Some Nordic traditional recipes are worth keeping - others not so much.
Every culture has its quirks - remember My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding? Anyone whose parents were immigrants could relate to that movie.
The Finns are no different, and luckily, my parents were young enough when they moved to Canada to shed some of the worst traditions - like liver casserole with raisins and lye fish, and an Easter treat called mammi that I can't try to describe in a family newspaper.
They also switched from ham to turkey at Christmas pretty quickly in the "new country."
But we did get some Finnish dishes at Christmas - lots of pulla (sweet bread), joulutorttuja (pastries with prune filling), and lots of casseroles, carrot casserole, turnip casserole, and potato casserole - we skipped the liver casserole.
So here's a recipe for carrot casserole that would typically be served at a traditional Finnish Christmas Eve meal, taken from The Finnish Cookbook.
1 cup cooked rice
2 cups milk
5 medium carrots, shredded
1 tsp. salt nutmeg, a pinch
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 tbsp. butter
½ cup fine bread crumbs
Combine the rice, milk, carrots, salt, sugar, and eggs. Pour into a well-buttered 1½-quart casserole. Melt the butter in a separate pan and stir the crumbs into it. Sprinkle them on top of the casserole. Bake in moderately hot oven (375ºF) about 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Serves six.
One Finnish Christmas tradition I really like is the declaration of Christmas Peace. At noon on Dec. 24, a city official of the historic capital, Turku, reads a statement declaring peace throughout all of Scandinavia. This is a legal declaration, and stores are closed fairly soon after - although they've been stretching in the past few years - and don't reopen till Boxing Day, and then only for four hours.
Anyone caught acting in a disorderly way during Christmas used to receive severe penalties.
I say we declare Christmas Peace in Maple Ridge, and that it is enforceable with strict penalties throughout the Lower Mainland - until Boxing Day shopping starts.
Maria Rantanen TIMES reporter
. Watch for more recipes in Thursday's paper