10 Reasons to Eat Strawberries

It is a tiny miracle that strawberries grow this far north. It is even more of a miracle that Finnish strawberries are supremely delicious, perfectly succulent and sweet.

Finns celebrate this miracle by eating as many strawberries as they can while they are in season.

They also honor strawberries by incorporating them into desserts concocted only on the most festive occasions, such as the strawberry whipped cream cake our downstairs neighbor Maija makes on her birthday, her name day, and her husband’s name day,  which all take place in July and August, during and just after the peak of the all-too-brief Finnish strawberry season.

Maija’s strawberry whipped cream cake is to die for, by the way.

But strawberries are not just delicious, they are good for you, too, as I was reminded yesterday by this placard at the pop-up strawberry stand at my local grocery store.

ten reasons to eat strawberries

10 Reasons to Eat Strawberries

  • It improves the immune system.
  • It maintains eyesight.
  • It prevents cancer.
  • It firms up the skin.
  • It lowers cholesterol.
  • It makes the joints work better.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves digestion.
  • It helps control weight.
  • It is positively yummy.


Photo and translation by Living in FIN

Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, “In Finnish Class”

DSCN2106 (2)

Äidinkielen tunnilla luetaan AI, YÖ, UI.
Ei siitä viisaaksi tule, mutta valitettavasti ei hulluksikaan.
Luistinradan takana on tilaa tapella.
Niitä kiusataan, jotka uskovat liikaa
sekä Mari-Orvokkia.

Näkinkenkärintainen tyttö kutsuu jäälle paritanssiin.
Tirsk tirsk sahaamme samaan suuntaan piirin poikki.
Äidinkielen tunnilla käännetään sivu.

Koulun jälkeen kävelemme pakkasessa kanalaan,
kuljetamme kananmunan huopien välissä patjan alle
ja sidomme viiden villahuivin sisään.
Jonain päivänä tapahtuu: kuori kopsahtaa rikki
ja linnunpoika rääkäisee ensimmäisen kerran.


In Finnish class, we read ouch, night, swim.
It won’t make you smart, but unfortunately it won’t make you crazy.
There’s a place for fighting behind the skating rink.
They bully Mari-Orvokki
and the ones who believe too much.

A seashell-chested girl invites me on the ice for a pairs dance.
Giggle, giggle, we saw across the circle in the same direction.
We translate a page in Finnish class.
Oh no, oldsquaw, cannot.

After school, we walk to the henhouse in the cold.
We carry an egg between blankets and put it under a mattress
wrapping it in five wool scarves.
Someday it will happen: the shell smashed to smithereens,
the chick will let loose its first squawk.

—Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, Sakset kädessä ei saa juosta (WSOY, 2004), p. 41. Translation and photo by Living in FIN

Finnish Butternut Squash Casserole


Finnish Butternut Squash Casserole

No Finnish holiday table would be complete without several casseroles (laatikoita), made from carrots, rutabagas, potatoes, liver, squash, and other gifts of the harsh Finnish soil and dogged agricultural labor.


2 Butternut squash
1 ½ cups Water
1 cup Light cream (10%)
2 tsp Fennel seeds
1 Egg
1 Orange
1 ½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black pepper (ground)
2/3 cup French baguette (crumbled into tiny croutons)
1-2 tsp Rosemary (fresh, finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons Butter


1. Cut the squashes in half, removing the seeds and the innards. Remove the outer rind and chop the squashes into smallish cubes. Put the squash cubes and water into a pot. Heat the pot and simmer with lid on for around 30 minutes or until the squash cubes are soft. Stir occasionally. When the squash cubes are soft, remove them from the water with a ladle and put them into a mixing bowl. Puree them with a mixer or potato masher.

2. After the squash puree has a cooled slightly, mix in the cream and egg.

3. After washing the orange thoroughly, grate ½ teaspoon of zest from the rind and squeeze 3 tablespoons of juice. Crush the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle. Mix the zest, juice, crushed fennel, salt, and pepper into the puree.

4. Pour the puree into a buttered ovenproof casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and finely chopped fresh rosemary over the top. Add a few pats of butter.

5. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for one to one and a half hours. In the final few minutes of baking, you can raise the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit if you want the croutons to get more color.

Estimated overall preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes.

Source of text and photo: k-ruoka.fi. Translated and tested by Living in FIN


Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, “If You Let the Cows Out on Monday”

cows near kuninkaantie in sipoo-wiki commons

Jos lehmät päästää ulos maanantaina
ne menevät metsään, painuvat pitkälle
pyrkivät putouksiin, kallionkoloon ja alas jyrkänteeltä.
Kuolleet palaavat pihatietä pitkin:
Rebekka, Isolde, Rosamunda.
Allison, Eulalia, Eufrosyne.
Ne eivät tule kummituksina vain vanhoina ystävinä.
Ketä ne, siivettömät, täällä suojelevat?
Laihaa likkaa, laihaa likkaa.

* * * * *

If you let the cows out on Monday
they head for the woods, they go far
they run for the falls, the hole in the rock and off the cliff.
The dead return along the road to the yard:
Rebecca, Isolde, Rosamunde,
Allison, Eulalia, Euphrosyne.
They come not as ghosts, but as old friends.
Who are they protecting here, the wingless ones?
The skinny girl, the skinny girl.

— Vilja-Tullia Huotarinen, Iloinen Lehmän Runot (WSOY, 2009)

Translated by Living in FIN. Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

* * * * *


Eeva Kilpi, “Animalia”


Jokainen eläin on subjekti.
Se on: oman elämänsä keskipiste,
itsensä puolustaja,
varuillaan joka suuntaan
niin kuin sinä ja minä.
ei sallisi itseään loukattavan.

Kohteita on vain rakkaudella
ja julmuudella ja toiveilla,
muuten on kaikki vain omaa kokemusta
Kaikki on minä.

Minä riipun sinun olkapäilläsi tapettuna.
Minä pelkään kun lähestyt pihdit kädessä.
Minä istun ja odotan sinun häkissäsi.
Minä palelen. Minulla on ahdasta.
Minuun koskee.

Olet unohtanut jotain oleellista.
Olet unohtanut että
minä olen minä
Ei tämä ole stressiä.
Minä kärsin.

Every animal is a subject.
That is, the focal point of its own life,
Defender of itself,
Vigilant in all directions
Like you and me.
It would not let itself be injured.

Only love and cruelty
And desire have objects.
Otherwise, everything is only one’s own experience.
One’s experience is everything.
Everything is me.

I dangle from your shoulders, murdered.
I am afraid when you approach, pliers in hand.
I sit waiting in your cage.
I am freezing. I am cramped.
I hurt.

You have forgotten something essential
You have forgotten
I am me.
This is not stress.
I am suffering. Continue reading “Eeva Kilpi, “Animalia””


I was just reading in yesterday’s edition of Etelä-Saimaa newspaper about a show of cows (lehmiä) and hiehoja at the Kouvola Regional Vocational College’s Natural Resources Center in the town of Anjala. Since I didn’t know what the word hieho meant, I googled it. This was the first entry that came up.

Wöyh! “Hieho” (2012)

Hieho on kultaa
hieho on hopeaa
hieho on pronssia
hieho on nopea
Nivelet maistuu voissa ne paistuu
nivelet maistuu voissa ne paistuu

The heifer is gold
the heifer is silver
the heifer is bronze
the heifer is fast
Joints taste like they are fried in butter
Joints taste like they are fried in butter

South Karelians should have no trouble identifying where Wöyh! filmed this fabulous video.

And I will never forget what hieho means ever again.


Translation by Living in FIN. Photo courtesy of Whippet & Siperiankissa