Posts Tagged With: Finland

Fun Festivals – Swamp Soccer World Cup

Love soccer? Lover a shorter game? Love mud?  Head on over to Finland and Scotland.* The last Swamp Soccer World Championship (SCWC)  I could find took place in Finland. It might have even been held in Hyrynsalmi, Finland  At any rate, the SCWC is usually held in Finland in the middle of June (Sorry, you missed it this year.) 200-to-300 teams from all over the world compete. The SCWC which has been organized by the so-called Swamp Barno Jyrki Väänänen** since 1998. There are five different ways to compete: men’s, women’s, mixed, men’s hobby, and Masters of Swamp.

The Soccer World Cup is usually held in Scotland on the last weekend of June, just after the World Championship in Finland.. There are rumors of it being held in China, India. and Turkey.

Six players are on each side. Each half lasts for 12 minutes. There are no offside penalties. This is fantastic for all those who never understood the rule in the first place. Other little rules abound. As of about 2018, no Polish team had ever competed.

For my Italian readers, these four sentences translate as Ami il calcio? Ami un gioco più breve? Ami il fango? Dirigiti verso Finlandia e Scozia.

For my English speaking readers, this translates as Swamp Baron Jyrki Väänänen who got the whole thing started. Yay Jyrki!

Swamp soccer arose from the practice of Finnish cross-country skiers to train in swamps.

Mud soccer is lots of fun. Be sure to register for the next Swamp Soccer madness, whether in Finland, Scotland, or whenever. Let me know how it turns out.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

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Fun Festivals – Cell Phone Tossing

Anja Heino practices tossing cell phones

Be sure to make your way to Savonlinna, Finland during mid August* for its prestigious Cell Phone Throwing Championship. The traditional part has participants throwing the cell phones over their shoulders. The longest toss wins. Cranky folks, such as myself, who have never quite adjusted to the new technology and hurl one phone after another, are usually the tournament favorites.  However, in 2012. it was a well-adjusted man named Eric Karjalainon won. He said he prepared for this event mostly by drinking.

Artistic types will be drawn to the freestyle cell-phone tossing part of the championship. Participants are judged by their creativity. Contestants have been known to do acrobatics or juggling while throwing their cell phones.

Cell-phone-throwing mania is going global, having caught in the rest of Europe and in the United States. This would be one Olympic event I’d watch. Contact the proper agency for rules of competition. As of press time, Nokia is still not an official sponsor.

* = August is almost upon us. Make you travel arrangements right away!

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., travel guru

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Fun Festivals: Mosquito Swatting Championships

Be sure to visit Pelkosenniemi, Finland for its annual Mosquito Swatting Championship. It is a much beloved, local event. Contestants try to swat the most mosquitoes in 5 minutes. I don’t know when the event takes place, but I imagine it is in the mosquito season. Visitors who attract mosquitoes like flies, hee hee, will be asked to sit in the back rows as the mosquitoes biting them diminish the number of mosquitoes available to the contestants. The record for squashed mosquitos in Pelkosenniemi is 21.

The Swedish town of Övertorneå holds its own mosquito-swatting championship every June. The event started when the town was denied permission to use chemicals to kill the little, flying biters. So the good Swedes made a festival about killing the pests. Contestants here get 15 minutes to kill mosquitos. The record for this town is 135. Tips for getting a high kill count include: working up a good sweat just before competing, standing as still as possible, moving as little as you can when swatting a mosquito, and wearing dark clothes.

Would-be entrants should know that the Swedish record holder guessed mosquitos bit him about 200 times.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., travel guru

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Great Arctic Eats – Utsjoki, Finland

 

Great Arctic Eats – Utsjoki, Finland

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Are you a diner who shuns crowds, but loves saunas* and watching reindeer ? Do you love words with “aa” in them, such as “kalastaa,” the Finnish word for “fish?” Indeed, do you love Finland but feel uncomfortable with large crowds of Finns who often congregate in the country’s large cities? Do you wish to dine above the Arctic Circle? Well make your way to Utsjoki, Finland, the little town that has it all.
* “Sauna” is “sauna” in Finnish. See? You’re speaking like a native already.
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There are five restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your patronage will be fierce indeed. Let’s  visit the local eateries.
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The top rated dining establishment is the esteemed Restaurant Deatnu. They serve traditional Sámi dishes. Yes, they do wonders with reindeer, local berries, and fresh fish. The restaurant has a nice view and a friendly staff. But please, please try the salmon soup.

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Next on our restaurant adventure is Restaurant Aurora Holidays. They serve great local food. Try their delicious reindeer and cod. For dessert, you would do well to order their great sticky cakes. The restaurant looks out on a soothing river. Maybe you’ll even see some wildlife. This pleasant restaurant is run by the family who owns it.
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Winning third place is  Utsjoen Kylatalo Gilsa. It’s known for its hot drinks. Not only is it a charming cafeteria will the flavor of local culture, it also has a grocery store. It’s your one-stop place for food. And remember, you’ll love their buns.

