Halgrimson: Chef to add Finnish-ing touchesFrom Friday through Sunday, area Scandinavians, as well as some from throughout the country, will gather to celebrate their heritage at the 32nd annual Scandinavian Festival.
By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM
From Friday through Sunday, area Scandinavians, as well as some from throughout the country, will gather to celebrate their heritage at the 32nd annual Scandinavian Festival.
The event will be held at the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, formerly known as the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Center, at 202 1st Ave. N. in Moorhead.
One of the many presenters is Beatrice Ojakangas, a well-known authority on Scandinavian cooking. Her book “The Finnish Cookbook,” which was first published in 1964, is the definitive book on Finnish cooking in this country.
Born Beatrice Luoma in 1934 in Cedar Valley, near Floodwood in northern Minnesota, she was the first of 10 children. Her grandmother, who lived with the family from time to time, refused to speak English, and Beatrice was the only one of the children to learn Finnish at home. And, she says, at the Finnish Lutheran Church they attended.
When I asked Beatrice if she grew up on a farm, she said, “Yes, I grew up on a farm, milked cows, shoveled manure in the winter, ate venison most meals, learned to cook on a wood stove, picked wild berries, peeled popple trees in the early summer, did all the things farm kids had to do. …. In the summer we went swimming in the St. Louis River.”
As an author, teacher and consultant, there’s not much she hasn’t done. Her achievements include more than 20 cookbooks. Her latest book is called “Petite Sweets” and will be published in October.
She graduated with a degree in home economics from the University of Minnesota. Her first job was as food editor for Sunset Magazine. She has written articles for Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Redbook, Cooking Light, Country Living, Southern Living, Eating Well, Ladies’ Home Journal and Cooking Pleasures, as well as regular columns for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune.
Ojakangas has been featured on cooking shows in Finland. She has been a guest lecturer on several cruise lines. She has opened a restaurant and taught cooking classes in Duluth as well as around the country, hosted television shows and consulted for companies such as Pillsbury, Jeno’s and Chun King. She even appeared as a guest chef on Julia Child’s “Baking With Julia” in 1995.
Beatrice has made many local and national television appearances and starred in a five-part series on holiday baking for the Food Network in 1997. It is called “The Baker’s Dozen,” and the show has been repeated every year since then.
She and her husband, Richard, live in rural Duluth. They are the parents of three children and grandparents to eight.
Her cooking demonstrations at the festival will include kaalilaatikko, (cabbage casserole) at 11 a.m. on Friday; karjalaniirakka (karaliian rice pies) at 11 a.m. and mustikkapiirakka (blueberry pie) at 3 p.m. Saturday; and rieska (flat rye bread) at 2 p.m. Sunday. These are held in the Elm Room on the lower level of the center.
During each of the festival’s three days, Ojakangas will do a Power Point presentation called “Taste of Scandinavia” on the Heritage Stage at the center. And at 1:30 every day, Ojakangas’ books will be available for purchase and signing at the Hjemkomst Center, courtesy of Zandbroz.
Some events take place away from the interpretive center, and on Friday evening, Beatrice will prepare a meal at the Hotel Donaldson’s HoDo Restaurant with the assistance of their sous chef, Troy Johnson.
The menu is composed of Finnish breads, (rye and cardamom), summer soup made with fresh garden vegetables in a creamy broth, salmon fillet with morel sauce, boiled new potatoes and baby green beans with dill butter, and for dessert a whipped berry pudding, or “air pudding,” with a variety of butter cookies.
Seating for the Friday meal begins at 6 p.m. The cost for the dinner is $35, and reservations may be made by calling (701) 478-8888. The HoDo is located at 101 Broadway in Fargo.
For information about the festival, go to www.scandinavianhjemkomstfestival.org or call (218) 299-5452).
Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson