If the conditions of the Lapps were meagre, life was not easy for the
settlers either. The Frenchmen noticed with appreciation the perseverance
of the Finns and their modest diet: dried fish and sour milk diluted
with water. Sometimes there were dry barley cakes on the menu, too.
In the lakeside villages barley cakes contained half barley, half straw,
but on the palates of the hungry Frenchmen the cakes tasted miraculously
good. In more well-to-do households barley bread, meat, fish, milk,
cream, butter and cheese were served. Also a lot of tea was consumed.
Ale was a common drink. Wines, especially red wine, were hardly known
of . Red wine was taken for sheep's blood. Sugar, saffron, ginger, lemon-
and orange peels were used as spices, and bread was spiced with cumin.
Salmon weir. Drawing of the dissertation by Anders Hellant 1738. (Tobé. Anders Hellant, p. 168)
The only Finnish interpreter of the French expedition was Anders Hellant. As it was impossible for him to be in two places at the same time the Frenchmen learnt some Finnish to be able to greet people and ask for food in the Finnish language. The French had a cook from France with them. They purchased local products that were offered in plenty because the Frenchmen were renowned for paying a good price. The wine they had brought with them from France ran out but they bought spirits and ale from the locals or were presented them as gifts. Outhier writes
beer, brandy, and water from the river, supplied the
place of wine ; and if some things were wanting, we had a superfluity