BLOG: And that’s two abstracts sent in over a day before the deadline!

The French version of “Let It Go” is “Libérée, délivrée” which more or less translates to “I’ve been freed/become free” rather than “let it go” and I am currently singing that song in my head. Actually, I shall put it on Spotify because I am not a good singer, even in my head.

I am currently singing that song because I submitted two abstracts to two conferences a few minutes ago – a whole day and a bit before the deadline! One is about innovation pathways based on a systems approach applied to the Finnish bioeconomy and the other about taking into account consumer behaviour in the development of bioeconomy products. I have good hope to have the first one accepted but the second one is a bit of a long shot – more popular conference, not my main field of study, but let’s see!

In any case, I am quite glad to have that off my plate as I agonised hours, if not full days, over those short texts. Even on days when I was not working on them, they still sat at the back of my head. Now I am that little bit lighter and I hope to carry that feeling of accomplishment that I am feeling right now till at least this weekend (we’re only Wednesday though). I am not even freaking out about the fact that the whole work email system is down and has been down since this morning! I am not feeling that impostor syndrome all that much! I shall sleep so well tonight!

 

BLOG: “C’est pas sorcier” and Jamy the other science guy

This week the ComSciComCa twitter account reminded me of one of my favourite shows while growing up – C’est Pas Sorcier. Imagine that Bill Nye science program from the 90s meeting the early Mythbusters series… but in French and all set in the back of a large truck. Ah! Jamy, Fred, Sabine and “la petite voix”! Oh, and they also sometimes covered history and geography and other non-science subjects.

All the science bits from episodes that aired from the mid-90s till 2014 have been made available online to further share the joy and nostalgia. I promised myself that I’d have that in the background during the weekend but it was never the right time to be watching something, even in the background… such a good opportunity to marathon the heck out of those episodes gone!

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Of course no science teacher ever had us watch C’est Pas Sorcier in class but we did have a history/geography teacher who used an episode or two of Le Dessous Des Cartes in class – another brilliant show!

BLOG: About that cricket bread

A simple search for “Finland + cricket + bread” will tell you all about Fazer’s cricket bread so I’ll just give you a personal take on it here.

First of all, it’s not available in every shop but I live and shop in the city centre of Helsinki so there are shops that carry it – hooray for that! First hurdle overcome! The second hurdle were other people who also wanted to try the cricket bread and kept on buying it before I could get my hands on some. Eventually the frenzy died down and there came a day when some bread was left at the time when I go shopping after work. Second hurdle overcome! I had cricket bread, for 3€ and a bit for a loaf. (Side note: now that the craziness of the first days is gone, there is always some available.)

The packing looks quite normal – a bit of green, a little cricket on there. The ingredients of course tell you that it’s not 100% cricket, it’s different kinds of flour, including 3% of flour made of ground crickets. That said, 3% is already a good start in terms of adding protein that have great potential to contribute to sustainability.

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Now for the taste – it tastes like regular mixed-flour bread. I’m not exactly the best person to try and describe what makes bread good, I generally don’t even eat that much bread… but I can tell when a baguette is good or bad (I have strong opinions on which boulangerie makes the best baguette) and know that not all rye bread is good. I could not taste anything strange, there weren’t any bits of insects that would add extra crunch. It was just regular bread, which is exactly what I think they are going for and should be going for – they want to show that there is nothing different and can be easily accepted by the population. Heck, I’d argue that taste-wise this is easier for people to get used to than non-dairy milk/yogurt alternatives and we’ve seen those soar in recent years.

My conclusion is that I hope that the trend of including insect-based proteins in “normal” (=non-gimmicky-omg-look-I’m-eating-an-insect) food will continue. This bread has the backing of Fazer and they’re a multi-billion € company, they can hopefully develop a sustainable supply chain for insect proteins that can be readily used in food.

BLOG: A running streak in winter seemed like a good idea three weeks ago

Three weeks ago I thought I’d give watching curling a chance and somehow I also decided to start a running streak. The two are absolutely unrelated except that they happened at about the same time. I watched about 10 minutes of curling and saw that they yell quite a lot and it gets old really fast – I switched over to luge/skeleton/bobsleigh events as they’re more stressful but much easier on the ears.

So yes, I gave up on curling after 10 minutes but I can gladly report that my running streak is still going after 20 days and, oh boy, have we had some interesting weather in those 20 days!

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The last time I attempted a running streak it was in September during my holidays in Montreal, that lasted a bit over a week. Before that, there was a 50+-day streak in May/June in Seville with temperatures staying in the 30Cs even during evening and night runs.

This time around I’ve had days with nights at -20C but that got up to -15C during the day, making the running a bit less harsh. I’ve had days with important snowfalls that thawed the next day, leaving a nice ice coating. I’ve had quite strong winds that would seemingly change direction right when I turned around to get back home. Many of the runs were done after work in the dark because the sun still sets early (I hate running on treadmills even more than I hate the cold, hence why I don’t go to a gym even though there is one 200m from my hours). But hey, let’s look on the bright side, I’m now practically certified in the art of layering for any type of temperatures! Five for when it gets below -12C, four if it’s above and it’s not windy.

BLOG: My love for mämmi knows no bounds

Finland has some foods that might appear strange to foreigners, some so strange that some foreigners will refuse to eat them. Yes, I am talking about mämmi that apparently reminds people of poo but is really the best thing about Easter around here (I’m not huge on chocolate). But it’s not poo, not even close! It’s rye-based dessert that’s been through a very slow cooking process and that you eat with milk or cream.

Technically you can get mämmi year round in bigger supermarkets but it will be frozen, there will be only one kind and it will be on some random hidden shelf. Around February mämmi will appear more prominently in the frozen food section and that’s my cue for getting exited* – soon there will mämmi in the refrigerated section and there will be choice! There will single-serving cups and those biiiig cardboard containers and there will be no need to waste time on thawing.

(* by “excited” I mean excited to the point of instagramming the aforementioned prominent frozen food section)

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I personally prefer to get the no-added-sugar kind and eat it with full-fat cream. I’ve heard rumours of there being flavoured mämmis but why would anything want to eat that?

BLOG: The drying cupboard/shelves above the sink

I am back to living in Finland and I have, once again, a drying cupboard above the sink! So simple yet so effective! Those shelves drying and district heating – how I missed you in Seville! No more wasted counter space next to the sink for a drying rack! No more towel drying dishes!

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I know I get excited about small things but honestly all kitchens should come equipped with this… especially tiny kitchens that come in the rental places that I can afford.