Today it was all about the great and powerful USA. We spent the entire meeting in English because it was the day of Ella’s home country. We ate traditional American foods such as mac’n cheese, chicken nuggets and chocolate chip cookies. They were all delicious! Mac’n cheese is actually one of my own favourite foods, whenever I’ve visited the US I’ve had to eat some mac’n cheese there. They just make it the best.
We talked about Ella’s life in the US and to me it sounded so far away and strange that they have drills in their school every month about fire, earthquakes, extreme weather conditions and even armed invaders. These things sound something I’ve only seen in movies. Ella said she hates storms because she has witnessed trees being cut to half by lightning or trees literally going from side to side touching the ground. She told me a story about when she was younger and there was a hurricane of some sorts and her mom wanted to go outside to see how it felt. She remembers how it was so windy you could not move forward. The storms in the US truly are next level.
Ella told me how even though the state of Maryland is not in an area that usually has earthquakes they did have one when she was at the 4th grade. Someone in her class was actually just reading a book about earthquakes when it started. A coincidence, maybe?
The chocolate chip cookies Ella prepared for us were absolutely yummy! So soft and chocolaty. I got the recopy from Ella so now I can make them myself too. Ella told me about the Easter egg hunt that her neighbourhood always had when she was a kid. Every year they would go to someones yard to hunt for chocolate eggs.
Sadly we did not have American flag with us, which would have been soooo American. When Ella came here she did not pack one with her, but hopefully we’ll get to travel to the US together and can go explore the country of stars and stripes.
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.
One thing that people from Germany and France (and probably a lot of other countries as well) can agree on is the importance of good food! I personally love to try traditional dishes whenever I am travelling. Therefore, we decided to go over some basic sentences you need when you go to a restaurant.
For me as a vegetarian, this is always a topic since most of the traditional meals in Germany and France include some non-vegetarian ingredients. Therefore, we also talked about what we like and dislike about food. I hope I can remember at least these words, so I can avoid the food I do not want to eat.
After talking about some phrases, we realized that we never actually talked about being polite in French or German. So, we continued with phrases like S’il te plait/ s’il vous plait and Je vous en prie/ de rien.
Once again, I realized how difficult German grammar can be. I have never thought about it this actively.
We concluded by briefly talking about our cooking plans for a future session. We decided to pick out multiple recipes for each other so that Lisa and I can decide what we would like to try as well as Leonie.
This meeting was based on my home country’s traditional cuisine and some traditions. I had prepared a special delicacy that is personally a favorite of mine. It is called banitsa and is prepared from thin pastry sheets, eggs and cow’s white cheese.
Luckily for me, everyone liked a lot that dish which made me very proud of my cooking skills. We talked about different traditions and customs we have in our home countries like festivals and celebrations. It was really interesting to hear about customs from the other side of the planet just to find out they weren’t that different from the ones I am used to.
Another topic of interest was how the education systems work. Now here it got interesting- so many new findings and unexpected facts came to my knowledge.
To sum it up, this meeting was full of new information, lots of food and drinks.
This was our second meeting with Chinese-Finnish-group and we decided to go to a Finnish restaurant. It was quite hard to find typical Finnish cuisine with variety on the menu, but after asking around I got a recommended Pyynikin Brewhouse. Located right next to Koskikeskus mall in a beautiful old brick building it serves local beers and dishes named after locations here in Tampere. I ordered Kaleva chicken skewers and they were tasty. I think this was a good introduction to Finnish restaurant culture and behavior.
Kaleva chicken skewer (kanavarras) with baked potato (uuniperuna) filled with cream cheese
We both love food and eating, so it was very easy to discuss about the topic and we will continue eating through cultures and learning the basics.
5 October 2019: First meeting at “Friends and Burger” ( Hämeenkatu 17, 33200 Tampere)
Our group consists of one German(Felix) and two Chinese(Menglin and Man Seng). Through planning , we had decided to have our official meet-up at a particular restaurant for dinner and discussion sessions about this course “each one teach one”.
Upon arrival, we chose a place in the restaurant to settle down. Then, we went to place orders of the scrumptious burger. While waiting for the burger, we did a small introduction of ourselves in English then in German and Chinese. We discuss and chat about our experience so far in Finland, our own culture and traditions, our traditional cuisine and more. There were similarities and also differences between the language, culture and traditions between German and Chinese which makes everything much more fun and interesting to learn and know about.
Here is some basic German that I learned that day:
- Guten Tag = Good Day
- Auf wiedersehen = Bye
- Mein Name ist = My name is
- Ich bin = I am
Although it’s only the first meeting but I think this module are precisely useful to me. This is due to the reason that it would definitely help me to improve my communication skills through all the meetings and meetup. I believe this skill is one of the most important skills that a person needed to have in today’s employ-ability market. Language are fun to learn but I still had to put in more effort in order to fully absorb the knowledge and the basics of a whole new language.
I’m excited for the next meeting and I strongly believe that it’s going to be interesting and fun-filled.
On Sunday we got together at my language partners place. I decided to cook something that has been my childhood favourite dish – buckwheat and cottage cheese. I also brought some Estonian chocolate with kama and found that Prisma sells an Estonian based kohuke (curd snack). During cooking we exchanged some famous songs from each of our countries.
Hearing my language partner and his flatmates speak German to me was very exciting, since I haven’t practised it for ages. I was surprised at how much I understood, even though sometimes the meaning of the texts arrived to me a bit late. I was too scared to answer in German myself this time. I could tell that my accent would be horrible. However, I have decided to at least try and speak German on our next meet-up.
To my language partner I taught the Estonian names of the food we had (tatar, kohuke, kama). However mainly we talked about our culture differences and some common grounds. We even managed to slightly cover such topics as politics and religion. I got to ask questions about some things my German teacher in school had taught and to check their accuracy. Listening to our countries songs anyway, I got a chance to also introduce my country’s anthem and translate it. I also introduced a massive event – Estonia’s Song Festival, which has held a special place in the hearts of Estonians and also touched the hearts of some foreigners.
I definitely learnt to be more confident in my German skills and step out of my comfort zone. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to the uniquenesses of Germans and their culture.
This picture depicts the Estonian curd snack called kohuke.
(The picture is taken from flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anuwintschalek/8553573899)
We were planning to have lunch at school together for a long time and finally, we did it 🙂 I again asked my friend to join us, so we had a long conversation about music, travellings and hobbies. It was interesting to know that Maksim listens to Russian music band Kino, which I like as well and Viktor Tsoi is a legend in Russia.
We discussed countries as well because it was a cyber Monday and me and my friend got really cheap tickets to Amsterdam! we were excited that moment that couldn’t talk about something else 😀
After all, my friend said that she really found the idea of this course super cool because it’s not only the opportunity to learn the new language, but also a chance to meet new friends 🙂