Tuesday, March 20, 2007

making pulla (or booollah, as the case may be)

I asked my honey if I could share this story, and he didn't care. He has taken to bread-baking, and the loaves he created this week were to die for, let me tell you! He is a perfectionist, and if at some time during the process, the concoction doesn't meet his standards, he scraps the whole works and starts again.

Well, he decided he wants to try baking some Finnish coffeebread, and he found a recipe for Pulla in the cookbook he has. This is a typical Finnish coffee bread that my mom called Nisua. It is a sweet bread that is flavored with cardamom. If you've never had it, make friends with a Finn, and perhaps you can coax a piece from them. It's delicious. Or you could just hop skippety jump over to Wuollet's Bakery and buy some from them. Theirs is to die for.

Being that I'm of Finnish descent and spoke Finnish when I was young, he asked me how you say pulla. Pulla is a fairly simple word, as Finnish words go, but it's a little tricky because the "p" is not pronounced like an English "p". It's more of a combination of a "b" and a "p" sound. A hard b, or a soft p, if you will. And the u is not a short "u" sound like in the word under, or a long "u" sound like in the word June. It is a shorter sound, more like the sound in the word "book".

Well, I tried to describe that when I was telling him how to say it, and he was coming up with every possible combination of those sounds. Poola. Bulla. Pooooooolla. Bla. Blooooah. We were laughing hysterically. I wish I had it on video when he stuck his finger in his mouth and tried to say it again, just in case that helped. He tried to tell me that in order to speak Finnish properly and pronounce the words right, you need your mouth full before you speak. I almost fell off my chair, I was laughing so hard. What a riot!

I tried to console him by telling him that at least he wasn't trying to make Karjalan Piirakkat (as I rolled my "r"s enthusiastically). I got a blank stare, and then, yet another version: "boooollah." I hesitated before encouraging him to try to say it once again.

His final comment: "Never mind. I think I'll make walnut bread."

P.S. He woke up this morning, and with a little smile on his face, he asked me, "Boolla?" He is so adorable!


Faith said...

Thats funny. What about sauna? Do you find that people say sawna, instead of sow-na. I believe the correct pronunciation is sowna. People look at me weird when I tell them its pronounced that way. I'm like, I know, I'm Finnish! haha.

daisyaday said...

Definitely. That really makes my kids crazy. Their grandparents had a sauna--it was hot Tuesday and Saturday nights for sure, and got heated for almost any occasion in between. So they are quite familiar with the correct way to say it.

Almost everyone else who does not come from a Finnish background calls it a "saw-na". It's almost not worth arguing about, because no one believes you anyway.

Faith said...

sau·na (sô'nə, sou'-)

We could tell them to look it up online for the correct pronunciation if they don't believe us. But then again, who cares!

Anonymous said...

This post (albeit almost three years old) totally cracked me up! I think maybe you have to be Finnish to find this totally hilarious. The sauna comments also brought a smile to my face. I have actually had someone attempt to correct my pronunciation in the past. Now I just tell people that Sow-na are the real Finnish ones and Saw-na are the fake health club ones with the buckets for water under a big sign saying not to put water on the unit!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Daisy for a very fun and lovely story which gave me happy moment to smile and laugh... My mother baked nearly every Saturday delicious unforgettable pulla for the family when I was a child. We were a Conservative Laestadian family of 9 children in Finland.

I really love your blog!saftwi

Best wishes, Sharon.