Pretty soon after the last meeting, our little group met again yesterday at Chiara’s place. After baking something Finnish on Sunday, this time we had a German evening and made German “Kässpätzle”.
As always, we talked about various topics throughout the evening while we cooked. We talked about food, Easter, the peculiarities of the Southern German language, colour blindness and much more. I learned that there are different Easter traditions in Finland. Like in Germany, gifts are sometimes hidden by the Easter Bunny (pääsiäispupu in Finnish), but in other parts of the country there is also the tradition of making a bonfire, including at Jasmin’s house. The food was very tasty and I was happy to eat something typical for my home country again after almost three months here. After the meal, we played a German game so that Jasmin could put her German skills into practice. In this game, we had to play Rock-Paper-Scissors repeatedly. Jasmin taught us that this game is called the same way in Finnish as it is in English, i.e. “Kivi, paperi ja sakset”, and we practised saying the Finnish version of it.
All in all, however, we talked more about the German language than the Finnish language this evening and showed Jasmin, for example, that there is a word in southern Germany for a meal that consists of bread. Where I come from, it’s called “Vesper”, whereas Chiara calls it “Brotzeit”. The evening was really nice and the three hours flew by. Since Chiara and Jasmin will be out of town for a while, we’ll meet online again next time and listen to the Finnish and German songs we had planned once before. I’m really looking forward to it!
Yesterday’s meeting was dedicated to something that gathers everyone : food.
The idea was to agree on a recipe that we could do while talking about food habits and culture. We picked crepes for the first session, which is probably the most international French dish. Since we are on zoom, we all took time to get the ingredients beforehand and we called while preparing the batter.
It was a lot of fun to try to explain in a different language a recipe by video call. It lead to several misunderstandings and laughs but I believe in the end we all had good crepes.
Holding these meetings online is sometimes not easy, but making the same food at the same time was a good solution to feel more “connected”. I am eager to try a Spanish recipe during another food session, as I discovered a lot about tortillas, tapas, magdalenas,…
Good work to my Spanish Chefs !
On Saturday we finally had our French – German Cooking Session. As Léonie is, unfortunately, currently not in Finland we could not cook all together in real. But at least Tim and me, who are both in Tampere, met and did the Recette Tartiflette. We met at the supermarket, to get all the ingredients needed (potatoes, onions, crème fraîche, cheese). While grocery shopping we had to struggle with some difficulties, because the recipe requires a very special, French cheese – the Reblochon cheese. Unfortunately, we could not find it here in Finland. After extensive Google research, we decided to use Brie as an alternative. Back at my apartment we got straight to cooking as we were already hungry. For the recipe you first had to cut the potatoes into slices, dice the onion and fry both with salt and pepper for a quarter of an hour. Actually, bacon is added, but we omitted it because we wanted to keep the recipe vegetarian. Then the potato and onion mixture was put into a baking dish, alternating with crème fraîche and the cheese. Finally, it had to bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Even though Léonie says it looks half as tasty with Brie as with Reblochon cheese, we really enjoyed the Recette Tartiflette. It is quite similar to the traditionale potato gratin (Kartoffelgratin) known in Germany and very substantial, which is why we just managed half of it. Since the recipe is very easy to prepare, we definitely want to try it again with the Reblochon cheese when we are back in Germany.
Our Finnish – German group had its fourth meeting yesterday after a two week break – and finally we did what I have been waiting for for so long: we baked Korvapuusti, in German “Zimtschnecken”!
We met at Chiara’s house and spent two hours baking together. Even though we faced a few challenges, for example because we didn’t have scales, the dough turned out very well in the end and the cinnamon buns were delicious! While baking, we talked about all sorts of topics and discovered various idiosyncrasies, especially of the German language, such as the fact that the German word for whisk is “schnee besen”. We also discovered that the German dough for cinnamon buns is not that different from the Finnish dough, but that there is a big difference in the baking technique, because in Germany they are baked with the cut surface facing upwards, whereas in Finland they are baked with the cut surface facing sideways.
I enjoyed the baking so much because my goal was to get to know Finnish food and I now know the ingredients for the korvapuusti in Finnish. I will definitely keep the recipe for home and bake it there.
