I can’t imagine a world without bread. Perhaps it’s the Scandinavian in me, but I feel tremendous happiness in enjoying a big hunk of bread, slathered with butter or some other topping, paired with a nice glass of wine. Give me that, and that’s all I knead (pun intended).
Jonsok, or Sankthansaften, is a midsummer marker traditionally celebrated on June 24th and historically a Catholic holiday. Jonsok / Sankthans is named after the baptist Johannes, whose Danish saint name is St. Hans. Religious history describes how Johannes baptized Jesus in the Jordan river, and was the first one who recognized him as the Messiah. The word Jonsok is an Old Norse word which translates to “waking night for Jon” (short for Johannes).
One of my favorite memories from my childhood in Norway is when my mom would make a simple, creamy cauliflower soup for dinner. She would also buy a baguette (white bread—a luxury in my home) and we would slather it with butter and eat the soup with my mom’s homemade saft (a fruit concentrate blended with water) that were pressed from red and blackcurrants we grew in the garden. Nothing could be simpler, but yet it seemed like a really special meal to me.
Now that Easter is officially over, we’re at full speed ahead preparing for May 17th, Norway’s Constitution Day and easily one of the most celebrated days of the year for Norwegians. This made me think of potato salad, the most classic of dishes served no only on this day, but in the weeks and season ahead.
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The time of the year has come yet again when Norwegians either flock to their cabins in the mountains or vacation homes by the sea, read crime novels, eat oranges and chocolates called kvikklunsj (think Kit Kat but 10 x better). Many people take an entire week off from work and regular life to celebrate the return of longer days, the disappearance of the snow (yet we’d still like it on the mountains so we can ski), and the sight of the sun again.
With the first day of spring officially here, I start thinking about foods that resemble sunshine. In Norway, we celebrate the return of the sun after a long, dark winter and the northern lights are replaced by the midnight sun. That doesn’t mean we switch out our drinks though, as coffee is just as popular in the summer as it is in the winter.
With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, I started thinking about all the green food I truly enjoy and my mind came to kålruletter or stuffed cabbage leaves which is a classic Norwegian dish. Typically they are stuffed with ground pork, but since pigs are my friends, not...
Fastelavn is celebrated the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating the days before Lent. Often referred to as the Nordic Halloween, children will dress up in costumes and gather treats for the fastelavnfeast. Although we don’t see as much of this tradition in Norway, it’s still practiced in Denmark, who I think are the masters of fastelavn and are known for parades and festivities across the country.
Who has heard of kringle? The kringle is a popular Scandinavian pastry here in the U.S. among those familiar with Nordic cuisine. Often times referred to as the Nordic pretzel because of its similarity in shape, it is said to have arrived in Scandinavian in the 13th century with the Roman Catholic monks. Denmark might be better known for its kringler, and although I’m Norwegian must admit the Danes perhaps have a slight upper hand on coming up with creative varieties of this delicious knot-shaped pastry. The Danish are thought to be the ones who brought kringle to the United States too, so kudos to them for that!