Christer Lindgren: Stadin klassikot. Maukkainta retroruokaa [City classics. The tastiest retro fare]

18 May 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Stadin klassikot. Maukkainta retroruokaa
[City classics. The tastiest retro fare]
Helsinki: Teos, 2012. 135 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-851-433-9
€32.90, hardback

Even a small metropolis like Helsinki has a few restaurants that have survived the changes of time by sticking to traditional dishes. This book features Sea Horse, Elite, Kosmos and Kolme Kruunua (‘The Three Crowns’), established in 1934, 1932, 1924 and 1928 respectively. Their interiors – stylish art deco and functionalism – date from the 1920s and 1930s. A Sea Horse specialty, fried Baltic herrings, 16 per portion, delighted trumpetist Dizzy Gillespie so much that he ate his, his Finnish host’s and half of a fellow guest’s. The most popular recipes have been influenced by food cooked to the east, north and west (Russia, Lapland, Sweden) and mainly feature meat, fish, poultry and potatoes – cooked with plenty of butter and cream. These restaurants were – and are – frequented by politicians and artists of various fields, so the recipes include ‘Tauno Palo’s cream onion steaks’ or ‘Cod Mannerheim’. It is unfortunate that only the recipes have been translated, not the little  stories about the restaurants, so an English reader has no idea who Tauno Palo was (1908–1982; the Finnish equivalent of Cary Grant). The translations sometimes go amiss:  a recipe entitled ‘Sautéed reindeer’ first lists a kilo of ‘sautéed reindeer’, when it should of course list ‘a kilo of sliced reindeer meat’. The photos have been shot in situ, so the dishes look nicely authentic.

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