The Language of Cooking

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How I would love to be sitting once again around this cozy kitchen table in Finland celebrating our cousin Leena’s birthday today with the family.  I still fondly remember sitting at the table a few years ago with Leena, her daughter Marja-Liisa, and my daughter Kristina, pouring over and translating the incredible family Finnish recipes.

This is how I think of Leena in her kitchen, wearing her Finnish Marimekko clothes and apron, and busy stirring something delicious.  I miss her cooking!

Leena mixes just about everything by hand and I must say, she mixes as good as any electric mixer!  What she is mixing here is her famous Finnish Slice Cookies, which you have to taste to believe.  They are incredible!

Here is what I learned from Leena’s kitchen besides her wonderful recipes.  I don’t speak Finnish and Leena does not speak English.  So how did we communicate?  Some family members speak English very well and could translate, but what came across to me in such a heart-warming way was that when it came to cooking, there was no language barrier because we could tell what the other was trying to say by facial expressions and hand movements.  We both love cooking and family with such emotion, we just felt like we knew what was being said, and it all came from the heart.

Happy Birthday, Leena!  I’m sure Marja-Liisa will translate this blog for you, so please know how much I love and miss you and can’t wait to see you again.  But I think you know this because we felt that connection together right away.  I think about you all the time and am so happy we are family.

The photo below is one of my favorites of us, even if it is just our hands, but to me it speaks volumes without words.  You knitted these gorgeous gloves for me and we are showing affection in a huge way just by our hand-holding.  No communication with words needed to understand that.  I miss you every day, Leena.


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8 Responses to The Language of Cooking

  1. February 7, 2020 at 7:12 am #

    I love this! And it’s so true. Happy Birthday to Leena.

    • February 8, 2020 at 12:17 am #

      Thank you, Madonna. I know you get it.

  2. February 7, 2020 at 8:30 am #

    One of our favorite cookie recipes EVER … how I would love to meet your Leena!

    • February 8, 2020 at 12:15 am #

      Patrice, you would love our Leena. I wish you could meet her too.

  3. February 7, 2020 at 10:07 am #

    These are the best parts of life! Happy birthday to Leena from Washington State! How do I get some of those amazing looking cookies?

    • February 8, 2020 at 12:12 am #

      Thank you, Margaux. Try the cookie recipe – the link is on the blog! They are the best cookies ever. I think you would love them!

  4. February 7, 2020 at 11:34 am #

    Debbie ❤❤❤ thank you so much for your beautiful words! I just translated this to my mom and we were both crying. My mom (and me too of course) loves and misses you too ❤ You are in her thoughts every single day!

    • February 8, 2020 at 12:08 am #

      Marja-Liisa- Reading this from you and Leena made me miss you both even more. I hope we can all see each other sometime soon.

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