We hold occasional internet conferences with friends in Finland. This one had a difference...
Take two groups of people. One group in the UK. One group in Finland.
Agree on a date to have dinner together. Allow for the time difference.
Find a kitchen with internet access.
Exchange recipes over the internet beforehand. Local recipes, preferably.
Set up a chat-room to communicate.
In the beginning...
[UK] Hello, Virtual Finland Organising Committee!
[Finland] Hello from Joensuu, everybody!!!
[UK] Hello, Jeff from Lapland!
[Finland] Do you still have a hangover, Jeff?
[UK] We have countdown to dinner, Houston! Even though it only looks like one person, we are all here: Jack, Maria, Heike, Pam and Pat (the one who loves Spurs and can't wait for Sunday afternoon when they will play Newcastle off the park).
[UK] We have a major problem with whipped berry pudding!
[Finland] We are preparing whets at the moment and drinking beer as an appetizer...
Problems with recipes
[UK] I'm going to start preparing Pashta.
[Finland] Jack, it is called Pasha!
[UK] Damn it! I'll make Pashta first, then Pasha!
[Pat] I worry about the spelling. We have only had one sip so far.
[UK] I had a bit of a problem with milk curds, Virtual Finland.
[Finland] What is milk curd - it is usual in UK?
[UK] What do you mean 'what is milk curd'? You suggested I get it in your recipe for Pasha!
[UK] Over here, the vatrushka is rising with all the soda.
[Finland] SODA? You have had wrong instructions...Well, I hope it is OK...
The UK gets chatty. The Finns get quiet...
[UK] Come on, Finland! Get the beers flowing! Get communicating!
[Finland] We are here, but just in the middle of making this toad in the hole.
[UK] Don't fall into the hole. Have you seen the old British TV series 'Upstairs Downstairs'? They always ate 'toad in the hole' when in a crisis. The social history behind 'toad in the hole' is that it was a recipe that linked the upper classes with the lower classes via the public school system. It was basically poor people's food that depended on the quality of the sausages.
[Finland] I am going for a cigarette. We are very busy making all these delicious food...
[UK] When I was a child my mum used to make potato cakes, with leftover mashed potato and flour and butter. I cannot remember the recipe, but it was a highlight of saturday afternoon teas listening to the football scores. Upstairs the cooking is going on apace, but down here reminiscencing is much more fun...
Time for a break....
[Finland] Now youŽll have to wait before we talk again. We are having whets.
[UK] Bye, bye.
[Finland] Bye for a while.
[Finnjeff] Hey, where are you all going?
[Finland] We'll have some food now and will come back in 30 minutes.
[UK] Back online in half an hour!
[Finnjeff] OK. Bye, all. Back to the sauna...