Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mummo's best Kropsu recipe

I was vacuuming today and knocked over the spider plant sitting by the engagement photo of Fanny [Fun-nih] and Sylvesteri, my maternal Mummo [grandmother] and Paappa [grandfather]. Physically, I do not look like my Mummo; however, I do have her sharp eyes and, yes, I have to admit, her even sharper tongue. Nothing went past the eyes of my mummo; she would be sure to comment curtly ....or should I say, critically?..on what she saw. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time among older female meikalaisia [everyday folk] -- more so than my own age group -- and have learned their ways well...

Mummo was a no-nonsense woman. On the other hand, Paappa, who, like my cousin Ari says, was Paappa to us, Vesti to everyone else, but Mies [man] to Mummo, was a much beloved and sought out storyteller. He loved to laugh. His eyes were soft; so, too, his heart. The original painted photo of this engagement portrait hangs on the wall of my aunt Elsa's home in Upplands-Vasby. If not for my dad's idea to convince my mom to come to Canada instead of joining the others going to Sweden, I would be "pratar'ing" Svenska now.

Fanny and Sylvester at the wedding of their daughter, Toini, with 13 of the 17 children my mummo birthed, standing behind them. My mom is 3rd from the left; Elsa tati is on the far left. This photo was taken 50+ years ago. It is summertime. Maybe close to Midsummer.

Here is Mummo's Best Yummy Stuff recipe for Kropsu [oven pancake]. My middle son wrote this recipe down when he was 6 or so because it was one of his favorite dishes, as you can tell from the dreamy clouds drawn around the title. Now in his early 20s, he is a superb cook, baker and chef. The kropsu recipe was one of his first forays into foodmaking; after that, he tried his hand at Chinese fortune cookies, writing each of the fortunes for the cookies with his sister. Fanny's kropsu recipe is our fortune, passed down from Fanny's mother's mother and traveled across the ocean and years. Now it is enjoyed on the shores of Lake Superior, rather than the fields of Juonikyla, Hyyppa, Finland; now it is made by the hands of a man. But maybe Paappa made it, too?

When I was about 6 or so, Paappa sent this postcard to me and my sisters. We were living then in Jumbo Gardens, a semi-rural part of Port Arthur, in the basement apartment of Makela's house. Paappa wrote each of our names under a kitten, adding an 'n' to the end of our names, which then shows ownership. We never met our Paappa as he lived in Finland and we lived in Canada, so this postcard was like a magic portal to his world. When he sent us this card, we believed he was soon sending us these kittens in the mail. We waited and waited but the kittens never arrived, until one day, isa came home from work with a cat that looked an awful lot like the kitten in the middle. We called it Mickey.


marja-leena said...

Lovely memories! The family photo so reminds me of those in my parents' albums! Did you know your grandparents at all? I didn't though I did meet one grandfather late in my teens a couple of times, but it's not real knowing. But our parents' stories are with us, aren't they?

Kropsu must be a pohjanmaalais word. I'm from Savo and know it as uunipannukakku. Hauskaa Vappua! Do you celebrate it in Thunder Bay?

northshorewoman said...

I have known my grandparents mostly from other relatives' stories, although I did meet Mummo Anttila (Fanny) when I was a teen. My older sister and I went to Finland for the 1st time after immigrating (me as a baby; she as a toddler) and we stayed with Fanny. I have lots of stories which I have collected here and there. Maybe we learn more about a person by collecting the stories that others tell? No one dies if her or his memory is kept alive, and so, you learn much about a person even after death.

I have a very wonderful Savolainen friend, Veijo! He is a poet, a wood carver, an actor, a musician, comedian, and overall amazingly creative man. He is one of the artists who contributes much energy to SuperiorFinn Midsummer Festival, as well as to many, many more Finnish events here in town.

Happy Vappu! I did not have time to make sima, but my cousin Ari emailed me and told me: "one bottle of vodka + one raisin and pikasima is ready. That is the most favourite sima in Finland during Vappu."

..the best I have time for right now is a sauna on Saturday at my mom's....