When flavors meld harmoniously under conditions that make sense, when time aligns perfectly with place—sometimes, these fortuitous moments are fleeting. We are inclined to grasp tightly but only when we let go and accept transience, can we evolve. To quote one of my favorite sappy poets Edna St. Vincent Millay in her poem Afternoon Under a Hill,”I will touch a hundred flowers/ And not pick one.”
Today, I was lucky enough to experience Restaurant Day, Helsinki’s answer to bringing communities together through cooking, feeding, eating, and sharing. Over 300 local home cooks hosted their own unlicensed pop-up restaurant around the city—making and selling whatever they wanted out of their homes or in public venues. As patrons, we participated without asking any questions or doubting the good intentions of these restaurant hosts. It was a unique and very beautiful experience. Even if only for a day.
This delicate tray of Finnish goodies made from local, seasonal ingredients was created by art students at the University of Helsinki. Their pop up restaurant was called Torikoju, and the kids were trying to raise money to go to a design conference in Japan. All of the tableware from tray to bowl were handmade. The nettle in my meatball sandwich was handpicked. The lemonade was made with steeped black current leaves. I ate this sitting on a dock facing the Baltic Sea, a stone’s throw (ok maybe more) away from Estonia, in the company of new friends.
Lunch Pairing: Mat Riviere - “The Give In”