For my beloved Brother who introduced me to the art of cooking, who taught me how to taste and truly love food. Without him I'd never be able to be where I am today.

March 2, 2012

Something's Cooking All Right

Looking from the outside in there are fascinating things going on foodwise in Europe all the time and as we speak. It's especially in the Nordic countries (commonly but slightly incorrectly also know as Scandinavia) where something new and fresh is definitely cooking! The New Nordic Cuisine Movement – an innovative and rather new movement for Europe, but certainly so for the rest if the world – is blooming and the "Nordic taste" is turning into a widely recognized and appreciated concept, challenging for example the reputed and renowned, prestigious and flavour-rich Mediterranean cuisine that European food most often is known for outside our continent.

Not a 2010s movement per se as the New Nordic Cuisine Movement has been on people lips and in the making for quite a while already, but it's now that even the mainstream public is starting to get to know this new trend. Why now? It's not so far fetched since noma – Danish chef and food guru Clause Meyer's restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark won the British trade magazine Restaurant's price of World’s Best Restaurant in 2011. noma with Claus Meyer as head captain is giving rise to a whole new movement in the Nordic culinary culture. As they describe it themselves, noma represents a “Nordic gourmet cuisine with an innovative gastronomic take on traditional cooking methods, fine Nordic produce and the legacy of our shared food heritage […] a revival of Nordic cuisine and let its distinctive flavours” (noma's official website).

But there's much more to this movement than noma since it is all about putting back in place the natural limits and conditions that once fully determining human accessibility to food. What's naturally (biologically) and geographically own to our culture and our taste is being uplifted, and stopped regarded upon as constraints and/or culinary handicaps. It's something 100% positive to us and our environment. It's certainly also about elevating the Nordic taste and Nordic culinary culture to the same pedestal as its most refined French and Italian rivals. What Nordic cuisine has to offer has been stipulated in the Manifesto for the New Nordic Kitchen adopted by the Nordic council of ministers. In ten points the manifesto states the fundamentals for the New Nordic Cuisine Movement. The message and main aim are rather honest and straightforward. The indisputable main criteria widely agreed upon in the Nordic Region are that of seasonality, purity, essential simplicity, respecting a certain moral and ethics and finally, beliefs of significant health benefits for humans and the nature we live off.

In Finland, Finnish food is going through similar revival. Finland, known familiarly as the little brother of Sweden might come one step behind the more known Nordic countries, but Finnish input and distinctiveness, nevertheless, shouldn't be underestimated or simply labelled under 'Scandinavia'. I really disapprove of that I must say! Obviously and undeniably, Finnish cultural heritage and also food culture both have their origins in Scandinavian or better Swedish culinary traditions and sometimes it might be hard to wholly separate one from the other. However, the Russian influence on Finnish food culture and taste is not to be dismissed. Herein lies the uniqueness of Finnish cuisine today. Not fully Scandinavian, a touch Slavic and Russian, rather Nordic but still fully Finnish.

I'm very happy to see this development and it has made me think even more about what my own personal taste is, what it represent and where it comes from. I wanted to share this with you, dear readers, now as I'm writing my Master thesis on this exact phenomenon/issue. Thesis writing is darn lonesome by the way and I feel like I'm loosing it several times a day. I guess I simply wanted to share this with all of you and inform you that I'm still here as hungry as ever for new information, new vibes and above all new tastes! If this post gave birth to same awesome and intriguing ideas that might be useful for me ( ;) vink vink), hit me (hard enough) with an email: edithsalminen[at]gmail[dot]com and share your mind with me.

Until then, wish me luck, long nerves and good sprit. Pretty please.

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