...or not, as it turns out. Finnish fare is actually fairly simple, possibly even plain, depending on your point of view.
"Even more delicious than it looks."
Let's talk about moose-the-animal for a moment before we look into moose-the-food. Moose are apparently incredible plentiful here in Finland, to the point where they're more of a pest than a novelty. They're such dangerous nuisances on the road, that the reflectors along the sides of the roads are actually referred to as “moose mirrors”. There's even a moose hunting season!
As a result, it's hardly surprising that someone, somewhere in the past found a way to turn all that meat into food. And good thing too—it makes for an excellent stew! Part of the Christmas dinner cooked by Kaisa's mother, Airi, it was cooked with pork. Moose-and-pork(or moose-and-chicken) stew is apparently a very traditional dish, and I can certainly see why. The moose itself is sort of tough and savory, and the pork or chicken works well to balance it out.
"Pure, expansive deliciousness."
Christmas (Eve) breakfast. A hot, goopy concoction served with butter and cinnamon sugar. Delicious and unbelievably filling I was served about two ladles full, and was barely able to eat about two thirds of it. Afterward? I felt my belly and I had a gut. I had to unbutton the top button of my jeans! Me! Hearty, filling and a little ridiculous. Just the thing after a long morning of moose-hunting in minus two degrees.
"Kinda funny shaped, huh?"
Rye bread cut into ovals and filled with rice porridge, or possibly carrots. Then the edges are folded up and rippled, and the entire concoction is baked. I'm not personally a fan, but I also haven't had one fresh from the oven. I imagine it'd make a great snack on a cold winter day. Really, I could probably say that about most things I mention in this post. When your entire country is shrouded in snow and darkness for a quarter of a year, it's no surprise that you'd come up with warm, hearty food.
A whole bunch of other stuff
A major Finnish staple appear to consist mostly of hard, dry bread—er, I mean rye bread—covered with butter or cream cheese and garnished with some sort of lunch meat and/or sausage. This sort of meal appears to stand in for breakfast, a quick lunch, a snack, and sometimes even dinner in a pinch, if you throw in some fruit or vegetables.
"A glass of this will put you right to sleep."
A very popular Christmas drink, glögi, is a form of mulled wine. It's prepared with either fruits or red wine, and then has added Christmasy spices. At a guess, I'd say cinnamon or something similar, but I'm no culinary expert. It's usually served with raisins and gingerbread cookies. It is, like many other things on this list, served hot. It's also very delicious.
And that's just the beginning. I've encountered a whole lot more, but I need to leave myself some material for later, so I'll have to come back to this another time.
Now, I imagine that most of you guys have been reading for a little while now, and probably have some kind of questions. So if you've got something you'd like to know or want me to make a post about, go ahead and leave a comment and I'll address it in the next post. I'll disable moderation for this post, so everybody should be able to leave a comment without any hassle.