Tove Jansson and for me the Moomins have a certain charm that is hard to resist. The simple themes of the books and works are easily enjoyed by adult and child alike and when I saw the Moomins Cook Book the kid in me had bought it before I knew what was going on.
For those who don’t know much about the Moomins a little history helps to set the scene. Jansson wrote the first Moomin book in 1945 and continued the series into the 70’s.
The Moomins are a family of excitable, philosophical and essentially podgy trolls; their poetic and light hearted stories often involve their friends Mymble and Little My and a series of other bizarre and oddly named creatures. They generally wander around forests eating and running from one existential crisis to the next but perhaps this is me reading too much into them?
Over the years there were several Moomin picture books and a series of comic strips and what started out as a light hearted response to the bleakness of World War Two gradually acquired a psychological depth that was better suited to adult readers. What I’m trying to say is basically if you haven’t picked up a copy of one of the books you probably should.
What I didn’t notice when I picked up this book was that it was published in 2010 which happens to be 9 years after Jansson died. So despite Jansson's name appearing first on the banner we actually have Sami Malila’s interpretation of Moomin and Finnish cuisine with some lovely pictures thrown in.
Reading the recipes in detail I really hope this isn’t a great example of what Finnish cuisine is all about though. Some are disturbing to say the least; Snork Maidens Berry Soup, diluted Currant Juice thickened with corn flour, and Little My Sardine Sandwiches, sardines in ketchup with leeks and cheese, don’t exactly inspire replication.
When you get past the Anchovy and Onion Sandwiches or the Oat Gruel you will find one or two interesting little recipes though and I’ll leave you with this gem; Pea Soup with Frankfurters.
1 litre water
2 beef or ham stock cubes
600g frozen peas
1 packet of frankfurters (300g)
1 tsp dried marjoram
100ml double cream
Put the water and the stock cubes into a large sauce pan and bring to the boil. Add the frozen peas and simmer them in the stock until they begin to disintergrate.
Cut the frankfurters into small pieces and cook them slightly in a frying pan. Add them to the soup and allow the stock to simmer on a low heat.
Season with marjoram and finish off with a drizzle of cream.
What’s not to like about that?
The last picture is actually from The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My. I just wanted to show you how the drawings normally appear...