Thinking out of the box - Crayfish at Christmas!

Vanligtvis har vi ju kräftskiva i augusti då det fångas kräftor här. Alla tycker inte speciellt mycket om julmaten och varför inte äta på julen det man mest tycker om som t e x kräftor, när dom ändå är tillgängliga året runt i affärerna. Dukningen kring min kräftskiva i augusti skulle lika gärna passa till julen. Använde i min dukning Arabia's Lumia servis samt röda Mariskoolar för servering av dill, även kristallglas och vita dricksglas från Ikea. Marimekkos kaffekoppar är stora och fungerar fint för handtvätt med citron i. Har min mormors gamla broderade kökshandukar som haklappar. Tycker det blev jätte tjusigt. Blommorna är plockade i min egen trädgård. Har köpt en stor vit linneduk i Tallinn.

Normaalisti pidetään rapujuhlia elokuussa kun on rapusesonki. Kaikkihan eivät pidä perinteisestä jouluruuasta niin miksi ei voisi syödä rapuja jouluna kun niitä kuitenkin on saatavilla ympäri vuoden. Pidin rapujuhlat elokuussa ja minusta tämä kaunis kattaus sopisi myös mainiosti jouluksi. Olen käyttänyt Arabian Lumi astioita sekä punaisia Mariskooleja tillille. Marimekon Hyvässä Seurassa kahvikupit sopivat hyvin vedelle ja sitruunalle missä voi pestä kädet. Kristallilasit ja valkoinen pellava pöytäliina ovat Tallinnasta. Valkoiset maitolasit ovat Ikeasta. Mummoni vanhat käsin kirjotut keittiönpyyhkeet toimivat hyvin

I just got the idea from my beautiful table setting last august from our crayfish party at home, why couldn't this work at Chrismas? Many don't like the traditional Christmas food anylonger and wants something else to be served. I have used white plates from Arabia (Finnish Design) and red bowl from Marimekko for dill, crystal wine glasses from Estonia, white glasses from Ikea, Marimekko's large coffe cups for water and lemon to wash your hands, the linen tablecloth is from Tallinn, Estonia. My grandmother's red embroidery work kitchen towels as bibs. Isn't it beautiful?

Here are some history of this tradition:

When summer changes into autumn and evenings are growing darker, yet you can still feel the warm breath of summer in the air, it is time to arrange the traditional crayfish party. Officially crayfishing season starts from the 21st of July and finishes at the end of October. The history of crayfishing dates back to the classical period, and is mentioned in the writings of Aristoteles. At that time, with the exception of Mesopotamia where crayfish parties were arranged, crayfish were not a delicacy and were used as a medicine for different complaints.

In Europe, crayfish were first eaten in monasteries where fasting lasted hundreds of days, and meat was forbidden. The Monasteries had their own ponds for crayfish and fish, and during the Lent tens of thousands of crayfish were eaten. In medieval times crayfish were very common food, and along with shellfish and mussels belonged to the dietary of the peasantries. In Finland, the oldest notes making reference to crayfish, date back to 1556 when King Gustav Wasa made inquiries about introducing crayfish to the waters of Ahvenanmaa.

In the 1800's crayfish became a fashionable delicacy, which began in Paris, and it is said that Napoleon himself started the fashion. The fashion-conscious middle-class Parisians ate so many crayfish, that it almost resulted in the disappearance of crayfish from the rivers of Central-Europe. From Paris the fashion spread to other European capitals and to St. Petersburg. In Finland the tradition came from Sweden and also from St. Petersburg's high society, who visited Finnish resorts and indulged themselves with crayfish. The demand for the consumption of crayfish increased and in the peak year of 1900, Finland exported 15 million crayfish. At the beginning of the 1900's crayfish pest, which originated from North-America, collapsed the crayfish stock and ever since then has not been the same. Nowadays most crayfish come from crayfish farms.

A Crayfish party is a cozy way to celebrate the last days of summer with friends and family. In shops you can find plenty of accessories to help decorate a table for this occasion; table napkins, table cloths, aprons, lanterns with crayfish patterns and crayfish knives. Crayfish is not just meant to be eaten but should be enjoyed slowly, and as a result crayfish parties can last until the early hours. At a Finnish crayfish party short crayfish songs followed by snaps and small speeches to praise the magnificent crayfish, are usually part of the program.

When eating Crayfish one is excused for eating loudly, because sucking and slurping is necessary to fully enjoy the tasty meat and juices found inside the crayfish. Every person at the table should have plenty of serviettes next to them and a bowl of water, containing lemon juice, to rinse their fingers with. Eating crayfish is a messy job! A special crayfish knife is handy for opening a crayfish, and it is not bad table manners to eat the crayfish "butter" with the knife. Crayfish are served from a flat plate decorated with some fresh dill from where everyone can take a crayfish to their plate.

If you serve crayfish as a main course, make sure that there are at least 12 crayfish per person and plenty of freshly toasted white bread. Usually a light soup or salad is served as a starter, and a fruit pie, ice-cream or parfait for the dessert. The drinks served are ice-cold snaps and beer or white wine for those who find snaps too strong. A jug of water or mineral water should also be included on the table. The final ingredient needed to ensure a successful crayfish party is a cheerful mood! Kippis! (Cheers!) (www.finnguide.com)


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