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)

3 Responses to “A Proud Finn”

  1. Lance June 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Sounds fun. Theresa and I loved our two tours of duty there. Glad that the summer is going well for you two. r/LOB

  2. emma July 6, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    I usually only associate fruit soup and meatballs with wintertime, because it’s one of my traditions to have it with my family on Christmas Eve. It sounds just as good in the summer, though!

    That’s some wonderful-looking smoked salmon:)

  3. Jouko January 11, 2015 at 5:48 am #

    Sorry to break it to you, but we Finns are not Scandinavian, for that term is reserved for Sweden, Denmark and Norway on historical grounds.

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