Normally, if I get invited to dinner anywhere and the host asks me if I have any food allergies or if there's anything I don't like, I'll respond with something like "I like everything but mushrooms." This is far from true, but it conveys the fact that if there is one thing I would be fine with never putting in my mouth ever again, it's mushrooms. They're slimy and mushy and they grow in nasty places. Blech.
So imagine my surprise when, after a successful afternoon of hunting yellow foot mushrooms near Vantaa, I not only tried but enjoyed a soup made by our friend Elina and her mother Tarja that prominently featured mushrooms. It also featured butter, onions, cheese, cream, pepper, and some other ingredients I didn't catch, but to eat anything that can legitimately be described as "mushroom soup" was a huge step for me.
I've also begun to be a coffee drinker for the first time since we moved to Finland. I never used to see the point of trying to drink a scalding hot cup of bitter liquid first thing in the morning, but I think I'm starting to get it. (It's the caffeine, right?) When I started setting up meetings with people related to my research project, so many of them would ask if I wanted to meet up for coffee that pretty soon it was just easier to acquiesce than to come up with a reason why not. Lyndsey tells me that Finnish coffee is bitter and a bit weak, so I'm looking forward to trying American coffee when we get back and comparing them. I feel so sophisticated.
But please do not think my personality is coming completely unmoored. I assure you that even though I have a new appreciation for coffee, I still consider mushrooms to be mostly gross. I have also not become so sophisticated that products like the Arizona-ateria are still powerfully appealing to me. There are posters for this thing in bus stops all over Helsinki right now and I am considering suing the advertiser because I cannot stop thinking about this specialty cheeseburger long enough to get any work done and I consider this to be a disability for which they are responsible. Sooner or later some evil genius is going to bring either Hesburger or Schnitzel Planet to the United States and bring the country to its diabetic knees. Oh man, I wish I were in a Schnitzel Planet right now...
No! I have to focus. The public library policy of Finland isn't going to research itself.