Friday, December 16, 2011

Norsk Mat - Norwegian Food

Norwegians enjoy some....interesting....culinary creations. Some are legitimately tasty while others I would maturely classify as "barf-tacular". Word on the street (mostly in-flight magazines, so take that for what it's worth) is that Scandinavian food is the haute cuisine du jour.

Immediately upon returning to Norway from a year spent in Scotland we went on a quest to enjoy the Norwegian-est of Norwegian food, to cleanse our palate of that haggis taste and make up for lost time. Here is a collection of our culinary adventures, with a description (and link to a recipe if you speak Norwegian and/or have Google Translate) for those who want to try these dishes for themselves.

Disclaimer: I am a sucky photographer in the best of circumstances, but when there's food in front of me waiting to be eaten I care even less about the quality of my photographs, so don't expect food blog-quality photos here.

Dish 1: Salmon, potato and cucumber salad

While salmon isn't exclusively a Norwegian dish (those Scots sure claimed their fair share of the world's supply) I would say that one of the accoutrements is. Agurksalat, cucumber salad, is a simple side dish that is mainly thinly sliced cucumbers and white vinegar. Being a lifelong hater of all things vinegar, I don't particularly care for this salad, but the pinch of sugar in it does make it more palatable.

Somewhere I heard that there are daily flights from Norway to Japan, to supply them with the freshest, most awesome fish available to use for sushi. Even if that's not true, Norwegian salmon, served cooked or raw, is awesome. This ubiquitous Norwegian fish dish gets a big thumbs up from me (as long as I don't have to eat too much of the salad to be polite).

Dish 2: Lapskaus stew

This dish is called lapskaus, which Google Translate tells me means "stew". I would consider "stew" a classification that encompasses different types, but lapskaus is one specific dish. It includes the cheapest beef money can buy, along with bits of potatoes, carrots and rutabaga. My mother-in-law is about as picky of an eater as a 2-year-old (Lord help me if she ever actually reads this) so this version contained only beef and potatoes. It's plain, it's cheap, it's filling. Everything that Norwegian cuisine, invented before Cindarella went to the ball, is destined to be.

You might be asking yourself: What is that gelatenous, blood clot-looking red blob on the plate next to the lapskaus? If I were more clever I'd throw in an abortion joke here, but alas I am not that bright so you will be spared. That is tyttebærsyltetøy, or lingonberry jam. I love tyttebærsyltetøy, and eat it with pretty much all Norwegian dishes. It adds a sweet little kick to food, like a little dessert with each bite.

I would like to point out an epic Google Translate fail here. It translates tyttebær as cranberries.

Lingonberries =/= cranberries

These are lingonberries:

And these are cranberries:

Ok, that really doesn't help my case much but they are different. Cranberries are bigger, I believe. And more bitter. The Norwegian word for cranberries is tranebær. Norwegian doesn't have many words (literally - only 1/3 the number of words as the English language), so trust me, they wouldn't waste 2 separate words on a single thing. Tranebær are cranberries and tyttebær are lingonberries, and lingonberry jam is the shit.

No Norwegian meal is complete without it. Them. Whatever. You buy it in a jar next to all the other jams so no oppskrift (recipe) will be provided. If you make your own you've got way too much time on your hands, and nobody makes their own. End 'o story.

I'll wrap this up now since my old heart can't take much more berry related stress. Plus I just enabled the new Facebook timeline, or what I like to call How To Stalk Yourself, so I can't possibly keep away from my new favorite thing ever one second longer.

Stay tuned for more featured Norwegian dishes in the future, once I tire of my new Facebook toy. Next time the dishes won't be so kindly looked upon by me. Yes, I'm talking about barf-tacular food!

No comments:

Post a Comment