If you would like to bake these delicacies, here is the German/Finnish recipe.
Taikina / Teig
- 5dl maito / Milch
- 1 muna / Ei
- 2dl sokeri / Zucker
- 1 rkl kardemumma / EL Kardamon
- 1tl suda / Salz
- 2 ps kuivahiiva / Päckchen Hefe
- 13 – 15 dl vehnäjauho / Mehl
- 150 g voi / Butter
Täyte / Füllung
- 100g voi / Butter
- 1dl sokeri / Zucker
- 1dl kaneli / Zimt
Instead of listening to Finnish & German music, we decided to try baking cinnamon rolls today. It was really funny to show the girls how we bake them in Finland, and we also found a lot of similarities in the baking style in Finland & in Germany. One difference we found were the use of scales. In Finland the measures are usually in decilitres, whereas in Germany (and many other coutries) they are more often in grams. Additionally, I learned how you can test whether the egg is spoilt or not (you put it into water and if it floats, it’s no longer usable. The gas that forms inside the egg when it spoils makes it float). Really cool!
When the dough was rising, we decided to write down all the ingredients in Finnish and in German. I knew most of the words but didn’t remember them because I don’t get to use them a lot, so it was good practice. The ingredients that we used were: Milch (milk), Eier (eggs), Zucker (sugar), Kardamon (cardamom), Hefe (yeast), Mehl (flour), Butter (butter) and Zimt (cinnamon)+ Teig (dough) and Füllung (filling). We also discussed some rather funny German idioms and the girls explained their background and meanings to me. For example, “Es ist nicht mein Bier” (It’s not my business) probably comes from the times when many families used to own breweries and make their own beers there. Another funny expression was “Es ist mir Wurst” and it means basically “I don’t care” (for example, in a sentence: “Which one do you want? – I don’t care). We tried to think where the idiom comes from but couldn’t think of anything. I find it still very funny 😀 One baking-related word that the girls told me was “Schneebesen” (=whisk) which literally means “snow broom”. The name comes from the snow-looking egg-white (the clear fluid in an egg) that is often stirred with the whisk. I find these explanations really helpful when it comes to remembering certain words.
While eating the buns (they were really good!) we talked about the big German chain stores, like Lidl and Aldi. I learned that Aldi is owned by two brothers who have had some disagreements and that’s why the Aldi shops have been quite different and there are Aldi Süd (Süd=south) and Aldi Nord (Nord=north) stores. It was also surprising that there are Aldis and Lidls in so many countries – there’s even one Lidl in Australia!
The other 2 girls came to my place to bake korvapuusti or cinnamon buns or Zimtschnecken. We figured out pretty quick that fins turn them sideways whereas germans just leave the spiral as it is. So they definitely looking differntly to what i know from Germany. We started out with the dough sadly a lot of kitchen utensiles were missing so we had to improvise… e.g. a scale: but Jasim told us that fins are cooking with the measurement cup thats why a lot is not in gramms but in dl. So we were able to take a cup for that. Then the whisk = Schneebesen, we esplained the word to Jasmin and told her where it comes from because it can sound really weird if you translate it word by word. well we could use a fork for that. When we finished the dough we started to translate the recipe and learned the words for the ingredients.
so here are the words :
dough= taikina; ruokalusikka= table spoon; teelusikka= tea spoon; filling=täyte; milk= maito; egg= muna; sugar= sokeri; cardamon= kardemumma; salt= suola; yeast=kuivahiiva; flour=vehnäjauhot; voi= butter; cinnamon = kaneli
so after that we rolled it and learned the finnish way in doing them. When everything was in the oven we decided to meet again on tuesday for the german evening and Kässpätzle.
the Korvapuusti turned out to die for but sadly jasmin had to go pretty quick after they were out of the oven.
In today’s meeting, we were talking about the composition of families and the value our cultures ascribe to status.
