St. Urho's Day Feast

Story Recipe

"It's kalamojokka," Frank told Leslie without looking up from the soup pot. He leaned over to look at the flames while he turned down the heat. If the kalamojokka boils, the cream will separate and the dish will be ruined. Frank looks ridiculous in his purple sweater and green slacks, but he can't risk flaunting tradition in favor of style. In 47 years, he has an unbroken record of perfect St. Urho's day feasts.

"What are you talking about?" asks Leslie. Frank focuses on the soup while he explains that St. Urho was a great hero who drove the grasshoppers out of Finland and saved the wine grape harvest. At the appropriate point in the story, he took a moment away from his soup to quote the formula that the great man use to send the bugs away — "Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiten"

Leslie looked at him skeptically, so I mixed up a half ounce each of green Creme de Menthe, White Creme de Cacao and CannaCream. She sipped her grasshopper while Frank explained that St Urho's day was a celebration for Scandinavian Americans and pinched her for not wearing any purple or green. By the time we finished our drinks, the soup was ready. Frank handed around bowls that smelled of the sea.

St. Urho's day was made up by Scandinavians living in the mid-west who wanted to one up the Irish who died beer green and got all the press celebrating St. Patrick and his snake trick. Frank has embraced the holiday with a fervor that he has never applied to other aspects of his life. The soup he makes is a genuine Finnish traditional dish, which he updated to fit into the spirit of the Stoned Soup Kitchen. Here is how he makes it.

First, he has herring for breakfast. I claim that this step is completely unnecessary, but Frank insists that getting into the right frame of mind is vital to the correct preparation. You can make up your own mind, but let me just say — do you really want to eat herring for breakfast?

After breakfast, he peals and chops potatoes. Use one potato for each person. The potatoes go in a big pot with enough water to cover them. Then he chops some onion which goes in the pot with a good dose of salt and some allspice berries. Allspice is an acquired taste, but it is very authentic. For real Scandinavians, use a berry per person. For more southern races, cut back by a berry or two. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer it for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Next, add some fish. Any whitefish will do, but freshwater fish like pike or walleye will invoke the mid-west. Use about a half pound per person, cut into bite sized pieces. Freshwater fish tend to have a lot of tiny bones that are no fun at all to eat, so be careful cutting up the fish. Simmer for another 15 minutes until the fish is flakey. This is the point where you need to make sure the pot does not boil. Watch it like a hawk and stir gently.

When the fish is right, toss in a handful of chopped dill. Turn off the heat completely, toss in a knob of unsalted butter and let any simmering bubbles fade. While the soup settles, mix a cup of milk with a cup of CannaCream. Stir the pot while you add the milk and cream mixture. If the soup is too hot, or you add the milk and cream too quickly, the milk will curdle. Do not let that happen!

Turn the heat on very low and let the soup warm all the way through. Serve with a chunk of dark bread and accept the heart felt "Tak fer Mel" from your guests. After the meal, you can organize your grasshopper hunt. Send the little critters over to Ireland.




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