(Roughly) Daily

You eat what you are…


“Taste of Migration,” by Eleonora Ivanova
The different foodstuffs on the plate represent the population numbers of non-Finnish citizens living in the country. Salmon is Swedish and rice is Chinese, but who knows what those picked peppers mean…

What does the demographic shift in Finnish immigration over the last two decades taste like?

Well, if you were to imagine the data as a hot hunk of lasagna, the left side (representing 1990) would be rather bland. But toward the right edge (2011), the spice levels would shoot up, a gustatory signal of all the new ethnic groups moving to the country.

This surreal dish, “Spiced Foreigners Between Pasta,” was on the menu of the recent Open Data Cooking Workshop in Helsinki. Its creator, Symeon Delikaris-Manias, isn’t your usual chef: He’s a researcher at Aalto University who studies esoteric topics like beamforming and parametric audio coding. The pasta-man was joined by other researchers and data geeks who wanted to see Finland’s wealth of statistics translated into something they could chew on…

Participants focused mainly on Finland, but a couple branched out; for instance…

“Age and Language in Lentils,” by Matt Zumwalt
These twin bites are the median age, population size and number of languages spoken in Italy and the United States. The amount of yogurt represents the totality of English speakers and the tomatoes Italian speakers, for example. The number of lentils fills in for population size, and their doneness corresponds to age.

One can tantalize one’s taste buds further at Atlantic Cities‘ “Finland’s Demographics, Translated Into High Cuisine.”


As we re-understand “ethnic cuisine,” we might send communal congratulations to Gerrard Winstanley; while his birthdate is unknown, we know that he was baptized on this date in 1609.  A protestant religious reformer and political activist, Winstanley was leader and theoretician of the group that called itself the “True Levellers,” but is better known by the name their contemporaries gave them:  “The Diggers.”  An Anabaptist anti-authoritarian, Winstanley was committed to securing land for the poor, and led his group in cultivating the commons in Surrey– until they were forcibly dispersed by the “Commonwealth” forces of Oliver Cromwell, who sneered, “What is the purport of the levelling principle but to make the tenant as liberal a fortune as the landlord. I was by birth a gentleman. You must cut these people in pieces or they will cut you in pieces.”

Soon thereafter, Winstanley got involved in the then-nascent Quaker movement; he continued to advocate for the redistribution of land until his death in 1676.

Let reason rule the man and he dares not trespass against his fellow creatures, but will do as he would be done unto, For Reason tells him is thy neighbour hungry and naked today, do thou feed and clothe him, it may be thy case tomorrow and then he will be ready to help thee.

– Gerrard Winstanley



Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

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