I taught my Chinese teammates about the German words for mother, father, child, sister, etc. and showed them a statistic of the amount of children families have in Germany (statistic_id3051_familien-mit-kindern-in-deutschland-nach-kinderanzahl-2019). I thought it was very surprising that both in German as well as in Chinese we call our parents mama and papa. Since in Germany, we do not really have rituals or traditions that show that elderly people have the highest status, I sadly could not contribute to that topic as much as intended. We respect older people for sure but there is no such thing as a proper tradition showing their allegedly higher status.
I think it is particularly interesting that there are different words in Chinese for both younger and older sisters/brother as well as for the grandparents of your mom’s or dad’s family.
Moreover, all three of us thought it was interesting that when mourning, people in China wear white clothes whereas people in Germany (and the western world) wear black clothes. I also did not know that Chinese people wear red at their wedding (only bride and groom tho) because it is a color representing joy and happiness. They also taught me that there is still a lot of value and importance ascribed to marriage in China. Meaning that parents might get angry at their sons when they do not get married because then, their bloodline would not continue. On the opposite, I feel like marriage in Germany has lost in its meaning and the expectations that Germans have to get married have gotten less – it is still wanted but I think it is of less importance than it was in former times.
This was another very interesting zoom meeting with my Chinese teammates and I am looking forward to the next session.
Finally, we managed to arrange this meeting as both were all busy with our own studies. However, everytime met is a really valuable chance for me to learn about the another culture.
Since the last meeting, we found that the available quizzes from the internet is a good source for us to deep into the country’s culture and language. While answering the quiz one by one, one of us could explain more about the contents of that question. For example, there was a quiz about the “patron saint of the day” in Italy, Sara could show me some names of different dates in Italy; for me, it is interesting to know about that! Based on the names of Italian destinations or people, I can revise the pronunciation with the help of Sara. It’s about Easter so we had a short discussion about how our countries celebrate the holiday (actually in Vietnam they don’t have Easter holiday but only the Vietnamese Catholics do)
I could teach Sara some new Vietnamese words based on the quizzes that we met. I explained Sara why there are so many Vietnamese people have the surname “Nguyen” and she might be surprise about this. Eventually, we agreed that our cultures and lifestyles are so different. That’s why this course is so useful.
Last but not least, this course is a nice place to make new friends from different nations all over the world. We couldn’t have any chance to meet face to face as I’m still stuck in Vietnam but let’s hope for the better situation. The course ends here but my “journey” to explore this exciting country won’t end. Thanks Sara for helping me depart!
Today, I met Lisa in person for the first time. We met in front of the supermarket next to her apartment and went shopping for the missing ingredients. As expected, the only challenge for us was to find the right cheese. After we went up and down the refrigerator, we still could not find the Reblochon cheese. We did some extensive google research on the fly and decided to go with Brie instead.
After the shopping, we started by peeling and slicing the potatoes and onions. After that, we had to fry the potatoes and onions for 15 Minutes before stacking them in a baking dish with crème fraîche and slices of cheese. After we were done, we placed everything in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.
Although we had the wrong cheese, it was still a delicious meal. I definitely want to try it again with the correct cheese once I find it. The Brie unfortunately did not melt as well as we would have expected, which altered the look of it a bit. There is also a similar recipe I know from Germany, which is called Kartoffelgratin. It is also potato slices baked with cheese. I think the cheese makes all the difference though.
Leonie’s Knödel also turned out really well. She showed us a picture later. I think they enjoyed it as well.
Yesterday we had another short meeting with our German-French group. We met via Zoom and made preparations for our cooking session on Saturday. We exchanged the recipes and talked about the ingredients and the necessary equipment. We also exchanged some background knowledge about it. Léonie chose Recette Tartiflette for us, which are kind of potatoes with cheese that are backed in the oven – I’m really excited for trying that out tomorrow! She said it’s traditionally eaten while skiing in France, as it’s a very greasy food. We chose Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße for her because it is easy to prepare. This are dumplings made of old bread with a mushroom cream sauce. In Germany, it is mostly cooked to still use stale bread.
I’m really looking forward to Saturday and I’m already curious how the Recette Tartiflette will taste and if Léonie likes the Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße. We will keep you updated with some pictures of the ready cooked dishes and of course also with another blog post about the meeting.