. This is not a lifestyle blog (whatever that is) so there aren’t carefully curated vignettes of Scandinavian scenes and airy white kitchens. Home is where I live and how I live but also where I’m from and who I am culturally. Even though I’ve lived away more than I’ve lived in Finland, I’m still very Finnish right down to my citizenship. I find this is often the case among the Finns that I have met in various places around the globe. Why is that? I have some ideas and it’s something that I’m going to explore in these pages.
Secondly, Ruoka is Food. Since I cook and bake as a hobby and professionally, food is a big part of my daily life. Food is also an important aspect of cultural identity for Finns and for everyone everywhere. Finnish food has been maligned privately and publicly, but Nordic cuisine is having a bit of a heydey currently and Redzepi, Samuelsson and a passel of Norwegians are out in front with their fancy dishes. Finnish food, however, has always been about nose-to-tail and fresh local ingredients prepared simply. Foraging for berries and mushrooms is commonly done by most everyone, but regardless of what Nilsson might be doing in Sweden, we don’t regularly nosh on bark.
Mostly, this is a writing exercise for my benefit and hopefully your entertainment. Being able to focus on something besides work (an actual real life hobby!) is my goal. If it becomes too stressful or I don’t have time to write (Easter, summer), I probably won’t. I’m hoping to be able to carve out the time to do it though. I’ve been kicking the idea around in my head for over a year. It’s time.
Let’s find out what it means to be Finnish!
P.S. In case you were wondering, there is a great blog called Isoäidin reseptillä based on the 1909 edition of Kotiruoka. It’s in Finnish, but with the power of Google Translate, that shouldn’t stop anyone.