Embracing The Finnish Food Heritage With Writer Matleena Lahti
During her career as a food editor and a writer, Matleena Lahti has explored many variations of Finnish food culture. Based on this knowledge, she creates dishes and moments that remind us of something that has been around forever.
Cookbooks laying around everywhere, pieces of paper with notes on ingredients I’ve never heard of, a lovely scent of something familiar coming from the kitchen. In this house, all of these things are a permanent part of the interior and atmosphere.
I have been invited to have dinner with my friend Matleena and her family, but I have a sense that something more than a meal is taking form. She smiles and agrees: walks in the narrow roads of our ancient home town Porvoo and notes from an old relative’s recipe book have done the trick. A new book is emerging.
”This time I wanted to write about something that has always been around. In dinner tables of my childhood, served as the most delicious dish of a party, or prepared by my grandmother for everyday meals. Finnish food classics would be the theme of my new book: a study of simplicity, flavor and tradition.”
Matleena has researched and explored many variations of Finnish food culture. Coming from a family where there was no limit to the amount of butter in the rice porridge, she has a solid knowledge of what makes something delicious. While ignoring the dietary trends of the modern world, she creates dishes and moments that remind us all of something that has been around forever.
”My work is a constant study and a field for research and sudden inspiration. I feel that the fascination with flavors, quality ingredients and simple beauty has been around forever in our country. It might be hidden at times, buried under winter and lack of green and sunny days, but it can certainly be found from our homes and nature.”
It’s a delight to follow Matleena’s work on her book from close proximity. The recipes seem to take form effortlessly, and stories behind the dishes are as delicious as the subject itself. Working in close collaboration with the photographer, she finds a way to bring out the best of every ingredient.
“I feel that the fascination with flavors, quality ingredients and simple beauty has been around forever in our country.”
— Matleena Lahti
When every photograph has been shot and recipes written, we gather to this beautiful space to view our feelings on Carelian food culture, originated from Eastern Finland where our traditions blend with the Russian ones. She has chosen her favourite flavors and finest ingredients, and the components of everyday meals are carefully turned to an exquisite study of color and form.
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ITEM is a Helsinki based design & lifestyle magazine. We curate and contextualize selections of items, through interviews and stories, which focus on one or another aspect of Finnish art, design, fashion, and wellness.