Last night our Finnish-German girls’ group met for the eighth time, so unfortunately there are only two meetings left. However, last evening, we finally managed to cook something Finnish! Actually, we had planned to make salmon soup, but since it would have taken too much time, Jasmin suggested making “makaronilaatikko” with grated carrots instead, as this is a very typical Finnish dish according to her.
The cooking was once again a lot of fun together and we listened to German music throughout the evening. Nevertheless, it took 1.5 hours until we could eat, so we were able to talk about a lot of topics. These included German chocolate, a lot about the music we listened to, Formula 1 and German and Finnish music festivals. The food tasted very good, especially with lots of ketchup, although I found it a bit unusual to have raw carrots on the side. In Germany, we also often eat vegetables with a meal, but they are usually prepared as a salad. Jasmin then served us some of the cheese she likes to eat and for dessert we had Toffifee, which I had received from my family. All in all, the evening with food was a complete success.
After dinner we played Alias, which is called Tabu in Germany. Jasmin had got the children’s version for it, so there were pictures on the cards and we didn’t have to know the Finnish word. We then explained the words to each other in German and Jasmin helped us pronounce the Finnish words correctly afterwards. In between, when we talked briefly about something or explained something, we always switched to English. That really showed me for the first time how difficult it is to constantly switch between two languages. Sometimes I started talking in English while explaining the words and didn’t even notice. Nevertheless, playing the game was a lot of fun and I learned some new words and also discovered some similarities between the Finnish and German languages. Often, both the German words and the Finnish words consisted of compound words. For example, “Regen_Schirm” and “sateen_varjo” or “Schreibtisch_Stuhl” and “työ_tuoli”. Sometimes there is hardly any difference between Finnish and German words, such as “Korb” and “Kori” or “Elefant” and “Elefantti”. I found it particularly difficult to pronounce words that had the letter Y in them very often, such as the word “lyijykynä”, because this letter hardly ever occurs in German.
As always, the evening was a lot of fun, I learned a lot and the almost four hours we spent together flew by! I’m really looking forward to our little hike on Saturday!
Today Chiara and Meike came to my place to cook the pretty traditional Finnish food makaronilaatikko with grated carrot. While cooking we listened to German music from various genres, such as pop, rap and Schlager. One of the most memorable songs was probably this song called “Currywurst” by Herbert Grönemeyer. The girls also told me about big and small German music festivals (the small ones were actually quite big in Finnish standards) and I learned that the big ones are quite expensive in Germany as well.
From music theme we then switched to chocolate, which is always a good topic. Milka is already familiar to me but the girls recommended this other chocolate, Ritter Sport, as well. I learned that the chocolate is in square form (16 pieces) because it’s easier to fit it into your pocket that way. The chocolate also comes in even smaller size (4 pieces), which I find super cute. The slogan for Ritter Sport is “Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut” (=Square. Practical. Good) 😀 The chocolate is made in Waldenbuch and I heard that it sometimes smells like chocolate in the town – I mean, how cool is that!
The food came out quite good, even though there could have been a bit more spices. A funny moment was when I asked Chiara whether she wants some milk to drink with the food and she started laughing. I didn’t even realise that it isn’t common at all to drink milk at meal in Germany :’D After finishing the meal we wrote down the main ingredients in Finnish and German. I learned that the word “Soja-Granulat” means soybean meal but the word Granulat also goes for eg a nutrient that is used in the artificial grass sports fields. Another interesting word was Kater, which means hangover but translates as male cat. We didn’t have come up with any ideas about the history behind the word :’D
After eating we played some Alias in German. I think the most difficult thing was to not accidentally switch into English. We were basically playing in three languages: German while explaining, English while I didn’t know some words or we were joking around and Finnish while I told the girls how to pronounce the words. It was really fun and I feel like I learned some new useful everyday words. I also got a chance to refresh my memory when it came to words such as Bleistift (pencil) and Korb (basket), which I had totally forgotten. We talked about the interesting observation, that there are many Finnish words that are quite similar to the German ones, like Rakete & raketti (rocket) and Korb & kori. We also noted the compound words and I tried to translate them into English (like lyijy_kynä = lead pen)and Meike and Chiara did the same with some of the German words (like Kinder_sitz = child seat). It was funny to note that quite many of the Finnish words were even longer than the German ones. There were long German words as well, though, like Schreibtischstuhl (=work chair) and Sicherheitsnadel (safety pin).
Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the meal. I did, however, take a photo of the delicious Toffifee that Meike brought for dessert. Next time we are planning to take a walk in Pispala because it’s almost a crime that Meike and Chiara haven’t been there yet – since it’s one of the most photogenic places in Tampere.
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!
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.
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.
This time we had a quick meeting to prepare for our cooking session later this week. Lisa and I agreed to try a vegetarian version of Recette Tartiflette and Leonie wants to try Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße. The German recipe is actually one of my favourite traditional meals. Also, one of the few without meat. The only problem is that it usually takes a while, and it can be hard to get the dough for the dumplings just right. I am curious how Leonie will do with this one.
