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Jasmine: Hey everyone, and welcome back to NorwegianClass101.com! All About Series Lesson 7: Top 5 Norwegian Dishes. This time we'll be talking about Norwegian cuisine.
Filip: Norwegians really love their cuisine.
Jasmine: Norwegian culture has some unique dishes and is often praised by foreigners as great cuisine. That's because food is a central theme in Norwegian tradition.
Filip: It really is! It's hard to summarize Norwegian culture without talking specifically about food.
Jasmine: Since you might not find typical Norwegian dishes that easily in restaurants, learning them from recipes or from a home is the best way of experiencing them.
Filip: When hearing Norwegian food most people probably think of "dried codfish" and "lefse."
Jasmine: Yeah, but there is really so much more to it.
Filip: There sure is and we'll give you a great starting point for getting some of the best Norwegian food out there. So let's talk about the basics.
Filip: Norwegian food is a unique cuisine. It is original food dating back from times when fishing and agriculture was the only way of acquiring your own food.
Jasmine: Most meals are a variation on this basic theme.
Filip: Norwegians are famous for being a seafood-eating people but there is also a lot of inland cuisine that contains beef, pork, mutton, and even wild game.
Jasmine: Vegetarian food is however, slightly hard to find as fruits and vegetables are not natural ingredients in Norway. That said, it doesn't mean you won't find fruit or vegetables in Norwegian dishes.
Filip: Norwegians don't typically use recipes when they cook. That means the recipes you see in cookbooks, on the Internet, or even in these lessons are just one, typically simplified version or one part of one Norwegian meal.
Jasmine: Norwegians really like bread. I don't think I have ever eaten as much bread as when I visited Norway.
Filip: True. Bread is a large part of the Norwegian food tradition and we eat it for almost every meal.
Jasmine: Yes, especially breakfast, which is considered the most important meal of the day for Norwegians. A famous preparation called "koldtbord" is common to see on kitchen tables in early morning in Norway.
Filip: "Koldtbord," or in English, "Smorgasbord," after the Swedish word, is a buffet where the main food being presented is bread along with a diverse amount of spread.
Jasmine: I know! Ah, I'm getting hungry.
Filip: Yeah… Let's talk about popular food items.
Jasmine: Everywhere you go in Norway, you'll find "bakerier" ("bakeries").
Filip: There you'll find "baguette" ("french bread"), "boller" ("sweet buns"), "kaker" ("cakes"), and any number of sweet breads, ice cream, cookies, or torts.
Jasmine: What will never be missing though is "brød" ("bread").
Filip: A standard part of every Norwegian meal. It comes in many different varieties, the most popular being a semi-dark variant called "kneipp."
Jasmine: As a side note, Norway has diverse immigrant culture and so finding places that serve traditional Norwegian food might be pretty tricky.
Filip: Really? Why?
Jasmine: Well, take Oslo for example. There are kebab shops, French bakeries, Thai restaurants, and Italian pizzerias everywhere.
Filip: True, right now there's a big sushi boom.
Jasmine: Let's talk about some season dishes.
Jasmine: Christmas is a big food holiday in Norway. The Norwegian Christmas is celebrated by eating "ribbe" ("pork ribs"), a tradition most common in eastern Norway. In the West you are most likely to taste "pinnekjøtt," a "mutton dish often served with swede purée and potatoes."
Filip: Yeah, and it's often accompanied by a slightly harsh tasting spirits called "akkevitt."
Jasmine: Ugh, yeah I remember that. Watch out, you can quickly get drunk.
Filip: Another part of Christmas is rice porridge.
Jasmine: Yum, it's one of my favorite Christmas dishes, very sweet and spicy.
Filip: Let's talk about table etiquette.
Jasmine: Well, it may seem like an unorganized tumult of plates, food, and conversation. Table etiquette in Norway is important. The basic rules apply, such as don't talk with your mouth full, sit up straight, don't put your feet on the table - but two things are particularly offensive to Norwegians.
Filip: First, cut things with your knife not your fork. Using your fork to cut meat is barbaric.
Jasmine: Don't chew with an open mouth. Do close it.
