Due to the harsh climate, traditional Finnish cuisine included many grains and berries. Today contemporary Finns enjoy a wide variety of modern foods typical of Western Europe. Hunting and fishing are popular in Finland, with fish, moose and deer plentiful, but restaurants also serve reindeer.
What about fast food? Familiar chains sell hamburgers, pizzas and TexMex in Finland, too. The pizza came to postwar Finland and is here to stay; there is a pizzeria on almost every block, as well as in cafes, service stations or supermarkets.
Sociologists have noted that the good old tradition of family dinners is fading fast, at least on weekdays. Family members coming back from school or work take what they find in the fridge and eat it in front of the television.
On the other hand, Finns have adopted a new relaxed way of meeting friends at weekends and during their free time: they cook meals together or each visitor agrees to make and bring some part of the meal to the joint table. In this sense, the tradition of home cooking is coming back, although it does mean that it's the quick, handy and modern dishes and not the classic cuisine which are popular.
In a way, pastries filled with meat, jam or rice are an age-old Finnish 'fast food', as is the nourishing rye bread taken to the field or forest for a snack. The top of a rye loaf was cut off and a hole made in the middle; this was then filled with butter and the top put back on. An excellent snack.
Sausage is the basic Finnish fast food. According to a saying 'A Finn is never too full not to eat a bit more sausage'. Grilled sausage is served at every jazz, rock and other music festival, and at sports meetings, fairs and agricultural shows.
Sausage stalls attract hungry night birds. Sausages are served hot, and the big, man's fingersized sausages are spiced with homemade mustard. Stalls now offer hot dogs, pastries, French fries and some stalls even take pride in their garlic flavored fare.
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This page modified January 2007
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