There are dishes of collective emotional attachment in every culture. Summer soup or kesäkeitto, as it is called in Finnish, is such. In the country where a summer season is far too short and offers barely a crop a year, every bite of local harvest is honoured. When the first baby potatoes reach farmers market, people rush to buy them, even, if they cost 16 € per kilo! There is something primeval about cooking and eating native produce.
In order to appreciate Finnish cuisine, which is plain and modest, one should challenge to live here, at least, through a winter. After nine dark months of vacuum packed and gassed greenhouse fruits and vegetables flown unripe from Spain and Italy, a humble potato with a pinch of salt, dab of butter and a stalk of dill will taste like a gourmet delight.
The basic summer soup is made of vegetables, milk, butter, salt and dill. If I remember correctly, my grandmother used allspice, too. She would unfold a clean linen cloth onto a table in the shadow corner of the patio, set the plates, spoons and glasses, and carry outside a serving bowl of soup, fresh rye-bread, butter and lemonade. I can still hear our lunchtime conversation mixed with the purling of a small fountain, rustling of garden plants and chirping of birds.
Another unbeatable bonus about Finnish summer is wild berries. Strawberries come first, then blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and cloudberries.
These wild strawberries were picked from a gentle forest hill behind our home. Nothing more than sweet whipped cream is needed for a perfect dessert.
Sophistication is compensated by quality in simple cooking. If the ingredients are first class and treated with proper care and skill, the experience will be satisfactory. Attention to detail always increases value. It also gives a personal touch.