Looney foods and kooky cookin’

Lately I’ve began learning the rudiments of how to feed myself. That is, I’m teaching myself to make the thing they call real food. The problem is my memory isn’t quite what it used to be and cooking is a veritable treasure trove of pitfalls and easy mistakes. Since I have to write it all down anyway, I thought I might as well put my notes online.

Secondarily, I have great trouble learning things from the bottom up—I’m a strong top‐down learner myself. That means that your typical cookbook just doesn’t cut it for me. While culinary folklore and tried’n’true recipes are obviously necessary, I’d rather get a feel for the generalities from the start. Techniques, tricks, sensible combinations of ingredients, that sort of thing. Since I largely have to learn these by myself, it makes sense to write about that side of cooking as well.

For now this project lives on a single page and is more of a culinary notepad than a readable text. I imagine I’ll have to beat some structure into it, some day. But that’s then…

Spices, herbs, all that jazz

Interactions and surprises

  • Salty
    • Fat attenuates saltiness
    • Sugar balances saltiness
  • Bitter
    • Food tastes less bitter when warm
    • Salt attenuates bitterness
  • Sweet
    • Sour tastes attenuate sweetness
    • Garlic significantly adds to sweetness
  • Sour
    • Being nervous makes you more sensitive to sour tastes
  • Hot/tangy
    • Chili is chili; even if it’s green, it’s probably just as hot
    • Redder chilies are tastier
    • The ribs are where the heat comes from
    • White bread, coconut milk and dairy products tone down the heat
    • Water will only cool you momentarily; it won’t flush the source of the pain away

Spice mixtures and bouquet garnis


  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In Finnish and in English

Since Finnish is my native tongue yet I mostly operate in English, I sometimes need a dictionary to get my bearings straight.

In Finnish In English
appelsiini orange
chili chili; cf. pepper
fenkoli fennel
härkä bull
jauheliha ground beef
juustokumina cumin, cumin seeds; cf. caraway
kaali cabbage
kana chicken
kaneli cinnamon
keitto soup
kesäkynteli summer savory; cf. savory
ketsuppi ketchup
kirveli chervil
kukkakaali cauliflower
kumina caraway; cf. cumin
kurkuma turmeric
kynsilaukka garlic
kynteli savory; see: summer savory, winter savory
laatikko casserole
liemi broth
liemikuutio broth cube
liha meat
lihaliemi beef broth; see: broth cube
makaroni macaroni
mandariini mandarin
maustepippuri allspice; cf. pepper
meirami marjoram
muskotti see: nutmeg, mace
muskottikukka mace
muskottipähkinä nutmeg
mustapippuri black pepper; cf. pepper
naudan jauheliha ground beef
nauta beef
neilikka cloves
omena apple
paprika paprika
parsa asparagus
parsakaali asparagus
pasta pasta
pata(ruoka) stew
persilja parsley
peruna potato
pippuri pepper; see: white pepper, black pepper, green pepper; cf. allspice, pink pepper, chili
porkkana carrot
porsas pork
possu pork
raavas beef
rakuuna tarragon
riisi rice
rosepippuri pink pepper, pepper rosé; cf. pepper
ruoholaukka chive
ruohosipuli chive
sahrami saffron
selleri celery
sika–nautajauheliha ground beef and pork
sinappi mustard
sipuli onion
sokeri sugar
suola salt
talvikynteli winter savory, mountain savory; cf. savory
tankeriini tangerine
tilli dill
timjami thyme
tomaatti tomato
valkopippuri white pepper; cf. pepper
valkosipuli garlic
vasikka veal
vihannes vegetable
viherpippuri green pepper; cf. pepper