August 29, 2012 § 4 Comments
Hello dears! We rolled into Minnesota last night around midnight after approximately 5 bazillion hours of traveling. But we’re here! It’s amazing! Now we have a lot of unloading to do. Uffdah.
But, I had to stop in here quick to share a little bit more excitement. Perhaps you remember the Feast of Nationalistic Proportions I hosted back at the very beginning of summer. Perhaps you don’t. Either way, I am thrilled to say that all this week, a series of articles I wrote about it are being featured over on Food52, one article each day. The brilliant folks at Food52, among their many fun and creative ideas, have been hosting a series called Big Feast. And, my feast is this month’s feast (eee! I’m so excited!!). So, you should definitely go check them out to read all about the planning, cooking, and hosting process of the party.
The first article (from Monday) is: The Big Idea
The second (from yesterday) is: Creating a menu of Nationalistic Proportions
There will be another one going up today, and then another on Thursday, and then Friday. (Yes, that is what one each day means. You probably did not need me to explain that. Forgive me, I’m addled from riding in a moving truck.). So, go read, make, create, enjoy!
Update: Oh look, here’s the third one! Learning to love foraging.
July 9, 2012 § 27 Comments
Hei from Norway! We’re still here for a few more days, but I wanted to pop by here and say hello and show you a little bit of where we are.
I don’t know how many people this is true for, but I know for myself, I rarely feel completely at home in my own skin. Often, I get too busy trying to read others and to be what I think they may want me to be. Or I get too caught up in worrying about the various “why’s” of my existence, especially the big one. Why am I here it all? Ah, the life of the questioner.
June 5, 2012 § 57 Comments
I held my belated Norwegian Independence Day party almost a week and a half ago now, and I have to admit, I’ve yet to come down off of the high that that was. It was so much fun! And so totally epic. I finally have my thoughts halfway in order and my photos fully in order, so I can show you a little bit of what we did!
The meal was 17 courses. Yup. Seriously. 17. 17 plated courses at that. Back in February I got it into my head that this year for Syttende Mai, I wanted to try to explore some elements of the fundamentals of Nordic cuisine and how traditional cuisines evolve by creating a meal in which I would attempt to fuse the traditional Norwegian foods we eat on the 17th of May with the style and principles of the food at Noma. You know, that little ole’ Danish restaurant that has revolutionized cuisine, particularly Nordic cuisine, and is merely one of the best, most famous restaurants in the world right now.
A totally reasonable project for me to work on in my spare time, right? Ok, not at all really. But, boy was it a kick!
August 10, 2010 § 1 Comment
We took Joel for a mountain hike up in Telemark to make sure he had both the seaside and mountain experience of Norway. This wasn’t a piddly little walk, it was a legit hike up the upper part of the ridge of one of Norway’s higher mountains, Gaustatoppen. If there were a description of the hike in a guidebook (actually there probably is one somewhere, but I don’t have it so I’ll make it up), I’d guess it would say something like: ‘On this hike you will be gratified by amazing views of mountains and valleys. In fact on a clear day a hiker can see 1/6th of the entire country from the top of Gaustatoppen. Cherish these views, for you will have earned them. The climb to the top will take a fairly swift group of adults about 2 hours of scrambling over loose scree, exposed above the tree line. You will be going up, up, up, up. An intelligent foreign hiker will take advantage of the excuse of a view to stop for occasional breaks. Once you have reached the top and enjoyed your triumph, you will be faced with the hike back down, on which you will encounter the self same scrubby loose rocks you clambered over on the way up. In the downward direction these rocks are liable to cause spills and the odd twisted ankle. Have fun!’
It was a picture perfect day for a hike, but had we been hiking something equivalent in the U.S. I’d guess we would have run into at most 5 or so other people, and there would have been a book at the top, in which we would have signed our names and been able to read proud accounts from other intrepid hikers. In Norway, as we pulled up to the hut at the base of the hike, we saw an impressive line of parked carves, snaking along the side of the narrow road. Most of them were mini vans. And, as we began climbing it was easy to see why. In Norway, Gaustatoppen is considered a perfectly family friendly hike. It wouldn’t occur to many Norwegians even to wonder if their 3, or 5, or 7 year old would be able to climb up a mountain. Of course they can! What else would a person in their right mind wish to do on a gorgeous day (if you aren’t by the ocean, that is)?! Certainly a hike takes longer if you’re carrying a 2 year old and leading a 6 year old, but parents seem to be perfectly fine with taking the time they need. It’s an opportunity to hunt trolls, chase sheep, and contemplate which types of rocks are best for sitting or throwing or what have you. And if you’re bringing your 82-year-old grandmother with you, well you don’t even need to slow down a bit for her! She’s likely to leave you eating her dust as she jets up the mountainside. « Read the rest of this entry »
August 4, 2010 § 1 Comment
If you’re squeamish, be forewarned that this post contains some pictures of fish being gutted!
Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Send a man to fish in Norway and pretty soon he’ll cry, “Uncle! I can’t handle anymore! Please make the fish stop! So. Much. Seafood.” Really. I swear he will.
I know that we need to be concerned with overfishing, but when you go fishing in the North Sea I can almost guarantee that a little voice inside of you will say, ‘really?’ Fishing in Norway is so far removed from the version of fishing in which you carefully, patiently wait all day for a bite only to be thwarted as often as not, it’s almost comical. It’s like the fish leap into your boat just itching to get out of the ocean. I always feel a little as though I’m in that old Sesame Street skit where Burt and Ernie are out fishing. “Heeeeeeeeere fishy, fishy, fishy!” And in they come flying.
Much of my dad’s family live in Northern Norway and when we last visited them, we got to go fishing from a beautiful wooden Colin Archer sailboat. Down went the fishing line, and moments later up came 5 or 6, 30 kg codfish at a time (well, maybe they were more like half that, but that’s still pretty huge!). Like picking cod off of a big, wet cod bush. And thank goodness for the abundance of fish, for though you can find all varieties of food in the markets in Norway now, for many years fish was what they had. In a country where most of the land is rock, and if it’s not rock it’s a fjord farming was not a particularly dependable way to produce food. So, fish was the main way people survived, complemented by cabbage and rutabagas (later potatoes), and the occasional reindeer!