As an introduction to Finnish language, I will teach you an important word that is easy to pronounce. In case you ever get stuck here and are forced to communicate with the natives in the matters of food, it might save you from being served some of the unflattering dishes known as the local cuisine. That is, of course, if turnips and fermented barley malts are not on the top of your diet. I don’t mean to be rude about Finnish cooking tradition, but it is fair to say it is austere and unexcited. When I brought my Polish husband to experience white Christmas in the land of Santa Claus for the first time, he wondered why all the delicatessen were made of animal feed. The only dish he could relate to was pulla. And he is not a picky eater!
Pulla is sweet bread. Many Finns enjoy it plain, but it is best when baked with cinnamon, sugar and butter. The fragrance in the house is most comforting when pulla is in the oven. It always reminds me of my childhood and lovely grandmother. She was a strong lady with a staunch sense of style. She used to bake pulla every Saturday. After eating plenty when warm and soft, she took me and my brother to sit on her lap on a rocking chair. We all fell asleep for a short while.
Sweet bread can be braided or formed in several ways. It can also be combined with berries, jam or cream-cheese. During the Christmas saffron is added to the dough. Raisins and nuts are also used.