A recipe for a popular Norwegian soup called brennsnut, which translates into “burnt snout,” because the soup is to be served piping hot. This is a specialty from my region of Sunnmøre, and every household has at one time or another incorporated this dish into their weekly dinner menu.
Fastelavn (our Fat Tuesday) has come and gone, but they always remind me of berlinerboller. These deep-fried no-hole doughnuts are made from sweet dough, are often filled jam or vanilla custard, but sometimes have no filling at all, and then rolled in sugar. I love these way more than I love the traditional cream puffs (fastelavnboller in Norwegian, semla in Swedish). I don’t often make or eat fried food, in fact, if I make these once a year, that’s often, and I suppose why these decadent pastries are even more satisfying.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Norwegians hold a record as one of the most enthusiastic cake bakers in the world. We also love to eat cake more often than not. I find our cake culture very special, particularly in Sunnmøre, where I’m from. This is where the tradition is particularly strong. It’s not uncommon to see 20 different cakes being brought out to the table at any one festivity such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings or holiday celebrations.
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.