During these past two weeks, my middle son took leave from his assignment in Iraq to join our daughter-in-law for some much-needed R & R in Finland. Leaving the 100+-degrees temperatures in Baghdad, where he wears almost 60 additional pounds of battle gear, to cool off in the chillier northern climes of Lapland was a welcome relief. Taking the dry-heat Finnish saunas daily, sometimes twice a day, was another. Finding his name on everything from coffee mugs to Christmas decorations was good for a little comic relief, since his very Finnish name doesn't register in our commercial market.
From attending a Marimekko fashion show in Helsinki where his cousin Dana was modeling to enjoying total privacy at a spa retreat above the Arctic circle, they enjoyed their short time together. And at one of the markets, they happened upon some adorable additions for my Little House, including Finnish staples like coffee, cheese and salami, a Helsinki newspaper in the mail, and a sample of a family favorite, Karjalanpiirakat. These rye pastries wrapped around steamed rice and topped with egg butter or munavoi are delicious but time-consuming to make by hand. Naturally, we reserve them for special occasions.
I am thinking this playful gift is his subtle suggestion of what he'd like to eat when he finally comes home next year: Finlandia cheese sliced thinly on pulla, a big glass of maitoa, and especially a big plate of Karjalanpiirakka with munavoi, probably even for breakfast.