Pyöreä leipäjuusto paperin päällä. Mustavalkokuva. Round squeky cheese on top of a paper. Black and white picture.

Finnish squeaky cheese ready, Kuivakangas in Ylitornio, Uusitalo, 1957

Picture: Lampinen Riitta, Ethnographic Picture Collection, Finnish Heritage Agency

I was born in the Urals, but I grew deep in Siberia, in the swamps area. I want to say that in those days, people’s everyday life and cooking was similar to that here. For example, people would do ice hole fishing, like in Finland. I know well, my grandfather was the leader of a fishing collective, and when I was a child we went ice hole fishing, we helped to pull the fish up. That big hole made in the ice… everything came to my mind now as if I could see it. It’s all very dear to me. The same is true for food. Take pies for example… Here and in Karelia there are Karelian pies, in Siberia they were called šanežko! They were prepared in exactly the same way: filled with carrots, potatoes and mushrooms. All in all, there were many kinds of fillings. And they were made round. Here they are elongated, in there they are round. In addition, there is squeaky cheese (leipäjuusto), for example. Who would not like it? I have liked it very much since I was a child… We called it, if only I could remember… oh God (remembers)! It was made only when the cows were calving and their milk was thick. It was just fried in a frying pan. Here it is called bread cheese (leipäjuusto), there its name was molozivo. I used to love it. It makes a squeaky sound when you chew it. Here there is also kalakukko (pie filled with fish), in Siberia there is rasstegai. The fillings were just placed separately, the meat and mashed potatoes, then the pie is closed and it is wonderfully tasty… Here I make one if someone asks. I don’t eat it myself anymore. I haven’t liked carrot casserole since I was a child, I can’t stand it. We used to call it morkovnik. But again, I like to eat potato casserole, because one cat add mushrooms and all in there. In general, people all over the world have quite similar approach to life.
S: A rational approach.
I: Quite so. There are small differences, but the idea behind everything… and the food was always organic.