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All self-respecting towns will have a great hamburger joint. Annukan Grill fits this bill nicely. And oh my gosh, oh my gosh, they have a reindeer burger. I want to go there!
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Honorable mention goes to Restaurant Pub Rastigaisa. It serves pizza and has a bar. This restaurant received many reviews written in Finnish, so you know the locals frequent it.
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Utsjoki, unlike many of the other towns reviewed in Great Arctic Eats has a road going in and out of it. It can even boast of a spectacular bridge going into Norway. So you’ll be able motor into town. No dog sleds and hiking needed to get to Utsjoki. Well, I suppose you could charter a plane from Helsinki, but if you want to travel by yourself and see soothing scenery, travelling the last leg of your trip by car really is the way to go. Anyway, there are many must-see sites in Utsjoki.

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Be sure to visit Kevo Strict Nature Reserve.  This place boasts of extremely beautiful hiking routes. You’ll find you self losing track of time while viewing the entrancing scenery. So, be sure to bring a watch with an alarm on it, as the park gets dark at night.

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By all means, see the enchanting church huts. They’re beautiful in their simplicity. All in all, it’s wonderful way to learn Finnish history while staying outdoors. None of that entering the bowels of a stuffy museum for us. The site sports a splendid, little craft shop and a waffle cafeteria. What more could want?

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Drive over the nearby Sàmi Bridge. It’s boasts an elegant, yet impressive dressing. It’s perched over a river dividing Finland from Norway. The bridge and its surrounding are especially beautiful in the twilight. Plus, it doesn’t take much time to take it all in. Just drive your car over the bridge. If you want a quick bit of beauty, this bridge is for you.

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Try to see the beautiful Utsjoen Kirkko. This is the northernmost church in the European Union. So there. The church’s architecture is both pleasant and impressive. Go inside and spend some soul-soothing time with God.

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If you prefer guided tours rather than thrashing about by yourself, look up Aurora Holidays or Tundrasafari Finland. And at the end of a glorious visit, simply unwind at Utsjoki DiscGolfPark.

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As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

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– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Åland Semolina Pancake with Prune Sauce

Finnish Breakfast

ÅLAND SEMOLINA PANCAKE WITH PRUNE SAUCE

INGREDIENTS – PANCAKEAlandSemolina-

2¾ cups milk
¾ cup semolina or Cream of WheatTM
½ tablespoon cardamom
4 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 cup flour
no-stick spray.

INGREDIENTS – PRUNE SAUCE

12 pitted prunes
3⅔ cups water (½ cup more later)
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour
⅓ cup water

whipped cream (optional or is it?)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

9″ x 12″ baking dish

Serves 8

PREPARATION – PANCAKE

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking dish with no-stick spray.

Add milk to pot. Simmer milk on low heat until milk warms. Stir frequently. Gradually add in semolina. Stir constantly to prevent lumps. Remove semolina porridge from heat.

Add cardamom, eggs, salt, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until foamy. (Scare away unwanted visitors by smearing this mixture on your mouth before you open the front door.) Add flour and semolina porridge to mixing bowl. Stir with whisk until batter is well blended.

Pour batter into baking dish. Put baking dish in oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-to-6o minutes or until pancake is firm and golden brown.

PREPARATION – PRUNE SAUCE

While pancake bakes, dice prunes. Add prunes and 3⅔ cups water to pot. Soak for 40 minutes. Add cinnamon stick. Boil to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for xx minutes or until prunes soften. Add sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Add corn flour and ⅓ cup water to small bowl, . Mix with whisk until well blended. Add corn flour/water mix to pot. Bring prune sauce to boil using high heat. Stir constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until prune sauce thickens. Remove cinnamon stick. Pour into serving tray.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Cut pancake into 8 squares. Top pancakes square with prune sauce and whipped cream, if necessary. (Oh, of course it is.)

TIDBITS

1) The penalty for speeding in Finland varies with income. An American CEO might be fined over a million dollars. Tough country on scofflaws, you bet.

2) If you lose your shirt to Finland’s highway patrol, why not indulge your self with a Sauna? Be advised, social norms require you to be naked in the sauna. But you’re already half disrobed, having forfeited your shirt in tidbit 1).

3) It’s also quite acceptable for a bunch of friends to go to sauna together. Where everyone is naked. Good friends indeed.

4) Finland must not have many introverts.

5) It’s considered normal to leave the sauna, run outside, and jump in the nearest lake.

6) Although if its winter, it’s advisable to cut a hole in the lake before jumping.

7) Finns must have strong hearts.

8) What do Finns do if the nearest lake is twenty-six miles away and it’s freezing outside?

