A new low in Finnish journalism: Forcing asylum seekers to like our food

by , under Enrique Tessieri

One more time I’m going to show one of the low points of the A2 Pakolais-ilta debate on refugees. Yes, right, it’s the porridge scene where the host Wali Hashi offers porridge to a Syrian family. Not funny but it reveals a lot about the media’s attitude. 

If we are what we eat we do have to be careful when speaking about food. If you don’t like your host’s food it means you don’t like your host. Your host is what he eats.

The way that the Finnish media took the complaint of poor food by some asylum seekers is highly revealing. It shows, in my opinion, knee-jerk ethnocentrism.

If some asylum seekers are dissatisfied with the food don’t we have the know-how and resources to solve the problem? Why make such a fuss over it?

Why shove the issue in in their faces?

If the media gets offended at some asylum seekers because they don’t like the food it shows that we still have a lot to learn about cultural diversity.

Everyone should not forget as well that you are what you eat.

  1. Toiset Soundit

    Oh man, what a low indeed. Is this programme supposed to be a quality news show or what?

    I myself do not like puuro the way it is usually served in Finland, which is by the way, exactly how it is being served in my country, that is to say cooked in milk (or sometimes water) untill you get a liquid sort of snotty substance. Which I do not like.

    I prefer my oatmeal cooked in water until it becomes a firm kind of porridge and then add some berries (mustikkaa or lakkaa). Or I put it in yoghurt or quark. Yummie!

    Food is indeed a very sensible subject and very much so attached to our deepest sense of identity. This goes for Finns and for refugees from Arab or Middle Eastern countries as well.

    You can not just impose a new (layer of) identity onto someone. Acquiring new tastes takes time.

    I for one like lakkaa berries. Today, because in the beginning I found they have an akward taste. But one can get used to many flavours.

    Things however that I will probably never like are mämmi, throwing cream onto virtually anything (a real taste killer!), porkkanalaattiko and … Finnish style puuro.

    I mean, let’s just for one moment inverse the situation: force a Finn to like hommos, baba ganoush, intestins, fried frogs, mussels, snails, or whatever a Finn does not know. Isn’t he or she going to refrain from eating those?

    Let’s just accept people have different tastes. It’s no drama if a foreigner does not like puuro. Finland is a developed country, I’m sure it’s possible to cook up something which the refugees do like.

    I’m sure they like kabab (Finnish national food after all, innit?), pizza (Finns have invented those haven’t they) or sushi (it’s a Finnish word I was told)…


    Toiset Soundit