Norwegian foods

Today I woke up in serious agony, and have decided I am pretty much staying put in bed today. Flicking through blogs and Facebook I came across a picture of some Norwegian traditional meals that gave me immediate aching cravings and an excuse to reminisce (and be all global citizen about it and write a little post). What is so beautiful about food is that it’s part of what you grew up with, it’s your history and so much a part of your memories. I remember going to the little corner shop after school to buy cinnamon buns with friends, eating “grøt” with Eidi’s family at too many occasions, having “end of school year” breakfast feasts with prawns, mayonnaise and white bread with my classmates and parents, having waffles at every event ever in Norway (sports days, national days, boat trips, etc.) and so much more. I never had the full specter of traditional meals like my other friends though, as my parent’s are English. To be honest, some of the meals I know of that I have missed out on and don’t feel any strong connection to, I am awfully happy about. I do not joke around when I say Norway has some of the worst food I have ever tasted in my life, including “gammalost”, Salty Liquorice, “Tørrfisk” snacks, Akehvitt shots with a Christmas meal and more. I have also been lucky enough never to have tasted the famous “Lutefisk”, which is globally known as the worst thing you could ever put in your mouth, ever. Norwegians are a bit mad when it comes to food, but a lot of the time they get it right. I would argue some of the best foods come from this country, and what I associate with their food is it being fresh, healthy, rustic, and often mirroring the landscape and resources of the local area. My area for example in Bergen is by the coast and so fish is one of the big influences in their cooking and traditions.

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What I really miss right now (and what you should try if you travel to Norway):

Lefse“: is a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread made from potato, flour, butter, milk and cream. There are many variants of it used in different scenarios, but my favorite is the sweet lefse, rolled up with butter, sugar and cinnamon. They are so simple and delicious, a perfect Norwegian snack. These things are often marketed to the tourists, and I can see why! the lefse goes far back in Norwegian history. My fondest memory of lefse is when I watched them make it the traditional way on a round stone table at Stend during the Christmas markets, and having them during the ferry crossings over the fjords.

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Photo not mine. 

“Grøt”:

“Rømmegrøt”: a type of porridge made from sour cream, whole milk, wheat flower, butter and salt. However, it isn’t the creamy porridge that makes this meal, but the amazing accompaniments that come along. On top you drizzle cinnamon and sugar, and a good dollop of butter (which proceeds to melt and blend with the goe, creamy goodness of the porridge). In addition to this it is normal to have some good fatty hams and meats (like type of “spekepølse”).

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Photo not mine.

“Risengrynsgrøt”: Similar to the rømmegrøt, but made with rise and milk, and has a thicker consistency. Sugar, cinnamon, raisins and butter are sprinkled on top of the dish, similarly to the other porridge. This dish has Norwegian Christmas written all over it, as well as other occasions like the 17th of May. Traditionally, at Christmas, the whole family and guests will eat this, and particularly the kids will it it at a ferocious rate (often getting through more than one or two helpings). Why? To find the almond put into the big pot at the start of all the servings. If you find it, DO NOT SWALLOW, because when you can choke it up and show it, you win the prize: a marzipan big. This “grøt” is what the Christmas “nisser” (barn elves) love to eat too, and there are even songs we used to sing about it when we were kids (google “På låven sitter nissen”).

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Photo not mine. 

Vafler“: ahh the heart shaped goodness of the vaffel…. One of my favorite things ever. Made with a batter similar to pancakes, it is cooked between two metal plates of a waffle iron, which is what gives it the beautiful heart shaped form. The best kind is when you have it with a dollop of sour cream and raspberry or strawberry jam, or with brown cheese and jam. Or even better, home made jam with fresh berries.  YUM YUM YUM YUM.

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Photo not mine.

“Cinnamon buns”: Not necessarily invented in Norway, but these things are a beloved tradition. My favorite is also the ones with the yellow vanilla yolk center.

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Photo not mine. 

“Skiver og knekkebrød med pålegg”: Okay, I’ve already told you guys about this one on more than one occasion, but I love it so much. Also this post seems to be heavy on the sweet, cinnamon induced stuff, so need some savory favorites too. Norwegians just know how to do breakfast and lunch right. Jarlsberg cheese, Mills Kaviar, Mackerel in tomato, patés etc. It’s just all too good.

Delicious breakfast

“Prawns and white wine”: There is something special about this tradition to me. I don’t know if it is because they save it for the sunniest, hottest days of summer, or if it is the tranquility of the ocean and coast (you often have them by the sea), or the simplicity of it. Freshly peeled prawns and a good mayonnaise on white bread with a good crust is heaven in your mouth. Or if you are extra cheeky you might have some scrambled egg on the side too. Whenever you have this though, you always feel so relaxed and vibing life.

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Photo not mine. 

Grilled mackerel: or anything grilled really! With fresh new potatoes, salads and anything else your heart desires on a barbecue. Again, a lovely summer tradition that is associated with summer holidays, relaxing, friends and family.

2 thoughts on “Norwegian foods

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