Finnish Culture


Personally, I’ve only touched it once, and found nothing in it worth repeating. 🙂

Christmas food – not for the faint of heart

Every country where Christmas is celebrated brings its own local flavours to the holiday table and Finland is no different. From steaming carbohydrate-packed casseroles featuring swede, potato or carrots, to the festive-looking salad rossoli, Finnish holiday fare can be a treat. But Finns and their Nordic neighbours serve up a unique fish dish that takes the cake when it comes to novelty – and just plain Finnish “sisu” – or internal fortitude. Dubbed lipeäkala (lutefisk in Swedish) the dish is made from aged stockfish or whitefish soaked in lye, better known as sodium hydroxide or caustic soda.

Put aside for a moment the fact that caustic soda is highly corrosive and used as drain cleaner or in industrial processes for the manufacture of paper and paper as well as textiles.  Finns make the lye-soaked fish edible by soaking it in cold water for four to six days before preparing it for the table. Maverick chefs looking to take on this kitchen challenge are advised to carefully follow prescribed cooking instructions. And whatever you do, don’t break out the silver cutlery, which will be ruined by coming into contact with the fish – stick to the cheap and replaceable stainless steel stuff.


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