The home is cosy, elegant and inviting. On the wall, a large black and white picture of their wedding day, through the windows, the light invades the space and touches everything in a gentle white glimmer. The mood is calm, and as I sip on my ristretto, I fall captive to Pia’s incredible story of “leaving a trace”. Sitting purposefully, she is fully engaged, sharing candidly with one of the most authentic and disarming demeanor I have encountered in years of living in Finland.
In 2014 she founded My 365 days in print*, “The basis was to ensure that if things don’t go as planned, there would be a trace left for my children to bear witness of who I was and what I had done. Then the idea came to me: the posts you write on your Facebook timeline are a treasured moment; they capture an instant, an emotion; something that was meaningful enough for you to be written down and shared as a diary and a legacy!” Her grandfather was a missionary doctor who went to Congo and her mom, age 7, stayed in a missionary children home in Sweden , enjoying life among many sisters and brothers and making lasting memories. In 2013, her mother found her mom’s diaries from their time in Congo – and after reading them started to type them out as a book for Pia’s and her daughters to read. This moment triggered the need for making more “permanent” marks to give to the next generations!
This native of Pietarsaari is so passionate about her project, it feels almost scandalous to steer her away from the topic to discuss food! I try nonetheless while browsing through the elegantly crafted books she designed for her two daughters.
“For many years, food in Finland has been mostly about survival. It is only recently that flavor became a relevant component to food making. The social element also matters, it was not typical to make food into a passionate affair, maybe partly because of the simplicity of the ingredients available. Living in France, I have learned to appreciate the “ceremony” of food and being married to someone who takes food very seriously, I’ve grown to enjoy it so much more!”
She brings to the table a basket filled with warm flat bread, just out of the grill. The enticing smell immediately fills the room and as she sets the table, she recalls a story with a smile: “After many months of long distance relationship with Hendrik, he asked me what was the most important room in a home to me. Knowing how much he loved food, I answered with no hesitation “the kitchen!”, a few weeks later he was moving to Helsinki!”
Pia’s food approach is effortless yet elegant, once the flat bread has cooled; she prepares it “blini style” by delicately topping it with rich Smetana and shiny fish roe. As the pungent pink slivers of onion fall off in a grand finish, the beauty of it all makes me realize that leaving a trace can take many forms; one of which is most definitely sharing a delicious meal!
Recipe: “Blini Style” Flat bread recipe
For the Flat bread:
- 1/4 packet yeast (approximately 12g)
- 2 1/2 dl water
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 6 dl Flour
For the topping:
- 200 g fish roe
- 2 dl Smetana
- a handful of sliced red onions (or chives)
- crushed black pepper to taste
- Add the yeast to the water, then add the salt, mix the flour in until it takes a dough consistency,
- Leave to rest for 20 minutes, and separate into small buns that you shape into flat breads.
- Once shaped, simply on a grill or stove until beautifully cooked.
- Wait until fully cooled and add the topping
Pia’s tip: This can be made on the gril, over the fireplace or on a grill pan on the stove
*1€ per book sold is donated to a dutch foundation supporting the building of a school in a village in Burkina Faso. The aim is to enable everyone to read & write and to have the opportunity to share their story. Go to : My 365 days in print for more info!