Archive for August, 2008

Norwegian Gummi Women

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

They are just like Gummi Men, except for their slight mammarian curvature.

Though they look somewhat like Sour Patch Kids, they’re just coated with sugar; in Norway, if you want a sour gummi candy, it’s going to come in the form of tantrum-throwing children:

“100% Natural” Doesn’t Mean What It Used To

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

So I was watching the Olympics last night, and a commercial came on for Bud Lite Lime featuring “a splash of 100% natural lime… flavor.” I put in the points of ellipsis because I swear I heard a pause in the announcer’s voice as there was a shift in the visual montage and accompanying background music that happened in just such a way as to deemphasize that this 100% natural to which they refer is ‘natural flavor,’ which according to the FDA definition, could mean a great variety of things (if you need help deciphering what the FDA code means, this is a good explanation of it).

Because this beer product uses only flavoring that meets the FDA definition of ‘natural,’ they are permitted to use ‘100%’ as a modifier. The end result is that “100% natural flavor” is a statement that means less than nothing, because there’s no other information about what it is or where it came from except that it contains something that was somehow derived from something that is natural, probably a lime–but even that we don’t know for sure.

Who comes up with this stuff? Or, for a better question, who actually buys it?

Berry Heaven

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The hills around our cabin at Flaakoie

had a full cover of blueberries

and cloudberries nestled in the marsh.

Raspberries lined the old logging road.

But even amidst such brilliance of foragability, the tiny wild strawberries lurking in odd corners and peeking from trap rock tasted like candy from the vine.

Served atop flaky biscuits with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Dining in Norway

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

If you’ve wondered why i haven’t added anything to the site since sometime last month, the short answer is that I’ve been in Norway.  A beautiful variety of foods available there, though the foods tend to be somewhat expensive.  As a result, I ate out rarely and more often prepared my own meal or ate meals prepared by friends.  Even so, I got a chance to explore a large swath of the regional cuisine.

A quick and mostly complete list of what I ate:

  • Fish cakes–patties of fish pudding seasoned with a mixture of spices that very much reminded me of barbecue potato chips (that was probably the msg).  if I had to compare it to anything, i’d say it was probably the norwegian equivalent of a hot dog–very similar in texture, pre-cooked, can be eaten with a variety of condiments either hot or cold
  • Mackerel in tomato Sauce: a canned food, readily available in any grocery store.  has a nice, meaty texture and a flavor that isn’t too fishy.
  • Fresh berries: almost everywhere I went, there were berry bushes growing that I could pluck berries from.  Varieties included blueberries, wild strawberries, raspberries, cloud berries (a native delicacy that is difficult to find and expensive to buy at about $30 per kilogram), and currants, bith red and black.  The black currants had a nutty taste that I thought would match tremendously well with mackerel, though i never had a chance to test this theory.
  • Salmon, both fresh and smoked: Norwegian salmon is quite tasty.  because it’s a local food, wild salmon sells at about an equivalent price to what I’d pay in Pittsburgh, maybe even slightly cheaper.  the farmed salmon from Tine (brand name) goes from water to packaging within four hours and even raw and lightly seasoned tingles the tongue with delight.
  • Sausages of many types abound.  A sampling of the sausages I sampled includes: moose, llama, reindeer, and a sausage containing horse meat.
  • Rutabaga: There was some confusion about this vegetable, which came mashed as a side dish to one of my few restaurant meals.  the Norwegian word for it is very similar to “kohlrabi” and the English translation provided on the menu was “turnip cabbage,” so it took a small amount of detective work to determine that it was in fact a rutabaga.
  • Reindeer stew: tasty, tasty, tasty.  According to my ex-pat friend whom I was visiting, Norwegian dishes rarely combine too many flavors.  So, if I were to make it, it would have included potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, and what have you; in its presentation to me, it was tender bits of braised reindeer and mushrooms in a dark and rich gravy, served with a couple of boiled potatoes on the side.
  • Pizza.  It turns out, pizza is incredibly popular in Norway, and I would up eating some because, apparently, a trip to Norway isn’t complete without having some.
  • Various foods from tubes: including bacon-cheese and fish eggs.  Other possibilities that I didn’t taste included shrimp-cheese and pepperoni cheese.
  • Salvarpostei (I think I spelled that right!): a paste made primarily of fish eggs with other ingredients, served in a can.  Bore a resemblance to tinned cat food, both in size of the can and in the smell.  I’m not quite adventurous to try tinned cat food to compare the flavors.
  • Rislunsj: individual rice puddings with an attached flavoring (my favorite was rips [aka red currants] and bringabaer [aka raspberries]).  They come with a collapsible plastic spoon–its handle folds in half and clicks into place when you open it!
  • Cheese of a variety of sorts, including a tasty milk-sheep-goat combination blue cheese from western Sweden and gjetost, a brown cheese that isn’t really a cheese at all, but rather a caramel made by simmering milk for two days until the lactose caramelizes.
  • Gummy men and gummy women.  the difference?  The women have curvy figures.