Greetings from California!

My name is Anna and I am a health food and yoga enthusiast currently living in Southern California. Born in Finland, I’ve lived in in Europe, Asia and Australasia before the US. Unlike Los Angeles itself, in the Beach Cities, you can cycle everywhere. You can spend a lot of time outdoors on the mountains, or by the sea. I’ll be sharing news and updates once a month. I’ll be writing about Californian lifestyle and my experiences as a Scandinavian.

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I love modern means of communication. It has become so easy to keep in touch with your loved ones, even if there are oceans separating you from them. I arrived to California on a one-way ticket with nothing but a suitcase to my name. But, there are few other similarities between my life and those who crossed in ocean liners. I am not cut off from my family and friends. I have computers, smartphones and other technology – such as this blog.

California is a leading producer of fruit and vegetables in North America. The quality, variety and selection of organic goods available are amazing. A much wider range of options is available here than I have ever seen on the shelves of Finnish supermarkets. But, there is one category that doesn’t even come close in variety and freshness: potatoes. If you got to a store here and try to look for big containers of potatoes sold by weight, you can keep looking. Here, you’d have a hard time even finding ones that aren’t turning green. It is as if America forgot everything they know about storing potatoes.

Yesterday was the first day in weeks that it wasn’t scorching hot, so I decided to make a hearty lamb stew for dinner. It’s my great grandmother’s recipe, and a long time family favorite – lammaskaali. It’s simple to make, and delicious. The main ingredients are lamb, green cabbage and carrots. The interesting thing about this dish is that it’s hard to tell whether it is a soup or a stew. You can simmer it in a pot on the stove, or bake it in a Dutch oven. Some people eat it off a soup bowl with a spoon, some with boiled potatoes and a knife and fork. The name of the dish doesn’t offer any clues either – the literal translation is lamb cabbage.  I decided to send some riddle pictures to a group chat that I have with my family in Finland. Having them guess which favorite dish I was cooking, managed to start a full debate on the soup vs. stew topic. Whoops! Looks like times might change but families don’t!

Have you ever tasted this dish? Which camp do you think is right? Is it a soup, or is it a stew? All I know is that it tasted incredible, even with mediocre American potatoes.

That’s all for now – thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you here again in the future! Let me know what would you want to hear more about? Recipes? Life in California? Culture? Travel tips? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts and suggestions!

Anna Laine
Anna Laine

Anna is a modern explorer and potato enthusiast who lives in California and cycles everywhere with her green bike.