Day three goes to Brooklyn, New York. While writing these I realized I could write about dozens of defining food moments during my time in New York. Kayla’s 27th birthday weekend alone– a true food extravaganza– included four of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had. Perhaps, I will write these vignettes next.
The Dishes That Define Me.
This past semester I completed a “food writing” course at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. For my final project I created a book that illustrates the most influential cities in my life and the dishes that represent each place. Each page describes how these places have influenced my palate. Some dishes taught my tongue a new taste, while others strengthened relationships or created traditions. But what they all have in common is their strong influence over who I am today. They hold a nostalgic presence– each page revealing a new food experience– dishes working together to collectively define me. Flipping through the pages begins to outline my own foodways– what I eat and how that’s influenced by where I’ve been.
It’s my intention that if you are familiar with the dishes, your own food memories flood into mind when viewing this piece. If you are unfamiliar, I hope you will be enticed to try something new. I strive to bring forward nostalgic notes while tempting taste buds. These pages will reveal a bit about myself, but I also hope to provide a mirror for you to reflect on your own food journey– to begin imagining the dishes that define you.
I have decided to share a few pages of the book on here– in lieu of travel posts since we are all stuck at home these days. In celebration of my last week of classes at MIAD, I am starting with Milwaukee, Wisconsin! Hope you all enjoy, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of the book!
Family Time in Norway
This past trip to Norway was full of great family time. We all joined Aunt Anne outside of Oslo for Griffin’s folkehøgeskule graduation.
While I was in Bergen shrimp-picnicing, hiking, and catching up with friends, Grandma and Grandpa were sailing down the coast from the islands of Lofoten to Bergen. They hopped off their boat and met us at the train station so that we could all spend the 17th of May in Grandma’s hometown, Hønefoss. The train ride was very scenic, despite the periodic darkness during numerous tunnels.
Griffin stayed in Hønefoss before he headed out on a trip around Europe with his friend from home. Kayla, Grandpa, Griffin and I enjoyed Ole Magnus’s home brewed beer on our first night in Honefoss– our first time drinking with Griffin. We enjoyed Ole Magnus’s home brew– so much so that by the time we left, his supply had dried up! OJ wouldn’t even put his down while on the slackline– but maybe he just wanted an added challenge.
Kari, Ole Magnus, and OJ were excellent hosts as always. The 17th of May was full of good food, drinks, and people– like it should be. We even lucked out with the weather. The day began with the traditional champaign breakfast, followed by the Hønefoss parade.
The rest of the day was spent celebrating– grilling, eating, and drinking with family and friends.
One of the highlights of the trip was getting to wear Grandma’s bunard for the third time. This is a traditional Norwegian dress made of wool and embroidered with regional designs. Grandma embroidered hers herself when she was a teenager. She’s worn it for countless celebratory occasions, my mom was married in it, and now I’ve gotten to wear it three times.
Even though they couldn’t make it for the 17th, Knut Harald, Nina, Jacob, and Josefine came to visit afterwards. We had yet another great day of sun, good food, drinks, and relaxation. It was great to see (almost) everyone from the family this trip.
I went into these two weeks knowing that my sugar and carb intake was going to skyrocket. Ice cream, pastries, candy, bread… it’s all part of the Norwegian experience. I decided that I can afford a food bender once every two years, and I made sure to properly document it.
It’s no secret that I am a bit ice cream crazy– but when in Norway, this amplifies. There’s nothing quite like Norwegian ice cream– my favorite: soft-is. It’s like soft-serve ice cream, but so much tastier. Think of your favorite custard, imagine it being 10x better, and that is soft-is. And what makes soft-is complete? The toppings. My favorite topping is the chocolate– it tastes like a sweet cocoa powder. When I want a bit of a mix, I usually pick half Oreo half chocolate. Besides from soft-is, there is småis, which include a variety of packaged ice creams. My personal favorite is the krone-is which is comparable to a drumstick ice cream cone. And lastly, my trip to Norway wouldn’t be complete without trying one båtis (boat ice cream.) This was my go-to daily ice cream during my first 1-month trip to Norway as a 4 year old. I have to admit, I remember it tasting better as a kid.
There are a lot of buns and pastries in Norway, but my favorite is Skoleboller or Skolebrød (school bun/bread.) This pastry has a custard center and coconut icing topping. It’s by far my favorite Norwegian sweet. Most skoleboller are great, but nothing beats homemade. I am still left craving the buns we made in Lofoten, and most of all, Grandma’s homemade skoleboller. The other pastry I had on this trip was a solboller, or sun bun. This is similar to the school bun but without the coconut topping.
In Norway, there’s a term ” pålegg” which refers to all types of things that can go on bread. This term is used often, because Norwegians eat a lot of bread. Ole Magnus helped coined the english version of this concept as “on-bread.” I had a lot of bread, with a variety of on-bread during this trip. Kayla and Brandi made a fresh bruschetta which was a perfect evening patio snack. Grandma and Grandpa bought shrimp for a shrimp feast one evening which is by far my favorite on-bread. (Yes, I lucked out and got two shrimp feasts!)
Although not documented as well– I tried a fair amount of delicious beer, wine, and spirits. Brandi, Kayla, and I did a local IPA and Sour beer tasting in Trondheim. Ole Jørgen brought over his Bareksten Botanical Gin which is the first gin I have ever enjoyed. We sipped on gin and tonics until we went to a great natural wine bar, Spontan Vinbar. We shared two different (both fantastic) bottles of rosé. And I must mention Ole Magnus’s home brewed beer in Hønefoss. He had a British bitter, a Boston Lager, and a Chili Stout– all three were great! They even got Grandpa’s seal of approval– which is a big deal. Beyond alcohol, I had lots of coffee. I enjoyed cappuccinos, chili-mochas, espresso, and lots of black coffee.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Norway without cooking over fire at least once. This time, we made both pizza and chocolate-stuffed bananas. The pizza was great– especially because of the company of many great friends. (More on this later). I realize the picture of the banana is blurry, but it needed to be included. This is one of my fire favorites, and Vigdis was nice enough to bring them along for our fire.
There are a few things out there that are distinctly Norwegian. The first, pictured below in the bowl, is rømmegrøt. This is a smooth but thick porridge made from sour cream, milk, flour, and butter. It’s not one of my favorite Norwegian dishes, but it’s sooo Norwegian. If you load it up with a dollop of butter, a hefty amount of cinnamon, and enough sugar, it becomes simply a vessel for sweet goodness.
Although I don’t care for hotdogs, I make sure to get a few øst-pølser each trip. These are delicious cheese-filled “sausages” that put shame to hotdogs. Even the mustard– a condiment I don’t usually like– is different, and makes the pølser experience perfect.
Norway has a lot of candy, but over the years I’ve focused my interest down to one type: Black Licorice. I made plenty of stops to the bulk candy section of grocery store to load up my paper bag with licorice spirals.
And lastly, there’s lefsegodt. Lefse is a potato flatbread, and lefsegodt is this flatbread layered with butter, sugar, and sometimes cinnamon. How can you go wrong with that? It’s even better enjoyed with a view at the end of a hike!
Overall, this trip was full of great food, most of which was enjoyed outside under the sun. I had just about enough of my favorites to tie me over until next time.