Mojakka cook-off joins Finland’s Urho festivalThe popular St. Urho’s Day Mojakka Cook-Off is back after a year off and is moving from Cloquet to Finland as part of its celebration this weekend.
The popular St. Urho’s Day Mojakka Cook-Off is back after a year off and is moving from Cloquet to Finland as part of its celebration this weekend.
Tasting and judging take place from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church in Finland. Just bring two gallons of your favorite blend for everyone to eat and judge.
Profits from this year’s cook-off will go to the American Cancer Society.
Mojakka (pronounced MOY-a-kah) is a soup or stew popular in Finnish-American and Finnish-Canadian households in the Lake Superior region. It is often known as kalamojakka (pronounced KAH-lah-moy-a-kah) and made with herring, pike, whitefish, or whatever fish may be caught locally. (“Kala” is a Finnish word for “fish”.)
Some cooks make it more like a beef stew (lihamojakka), but add Finnish touches such as allspice for flavoring. Others prefer their lihamojakka as a watery soup with potatoes, rutabagas and other root vegetables.
Entry forms for this year’s event are available at the web site www.mojakka.com, or by calling 729-0821.
There are three categories to be judged: beef (lihamojakka), fish (kalamojakka), and potluck (chicken, pork, venison or other primary ingredients).
Event organizer Tim Winker recently underwent cancer surgery, and wants to give back to the organization that made it possible to survive. “The doctors say they got all of the cancer by removing the tumor,” Winker said. “Fortunately it was found early so the cancer had not spread. All I have to do is checkups every few months to verify that there is no recurrence.”
Winker cancelled the event last year because the regular location in Cloquet was being remodeled. The Finland cook-off is a capper Sunday to a full weekend of events that begin at 5 p.m. tonight.
“It’s a way to bring attention to what really is a regional dish,” Winker said.
It is the 35th annual St. Urho’s Day weekend in Finland. The theme this year is “Wizard of Oz” and organizers are asking everyone in the area to click their heels and say “There’s no place like Finland” this weekend.
The legend of St. Urho is the Finn’s March 16 answer the Irish St. Patrick. Urho is said to have driven grashoppers out of Finland to allow for a bumper grape crop, thus the wearing of purple.