A summer cottage is an essential part of the Finnish mindscape: Finland was urbanized only quite recently, and most of us still feel that our roots are in the country. The Finnish dream contains a summer cottage: a simple dwelling in the woods, by a lake, faraway from the neighbours. On a summer cottage the Finn relaxes, wears some ugly clothing dating back 20 years, enjoys the cool waters of the lake and a hot sauna, rowing trips, inefficient fishing and a barbecue. In the previous days it was also common that the amenities at the summer cottage were quite basic: no running water, just a well, and no electricity even. At the summer cottage, the past is somehow close: old things crowd the cupboards and family secrets crowd the air.
I remember my childhood summers, long and hot, at our summer cottage. My parents, who were quite uncapable of relaxing even on a holiday, worked on their projects, my dad building something or other and my mom expanding her huge kitchen garden. I played on shores of the muddy lake and in the forests with my imaginary playmates, woodland fairies and mermaids, when I didn’t have to help my mom weeding in the garden or picking berries from thorny bushes. My enthusiasm for gardening these days continues to surprise me when I remember how much I hated garden – work as a child!
Now it is the time all Finns who have the opportunity will escape cities to the country, for Midsummer’s Eve – parties and magic! Happy Midsummer to you all!
Sangria may be the ultimate summertime drink. Thanks for the recipe to the playwright Pipsa Lonka!
4 cl gin
2 cl flagg punsch (swedish alcoholic drink)
1 tbsp sugar
2 bottles of light red wine
the juice of one orange
the juice of one lemon
1 l sprite etc. soda
1 dl beer
Plenty of ice cubes made of orange juice
One lemon, one orange and one lime sliced
Strawberries, watermelon, any fruit you have at hand.
First mix gin, punsch, sugar, red wine, lemon juice and orange juice. Let the taste develop for a few hours. Just before serving add the sprite, beer, ice cubes and the chopped fruit.