For the Recette Tartiflette I am very curious! You can never go wrong with baked cheese. I think the main challenge for us will be to find the right cheese here in Finland. The special cheese is called Reblochon and is named after the region it comes from. Therefore, Leonie said that they often cook it on ski holidays.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to meet personally with Leonie since she is still in France. This makes helping each other out a bit tricky, and we, therefore, decided to also translate the recipes into English to help with any language barriers.
I am really looking forward to trying this out and will start looking for the right cheese every time I enter a shop from now on.
Hello at all,
today I want to talk about my third Finnish-English Meeting with Suvi. This day was not only sitting inside and study finnish language. – No, it was more than this. We had a really active and funny sunday, combined with studying and language skills. First we started to go sledding with the pulkka (sled) on a childrens toboggan run, where we dared to go down both routes alongside the children 🙂 Now that the weather allows us to process the snow into wonderful works of art, we have let off steam artistically in the snow. We built a cave out of many individual snowballs, in which we finally put a candle and lit it.
During the construction of the light art work, we also talked about Austrian cuisine and the dumpling culture from my home country and decided at short notice to combine the evening Finnish unit with Austrian cuisine. So we made Waldviertel potato dumplings filled with cheese and minced meat.
When we were strengthened, we started to write down those Finnish terms that had already come up during the preparation of the food, such as: Schein (possu, porsas), milk cow (nauta), beef (naudanliha), minced meat (jauheliha). In the course of this, we also discussed other ingredients, namely those that are to be found and picked in the forest yourself: chanterelles, porcini mushrooms, mushrooms.
After adding the ingredients, I surprised Suvi that I could recite the numbers she had already learned with me by heart. The new topics for this unit were the days of the week and the time. After we had noted down all the terms needed for this, I tried to name various combinations of times. Examples of the time were 8:25 PM, 5:30 AM, 8:45 AM, and 5:15 PM. At the time, I already knew some compositions from other languages, but it is very difficult for me to memorize the individual words for it, as these cannot be derived from any of the words that I usually know. However, I have created a booklet for this language course in which I can clearly record all the learned content in writing and, if necessary, read it.
In our first proper teaching/learning session me and my two Chinese group members taught each other about german/chinese food, traditional dishes and table manners. They started by showing me how to cook “Luoshifen”- a traditional chinese dish consisting of rice noodles and bamboo. It was especially interesting to see that these noodles need to be cooked twice and that all further ingredients come perfectly portioned in small bags. Something really unusual for the German kitchen as I experienced it. They continued to teach me about traditional Chinese dishes and their proper Chinese pronunciation. Therefore, they taught me 4 different kinds of phonetic symbols ( /, \, -, v) that help pronuncing certain words (but it was still very difficult). The dishes included e.g. Kung Pao Chicken, Zhajianmian or”Hot Pot” which is close to the in Germany well known “Raclette”. Afterwards, they taught me Chinese table manners. I knew that especially older people have a high status in China and certain strict rules need to be followed to be respectful. However, I did not know how strict they are and that they even manifest themselves in the positioning at the table, the order in which someone raises a toast or the placement of one’s glass at the other person’s glass when bumping them together. Also, apparently, one is not allowed to point at others with chopsticks or to put them into a bowl of rice.
Then, I taught them about the German food culture, especailly about the huge variety of breads, sausages and beers. Moreover, I thought it was interesting to teach them about the fish dishes that are very popular in the north of Germany because I think that not that many people know about that. In the course of teaching them the “food culture” I taught them the pronunciation of certain dishes like Brezel, Brot or Brötchen. I used “Brötchen” to explain the concept of a “Diminutiv” (a smaller/ cuter version of something) and the sounds of ä, ö and ü. Finally, I taught them how to make “Frikadellen” via live-cooking on zoom.
Overall, our first meeting was very nice and informative. Moreover, we managed to teach each other everything we planned to teach. Only the pronunciation of Chinese words by me could’ve been better, but I guess it will come with time.
For our first “each one teach one” lesson, we started with a practical application. Our goal was to have a Finnish tasting evening. We have already agreed in advance that we want to go grocery shopping together, but only want to buy typical Finnish dishes and then taste them. Said and done! We went to the K-Market together to choose the food and dishes there. The large selection of the most diverse brands of individual product groups immediately overwhelmed me. You won’t find such a large selection in my home country. So the first big question for me was what should we buy if I don’t even know the basic terminology of the individual dishes. However, with the help of my tutor, we were able to differentiate and clarify some ambiguities and terminology in the business. Fortunately, I don’t have any intolerances or allergies that I have to pay attention to and take into account.
The shopping basket full of Finnish delicacies from all areas, starter, main course, dessert and drinks, we made our way home. We did our Finnish tasting in a private apartment. With the individual dishes cooked and arranged on the plates, we set about the definitions, terms and ingredients of the individual dishes. That evening I not only got to know the typical Finnish dishes I had bought, such as “musta makkara” (blood sausages), “kalakukko” (filled bread), “peruna muussi” (mashed potatoes) and “lihapulla” (meatballs), but also basic terms such as bread, fish, various drinks and also types of cutlery and inventory. As part of the dinner, we also took up other exciting and useful terms and put them into writing.