De Maupertuis The degree measurements by de Maupertuis in the Tornionlaakso Valley 1736-1737
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The Lapps
Observations on nature
Religious life




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 of others….
(Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North, p. 299)

Réginald Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North in the Years 1736 - 1737:

On Finnish food (p. 282)
On spices (p. 304)

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