Sunday, March 30, 2008


Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. -- G. K. Chesterton

Long-time readers of this blog may remember my interest in cheese. We have finally discovered a place where we can get good cheddar cheese: one of the cheese shops in the Hakaniemi market.

More interesting is what happens in the grocery stores. In Finland, if you can find "cheddar" labeled on the shelves, it is usually the orange processed cheese in individually wrapped slices. (We call that American cheese in the USA.) Restaurants also advertise their cheddar cheese on hamburgers, but it is really just this American cheese. In American grocery stores, different colors, sharpnesses, and brands of cheddar are plentiful.

On the other hand, what is called "mozzarella" in American stores is usually found in bags of grated cheese, ready for spreading on pizzas. This cheese is called pizza cheese in Finland. What is labeled as mozzarella is a fine, soft, bright white cheese in rounded blobs, individually wrapped. Even frozen pizzas with mozzarella have slices of that higher-quality cheese on them.

And, the generic label "swiss" cheese in the USA is labeled "emmental" (a specific style of swiss cheese) in Finland.

Finns eat 18.6 kg of cheese per person a year, which is higher than the European average, perhaps because Finnish milk is said to be among the cleanest.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Best investment

If you had taken $100 in March 2003 and bought euros, your investment would be worth almost $160 today.

Even if you had done this three months ago, your investment would have increased over 7% in worth.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Love vacations in Finland?

Finnish Parliament debates proposal for "love vacations"

A proposal by MP Tommy Tabermann (SDP) to grant all employees a paid 7-day "love vacation" once a year led to an exceptionally colourful debate in Parliament on Thursday evening.
Mostly those MPs who had signed the proposal took part in the debate, but also others regarded the idea as recommendable.

According to Tabermann, the purpose of such vacations would be to prevent relations from disintegrating and the spouses from drifting apart.
During the seven days, couples could devote themselves to each other ”both at an erotic and emotional level” and ”find their way back to the path of love in order to find the wellspring of love again”.
Some MPs suspected that the proposal might discriminate against single persons, but others said that a love vacation would be the privilege of all, even the singles and the single parents.

A slight hint of suspicion could be heard in the speech from MP Erkki Pulliainen (Greens) speech, even though he was also broadly in favour of the suggested love vacation. He reminded his colleagues of the fact that the annual 4-week holiday is typically the most dangerous time for relationships.
The proposal was sent to the the Employment and Equality Committee for perusal, with an accompanying note from MP Esa Lahtela (SDP), hoping that one of the powerful trade unions would announce itself as an advocate of the proposal.
Tommy Tabermann is a Finnish poet and author who was elected to Finnish Parliament in 2007.
Prior to his candidacy and election, he was one of the captains on Uutisvuoto, the weekly Finnish version of the popular news panel show "Have I Got News For You".

From Helsingin Sanomat

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Winter in Helsinki, Finally!

Monday and Tuesday produced several inches of snow around Helsinki, and temperatures are predicted to remain at or below freezing through the end of the week. Thus, can we say we finally have winter in Helsinki?

Snow map from Finland as of 5 March 2008 from the Finnish Meteorological Institute