Recipe Box: Making Mojakka

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Mojakka origin

Mojakka is a fish soup originating in the region of Kalajoki, Finland and dating back to the days when the fishermen set their nets in the Gulf of Bothnia from sail and oar boats and spent several weeks in late summer away from their homes and villages on the sea and at fishing camps. It was cooked by fishermen over a fire at fishing camps during their midday breaks between pulling and setting nets at sea. In its original form, it contained whitefish or baltic herring, butter, salt, whitewash (a flour and water mixture for thickening) and onions. No potatoes or other vegetables were added, as it was a source of pride for the fishermen that they ate only the fish they caught without the need to rely on potatoes or other ingredients for their sustenance.

When Finns later emigrated from this region of Finland (Ostro-Bothnia) they took the word mojakka with them. The original recipe and indeed the meaning of the word have been lost to subsequent generations. Thus, now in regions of the U.S. and Canada where Finnish immigrants settled, one may encounter recipes for beef or venison stews, which are referred to as mojakka.

The word "mojakka" is noted to have had the meaning of "cold wind" or "to feel cold" (mojo ’kylmä tuuli; melu’, mojakka id., mojottaa ’tuntua kylmältä) as mentioned in an analysis by Eino Koponen of the "Etymology of Baltic-Finnish Meteorological Terms" by Lauri Hakulinen.

Randy Karpinen 42 days ago

Superior Notes (right)

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