Filip: Norwegians despise the sight of a person eating with their mouth wide open. So it's best to close it.
Jasmine: Okay! I've got a list of "Top 5 Foods to Try in Norway."
Filip: Chosen by me. So, basically, these are the foods we think the listeners should try. What's on the list?
Jasmine: Okay, now the top five Norwegian dishes presented by Filip.
Jasmine: Number five…
Filip: "Frozen Pizza" - The commercially acclaimed Norwegian national dish, or at least it is very popular. Norwegians eat too much frozen pizza. And in the supermarket you will find a row full of different types of frozen pizza. I think there are about twenty different varieties.
Jasmine: Okay, and then Number four is…
Filip: "Viltgryte". Viltgryte is a stew that contains wild game like moose, deer, or reindeer. It's sweet and salty and tastes very good with a jug of ale or a glass of white wine. It is very common to eat with the family once a month. Compared to the frozen pizza this is actually a Norwegian dish.
Jasmine: Sounds good, so what's number three…
Filip: "Bacalao." I know this is originally a Portuguese dish, but as long as it has existed in Portugal it has also existed in Norway. The dish's main component, "tørrfisk" ("dried codfish"), is only found in the North. The Norwegians have been trading the codfish for this dish's delicious secrets with the Portuguese for centuries.
Jasmine: What's number two?
Filip: "Fårikål" ("Lamb and Cabbage Stew") is very common in Norway and often eaten during holidays and especially during winter. The dish is a stew made of cabbage and mutton, often with "komle kompe," a "dish of grated potatoes" with slight resemblance to the Chinese pork buns.
Jasmine: And Number one is…
Filip: "Kjøttkaker i brun saus" ("Meatballs in Brown Sauce"). It all boils down to that one dish which is so often played around with being the national dish because Norwegians who go overseas tend to miss only one thing the most and that is "kjøttkaker" ("Norwegian meatballs").
Jasmine: The dish is made of homemade peppered meatballs, boiled potatoes, and a filling of green peas or cabbage stew.
Filip: But the best part of the dish is the brown semi-sweet sauce and the lingonberry jam.
Jasmine: Now for the top five foods for the brave presented by me, Jasmine.
Filip: Number five…
Jasmine: "Finnbiff" ("Reindeer meat"). A lot of people hesitate when they are served Santa Claus's trusted transport companions. However, most of them also find reindeer surprisingly delicious. The unique and savory taste of reindeer along with a delicious cabbage stew will never leave your memory.
Filip: Number four…
Jasmine: Brown Cheese. By far Norwegians most favorite bread spread for breakfast. The brown cheese is made of goat milk or cow milk, yeasted, and made sweet. It might seem very similar to other yeasted cheese, however, the taste of the Norwegian "Brunost" is unrivaled. If you dare, try a sweet cheese for a change.
Filip: Number three…
Jasmine: "Lungemos" ("Mashed Lungs"). Hardly anyone I know has eaten it. It is a dish reserved for a small elite of hard stomachs. It is an offal dish made from pork lungs mashed and made into a sort of paste. People eat it with stews and potatoes or even spaghetti. Try this only if you have a hard stomach because thinking about what you are eating might make you sick. On the other hand it hardly tastes like anything.
Filip: Number two…
Jasmine: "Kabarét" ("Aspic"). Enter the Norwegian version of "aspic," a food popular with the elder generation. It is oft made with over-boiled seafood like shrimps and lobster sticks with eggs, peas, and carrots. All fitted into a form of non-tasting jelly. The dish is auspiciously popular in its own version in other countries as well despite its appearance.
Filip: And Number one…
Jasmine: "Smalahove." The most archetypical Norwegian dish dating back to the age of the Vikings.
"Smalahove" is an offal dish made of a boiled then smoked lamb's head. The whole head is intact when preparing with the exception of the teeth. The traditional way of eating it is by starting with the eyes.
Filip: Okay! So there you have it! The top five Norwegian dishes to try and the top five foods for the brave.
Jasmine: We hope you have a chance to try some of these dishes. Let us know what you think of them.
Filip: See you next time!
Jasmine. Bye everyone!