Sunday, July 28, 2013

blueberries versus pickled cucumbers

When we visited north of Finland I noticed many people collecting blueberries (mustikka). In the Finnish woods there are also cloudberries (lakka) and of course raspberries (vadelma) and the wood berries (metsä mansikka). Later comes sesason for the lingonberries (puolukka) and the northern cranberries (karpalo).
In Poland most people pick up berries for pleasure in the free time but many Finns take it seriously as the summer thing to do.
They are not happy with few baskets but they preserve berries for the winter in the fridges. The berries can be eaten just sweetened eg. with a  porridge or pancakes. They can be used to make a cake, jam, juice, soup, compote or some syrup.
In Poland we used to prepare the pickled cucumbers (ogórki kiszone). Totally different taste than in Finland:-)
Of course Poles make also jams, compots etc. from the berries and fruits, but the pickled cucumbers seem to be the most common preserve for the winter. Today we made the pickles, and the blueberries are in the fridge as well. Two cultures in one home.
Preserves what we made today contain cucumbers, garlic, dill, roots of the horseradish and the oak leaves, all in the salty water. In the 1st picture Antoni at work, cleaning up the blueberries.

Monday, July 22, 2013

St. Mary Magdalene's feast day - 'Kristus ja Mataleena' by A.Edelfelt

Hi to everyone after few weeks of the holiday brake. We travelled a bit here and there, I will share some photos later, but today is my nameday, so I will write about Saint Mary Magdalene - with the Finnish references of course. I wrote about my favourite Finnish painter Albert Edelfelt in this post: Amazing Albert Edelfelt, but today I want to remind his great painting from 1890 'Kristus ja Mataleena' (Christ and Mary Magdalene).
Edelfelt set the biblical scene of Mary Magdalena meeting resurrected Jesus Christ in the Finnish landscape. Inspiration came from Elias Lönnrot's 'Kanteletar' collection of folk poetry.
Sad expression on the Magdalene's face had the real, tragic reason. Magdalene's model was Edelfet's servant. Her fiancé deceased shortly before. Edelfelt was working on this painting long months.He prepared a lot of sketches to finally gain the scene looking as he imagined. Mary Magdalene looks scared and surprised with eyes full of tears.  
Model for the Jesus Christ was painter Magnus Enckell. He chose him for a model to give Jesus' face more esprit.
The painting is in the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki.