Monday, October 26, 2009

Finland 2

I can unequivocally state that I've never been in a culture as intent on eating black food stuffs as the Finns. (Even in Cambodia, they stopped short at giant scorpions and tarantulas. Okay, that's a whole other level of fucked up, but I digress.) Perhaps it has to do with the dearth of sunlight, the sky an impenetrable cataract of clouds the duration of my stay, the time of day gauged only by gradations of grayness. Anyhow, I found myself ingesting quantities of black licorice that I never thought possible, especially salmiakki, this salty variant on the stuff: strong in taste as well as in fortitude: you could feel your gums developing muscles.
Another day, my hostess offered me a chocolate that when I bit into it, oozed out what she translated as "tar." Tar? In chocolate? It left an ashy streak on my skin and stank like Pine Sol, leading me to think that the confection was actually filled with pine tar. Meaning, what major leaguers rub all over their Louisville Sluggers is what counts as a delicacy here.
Nothing can possibly top the sight of mustamakkara (a/k/a black sausage) though: