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A Proud Finn

28 Jun

“Seek the road
to Astoria…”  -Mike Doughty

Last weekend, Rob and I crossed another item off the Oregon Bucket List, and one that I have been dying to see since moving to the Oregon Coast.  After a hard work-week (at least for Rob), we set off Friday morning for the 5-hour drive up the rugged and winding Oregon Coast road ending in Astoria, one of the most unique, genuine, and culturally robust cities in the state.

I have been in love with Astoria since I visited it during a sidetracked detour from a work-related conference.  It was February; cold, windy, dreary, and yet the energy was strong and alive in the old, small cannery town.  Better even, the Scandinavian culture drew me in at the first sight of a Finnish flag standing downtown waving at full mast.  At that I-belong-here moment, I vowed at some point in my life, to live in Astoria.

Granted, and obviously, I haven’t yet lived in Astoria.  But I Rob and I did make it up there for the Scandinavian Festival.  It was a fantastic weekend, and I think Rob saw a side of me that was new to him.  Here were some of the highlights:

–       Immediately being recognized as a Finn.
–       Rob lighting up when he was told he could “maybe pass as a Viking.”
–       Listening to folk music from Swedish and Finnish fiddle and accordion bands (a great spark for memories of polkaing with my dad).
–       Watching the Astoria Opry pay homage to the Scandinavian married life (according to them, it costs $500k to get a divorce from a Scandinavian – because, “it’s worth it!”  Yikes!)
–       Seeing giant, giant men walking around.  Seriously.  Like, Thor, Magnus, and Ole-type giant.
–       Being kissed on the cheek by a giant Finnish man masquerading as a Troll.
–       Seeing Rob getting kissed by the giant Finnish man masquerading as a Troll.
–       Eating many, many meatballs.
–       Eating lots and lots of berry jams.
–       Eating lots and lots of pastries.
–       Eating as much Finnish Fruit Soup as my already-stuffed belly could handle.
–       Hearing the story of how a wood-worker was not able to sell his products at the festival until the committee found out his wife was half-Finnish, half-Norwegian (he was German and clearly tried – though not with much avail – to stifle feeling miffed.  His wife, with her typical Scandinavian stoic, strong, and you-know-I’m-always-right-and-you-better-be-thanking-me look, just sat in a chair in the back of the booth and gladly took our money).
–       Finally, realizing I’ve been naturally, and unknowingly, cooking Scandinavian style foods and dishes for most of my adult life.

Enjoy some pics, and recipes to come!

 

 

 

Scandinavian-smoked salmon with homemade blueberry jam and soft cheese

 

Pickled cucumbers with lemon

 

“Canned” tuna salad (it was perfect for the drive up to Astoria – compact, tasty, and literally layered with flavors)

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