Food and hunting – Norway is for Vikings
Food in Norway is no joke. It has been concocted to satisfy Viking stomachs and preserved in its original culinary state by following generations. Vikings were heavy weighters, the sort of guys that work out so hard at gyms, their veins pop from their bulky muscles. Violent pillagers, they were, hungry for loot, women and calories. Maybe they just had bad PR but truthfully, you do not visit Norway for its cuisine.
The recent culinary trend toward itsy bitsy portions and tiny hand-crafted meals are not appreciated in Scandinavia. Norway screws culinary and fashion trends alike. Portions and clothing are pushing dimensions.
Food portions are huge, the weather is tough, so are Norwegians. Culinary habits haven’t changed since Viking times, which are not for the wuzzy weakling. Spoiled by mouth-sized petit portions of vegan delight in Asia for the last six months, cooking delicate portions based on vegetables at home… finally had an end. I am growing strong.
Norway is heaven for carnivores and the up-sized, but
hell difficult for vegetarians. Eating Norwegian food means eating rich and salty and all the fat things that can soak up Norwegian beer. Make sure you are ready for fast food, fatty food and candy food or die. In case of cardiac arrest, don’t freak, Norway has got free medical.
Norwegians are bad ass. They are huge personas, they love the rough outdoors and cold weather, they bathe in freezing fjords and hunt down their food. They kill for fun. It’s a national sport, well documented in readily available hunter’s magazines in all convenience stores and gas stations. I was presented with a hunting trophy by a smiling Norwegian, who pulled a bloody deer head out of a big black plastic bag to show off.
Before and after. So much fun.
Norwegians interpret road signs differently.
I would like to share with you what I felt, when the Norwegian presented that deer head. This internet picture of traditional Norwegian food does the job. Here, the head is adapted for restaurant purposes. Norwegians usually eat head straight of the animal.
Norwegian women in Kalvåg are skilled fisherman and always hungry.
It is true, that they eat their catch raw.
Today, Norwegians are pirates.
Pirates serve pirate’s meals. We went for fish, which was available as ‘fish’n chips’ or ‘fish burger’. Pirate portions.
Finished my meal. I was bursting but so was my plate. The D/S Louise is Oslo’s biggest maritime open-air restaurant with prime location down town, overlooking the fjord, city hall and shopping centre. The menu includes shrimp, shellfish, salads, pizza and hamburgers. Loads of salty, crispy, fatty stuff for a lot of dough. Håper dere liker maten.
Norway cuisine=Americanisation of culinary habits. Hot dogs are a runner. Let heavyweight Norwegian beer do the digestive work, like my friend Monia demonstrates, after her meal. She is now a pirate sailing the fjords.
You know what, screw the main meals. In Norway you live on candy and chocolate bars and buns and snacks. ‘Mix’n match’ is not a fashion slogan here. To the right the famous ‘bolle’ bun. It will smell amazing at gas stations because they bake them on the spot to lure you in, but I think you solely buy them for fragrance. I tried one and overwhelmed my taste buds with sweet (chocolate and malt chunks), salty (Norwegians put salt in everything) and spice flavours (cinnamon and/or cardamom – difficult to tell). A firework of oral sensations. And we all know where fireworks belong.
During our stay at friends at Aurskog (who regularly import cheaper food from Sweden), a trip to Oslo, Florø and Preikestolen, we found that Norway had dethroned Japan as the most expensive country in the world. Tokyo was reasonable by comparison. If it wasn’t the much appreciated stay at our friend’s house, by now we probably would’ve sold our kidneys to get by.
Europeans have watery muesli for breakfast, the Norwegian has fleshy meat. Then he runs out into the rain or fog or snow and pulls a plough across his field. All right, I made that up. Norwegians eat bread for breakfast. Norwegians do know good bread. Spread on the salty smør wholeheartedly to get the most out of it.
Here is us at breakfast. If you can only see carrots and cucumber and tomatoes and cheese, it’s because we have removed the game from the table for the photo.
We also visited friends in Florø, which has one café in a deprived shopping mall and some fast food places. Florø is famous for the longest herring table in summer but we missed that, so it was seafood dinner. Yeah! We had hot peeled shrimp, scallops, cold unpeeled shrimp and tagliatelle with rocket salad. The other day its was cod, fusilli and rice with vegetables. Delish!
All Norwegians are rich, have huge houses and dine like kings overlooking the fjord. Luckily, our friends shared their food and view and enormous portions of salmon. Now I know that Japan’s fish fillets and Sushi variety suffers from anorexia. [Just a word on Norwegian weather: It was the first and only day my sunglasses were of use that summer in Norge.]
Norwegian woman are strong and proud mothers of at least three children, demonstrated by this sculpture in Florø. Except for my friend Ada, who is doing just fine with one child and a husband. Ada and hubby Hendrik were the master cooks of the above meals.
Norwegians eat child. I am not surprised. But why the cigarettes in the box of cans? No clue.
Strong smelling dried fish with the consistency of shoe soles to satisfy Norwegian resilient teeth and noses.
Another Norwegian speciality called ‘Fiskekaker’, which is fish-cake with 46% fish and 44% kaker. /Kaker/ does sound a lot like the word for already digested food in German. Phonetics don’t lie.
Here is me at breakfast. Fried fiskekaker (a lot left), eggs (one left), salmon (almost gone), shrimp (gone) and that SkinkeOst-toothpaste spread (resting).
There are hardly any organic food choices, nor did I find any tofu products at local supermarkets. Norwegians don’t care about eating cheaply
or well. Some popular Norwegian food comes in tubes. It is creamy, cheesy, flavoured with seafood or bacon, ham or caviar, which is pink. Not naturally. Eaten on crackers, bread, eggs and pretty much anything else.
Crab paste to the left gets a sad face – this is how cat food must taste. Abba – makes good music and salmon paste – tasty, with a lot of artificial ingredients, hence the
I found this cool milk carton – marvel at the integrated scale! – at our local supermarket in Aurskog. Omelets also come in cartons.
Thankfully Norway has fjords, so seafood was the option throughout our trip. We survived on salmon, salad and the best sour cream ever, lett rømme. This is the vegetarian shelf in the fridge. Who ate the goat cheese?
Driving around in Norway means eating at gas stations or Kebab/Pizza/Hamburger places, if you are lucky. They serve a lot of white bread baguette sandwiches with different meats. And candy. They make up for it offering different ketchup, salsa, mayonnaise sauces as free refill. To spice things up I went for a pop art picture of three acquainted customers.
Eating at the Kebab/Pizza place near Preikestolen. The menu listed about five salad options which got me excited. Of course, the salad options were remains of the previous owner and the current owner didn’t feel obliged to operate veggies. I also doubt that there ever was a Norwegian customer ordering salad. If you want to keep a low agenda, eat like a Norwegian. When me and Tomek split the tuna pizza, eyebrows were raised.
This restaurant was the only restaurant in Kalvåg, also the only restaurant we came across driving a route of 70 km, also the only Norwegian restaurant serving traditional food and therefore… entirely unaffordable. I would have loved the seafood platter, but 545 Norwegian NOK (75 Euro) pushed the limit. Norway’s price system has been adjusted to customers such as Warren Buffet and the average Norwegian worker. Prices totally match their pay checks.
We went for a starter, which we shared. Fish broth with double cream makes for a good, overpriced soup.
Our friend went for an expensive, simple Norwegian dish: mussels steamed with garlic, white wine and cream.
The white bread basket was free.
A final word on food in Norway: you will not die of hunger, unless…
I could swear, I had more NOK’s in that account!