I might have been the only child ever to be refused from Finnish language lessons. You see while I was growing up, my father did a lot of work in Finland. He would bring me back such exotic treats as Daim bars and books that chronicled the story of a group of pudgy hippo-esque creatures called the Moomins. With all these awesome treats, I became enamored of Scandinavia and I decided I wanted to learn to speak Finnish. (You know, in case I moved there one day to join my soul mates.)
My parents, probably torn between thinking their child was an alien and wondering if this would be advantageous for my future college resume, acquiesced. So one morning my dad and I drove down to the United Nations. We had learned of Finnish language lessons that were held there and, as you can imagine, I was unduly excited. Well, they refused me. They said the lessons were only for children of actual Finnish people. I was heartbroken.
This definitely took the edge off my zeal for the Nordic peoples, though I maintain a soft spot in my heart for Scandinavia, intertwined as it is with my childhood. That's why every once in a while I'll whip up a loaf of this cardamom bread.
In some ways it's a plain yeasted loaf: not too sweet; good for making toast. Yet the cardamom gives it a unique, earthy taste that I've found many people can't identify. Sometimes I bake this bread as rolls, and sometimes I braid it into a prettier loaf. Raisins would also be welcome, though you'll have to stay tuned for my cardamom-currant swirl buns.
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About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.