The recipe booklet The Pheasant: the art of boiling and frying Mänttä style from 1977
Even though Mänttä doesn’t always arouse interest as a food town, it’s clear that the people of Mänttä are friends of good food – they did this year organize for an obvious reason, for the fourth time already, the international food festival Food & Art in the Serlachius Museums. In addition, it’s worth pointing out that the people of Mänttä also have their own food traditions. I found in the recesses of the archive a recipe booklet The Pheasant: the art of boiling and frying Mänttä style from 1977. It presents the culinary elite of Mänttä in a humorous way. Mänttä Press Club has published the booklet.
The main editors of the work are Pekka Kivelä and Markku Soikkeli. Jaakko Ollila has designed the cover. The background colour of the cover is green and it shows a picture of a knife and a fork. The work has been printed at the offset printing house in Jämsä.
Behind the book’s recipes you find some influential persons of Mänttä: for example the city manager of Mänttä Paavo Myllymäki, the chief doctor Aarno Kauppinen, the Director R. Erik Serlachius and Mrs. Eva Serlachius, and the writer Liisa Hännikäinen. The recipes are of many kinds: there are different kinds of game and fish dishes, Christmas foods and desserts. Contrary to what the name of the book might make you think, in the book there are, however, no recipes for preparing pheasant.
The food ingredients have their focus on Finnish potato and fish, and the spices on salt and white pepper. Localness shows itself for example in the recipe for sweetened potato casserole Hämeenlinna style. Localness also at times shows itself in the utensils for preparing food. The recipe “Pilsner willow grouse”, for example, advises you to dry the marinated birds with a Serla Kleenex.
On the other hand, in the recipes you can discern the many-sidedness of the inhabitants of Mänttä and the increase in travelling and living abroad of the Finns in the 1970ies. Here you can find, for example, Mrs. Annaliisa Nousiainen’s recipe “Typical Karelian hapushi”, which is an acidified pasty, and the recipe “Mititei, greetings from Romania” by the writer Liisa Hännikäinen.
The work is also about the utilization of wild herbs, which nowadays has become a trend. For the work, R. Erik Serlachius has written a nettle stew recipe and a note on the good health qualities of nettles. Not only the nettle, but also the potato is a plant with health qualities of many kinds, which the book acknowledges. The title of Kunto Ruokalainen’s recipe “The bachelor’s potency potatoes” hints that the species possibly has other kinds of effects that have been ignored by the nutrition science.
The recipe booklet The Pheasant: the art of boiling and frying Mänttä style brings together some delicious details of Mänttä’s food culture and some linguistic expressions referring to food, and in its own way it’s one of the many pearls of the archive of traditions of the Mänttä Society deposited in the archive of the Serlachius Museums.
The author is at the moment organizing the archive of the Mänttä Society.
Kivelä, Pekka & Soikkeli, Markku (ed.) 1977. Fasaani:keitto- ja paistotaitoa mänttäläisittäin. Mänttä Press Club, Mänttä