9) Run fast! It’s quite possible that Finland has the greatest number of saunas that are exactly twenty-six miles, the distance of a marathon, away of any nation in the world. This explains why Finland routinely garners the gold, silver, and bronze medals at every Nude Winter Marathon event.

10) Ancient Greeks invented the marathon. Or did they? Current speculation has Greece being invaded and settled by Finns around 1,700 B.C.. Finding ancient spas in Greece would go along way to proving this theory to the scientific community.

11) Some people point to the modern nude marathoners of Finland and the naked ancient Greek athletes as evidence of a vast Graeco-Finn empire around 1,450 B.C.. Why is there no evidence of this enormous realm? The au naturel Finns and Greeks, of course, wore no shirts. No shirts, no shirt pockets. No shirt pockets, no pens. No pens, no written history, and Bob’s your uncle.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finnish Dilled Beef Stew

Finnish Entree

DILLED BEEF STEW
(Tilliliha)

INGREDIENTSDilledBeef-

3 pounds boneless chuck roast
1 onion
3 tablespoons butter
3 ½ cups beef broth
1 teaspoon allspice
½ tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
2 ½ teaspoons sugar
2 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ cup cream
4 teaspoons dill

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Dutch oven

Serves 6 (How big are your bowls?) Takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut chuck roast into 1″ cubes. Mince onion. Put roast and butter into Dutch oven. Sauté for 5-to-10 minutes on medium-high heat or until chuck-roast cubes turn brown. Stir occasionally. Add beef broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Add onion, allspice, pepper, bay leaf, and salt. Cover and simmer on low heat for 90 minutes. Skim off foam as it occurs. Remove meat from Dutch oven and set aside.

Add flour, sugar, and red wine vinegar to broth and increase heat to medium. Stir continually until sauce thickens. Add cream and dill. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) Ronkainen, a legendary Finnish robber of the 1700s, had would-be gang members carry a heavy woman over an obstacle course to prove their strength. The annual wife-carrying championships in Sonkajaarvi, Finland derive from this test. Wife carrying is not an Olympic sport. However, synchronized swimming is.

2) Finns excel at non-traditional sports as well. Be sure to make your way to Savonlinna, Finland during August for its prestigious Cell Phone Throwing Championship. Participants throw the cell phones over their shoulders and are judged by distance and techniques. Cell-phone-throwing mania is going global having caught in the rest of Europe and in the United States. This would be one Olympic event I would watch. Contact the proper agency for rules of competition. Despite the obvious tie in, I don’t believe Nokia is an official sponsor.

3) Air guitar enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Air Guitar season. Prestigious events are held in Germany along with Japan’s own elimination tournament. However, the crème de la crème of air guitardom is the World Final, held in Oulu, Finland in late August. Don’t forget to pack your air guitar or you’ll be forced to buy one at the local Ouluan shops and you’ll know what high prices you’ll see there.

4) The Mosquito Swatting Championship is held each year in Finland. Contestants try to swat the most mosquitoes in 5 minutes. Over thirty is a good number. I don’t know when the event takes place, but I imagine it is in the mosquito season. Visitors who attract mosquitoes like flies, hee hee, will be asked to sit in the back rows as the mosquitoes biting them diminish the number of mosquitoes available to the contestants.

5) Finland hosts the Ant Nest Sitting Competition. Athletes–whom am I kidding?–sit on an ant hill for as long as they can stand the ant bites. Okay, this one is weird.

6) Relax while competing! Enter the Finnish Sauna World Championship Simply stay the longest inside Finnish sauna in a temperature 110 degrees centigrade, 240 degrees fahrenheit. Held in August in Heinola, Finland, this contest makes a natural companion to tourists taking in the Air Guitar final.

7) Love soccer? Love mud? Head on over to Hyrynsalmi., Finland where over 200 teams from all over the world vie to win the Swamp Soccer World Cup. It’s held during Finland’s mud season.

8) If the idea of bodies writhing in mud gets you hot and bothered, be sure to take in the Kutemajarvi Sex Festival and Matchmaking Festival held in the towns Kangasniemi and Kurikka, Finland. If you are interested, please visit the Rakkausfestivalli’s website where a knowledge of the Finnish language helps a lot.

9) Speaking of speaking Finnish, consider attending the Finnish Dialect Speaking Championship held in early July in Kuopio, Finland. Past winners have usually demonstrated a strong command of this Nordic language.

10) Can’t speak Finnish, but still love to make yourself heard? Alaptika, Finland, puts on the renowned Cattle Calling Championship. Techniques of the champions are closely guarded secrets.

11) Lost at the Cattle Calling Championship? Want to take out your frustration from months of wasted practice? Redeem yourself by entering Milk Stool Throwing contests held all over rural Finland in early summer.

12) But above all else behave yourself while visiting Finland. Finnish prisoners are only allowed to use the sauna once a week. Scared straight, you bet.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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