Notes from a #NordicFeast (aka the “A touch of heritage” Post)

Edible Brooklyn is known for throwing fabulous food shindigs with an educational bent, but this one touched some heartstrings, given my Scandinavian roots.

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Quotable @brodkitchen: “A good friend once said, good cooking is getting to experiment with new products and ideas.”

We heard from Revolving Dansk, a passion-project-turned-food-movement to bring Copenhagen-style street dogs (pølse) to NYC; the founder of NYC microchain Bröd Kitchen, which is spreading the good word about seasonal, sustainable, Nordic-inspired open face sandwiches (smorrebrod, tastes pictured above); and Unna Bakery, a startup based out of Hot Bread Kitchen incubator in Harlem that’s all about Swedish cookies all the time. Naturally, the nights offerings paired delightfully with Rekorderlig Cider, a Swedish hard cider brand that’s the U.S. market.

Let’s get our Nordic on:

Arriving in NYC in 2011 from a culture where street dog vendors are a beloved and omnipresent food fixture, Danish expats Martin and Sera Høedholt were underwhelmed by NYC’s ubiquitous dirty water dogs. And so they set off to introduce the pølse — as well as a few Danish words — to New York’s food scene.

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“Spread the good news, cause of the meat, cause of the snap” —quotable @CPHStreetDog

Pølse are intentionally fit into a bun that looks a couple of sizes too small. The point being the first bite of a pølser is all about the snap of the casing and that first delicious impression: “Before the pureness is destroyed by all of the condiments.”

That being said, how a pølser is dressed with toppings and condiments is very precise and almost ritualistic:

Three sauces: Ketchup, which traditional Danish ketchup is mixed with apple sauce; mustard — a Danish grainy mustard w thickness and spice; and a remoulade of cauliflower, celery, carrots and curry, which adds a “sweet creaminess”

Toppings: Raw yellow onions, diced; fried onions (I would call frizzled onions, very crispy); and sweet Scandinavian pickles, traditionally made with vinegar and sugar (They’re only lightly pickled, still very fresh and crisp)

 The end result? Meaty, smoky, with a touch of sweet, a touch of heat, a lot of crunch and that beautiful snap of the pølser — in other words, beyond delicious. Hats off to Martin and Sera and the hard work that’s taken them from smoking pølse on their Brooklyn fire escape to full-scale production. But don’t take my word for it. Apparently, the Crown Princess from Denmark stopped by NORTH 2015 festival — “And she took two to go.”

Thanks to Ulrika Pettersson, I now know why after every meal (and, often, in between) the Swedish side of my family lingers over coffee and “a little something sweet,” as my grandmother would always say.

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Unna Bakery’s current assortment. Ginger Snaps are the no. 1 cookies in Sweden at holidays.

I was aware of fika, the Swedish cultural ritual of having a coffee break. But why the endless parade of sweets and the cookies? And then I learned about kafferep, essentially the Swedish version of a tea party, where women gather “over some cookies, some coffee.” A popular Swedish happening the 1880s, it’s said that kafferep was start of the Swedish women’s rights movement. (Let’s face it, we know what happens when women get together.)

As Ulrika explained, there are rules to kafferep:

1.) Seven is the magic number for the variety of cookies served.
2.) The table setting: Use a brocade table cloth, your nice porcelain and flowers — but nothing that steals the attention of the cookies
3.) Advice to young wives: Defer to older wives.
4.) “As long as you have coffee in your cup you keep serving the cookies.”
“Swedish Cookies and Cakes” — foundation of Swedish baking.
Ulrika, a Swedish expat, said that she started baking traditional Swedish cookies in New York because it makes her feel at home, wherever she is. I suppose the same could be said of my family, as well.
SwedishCakesCookies_grande
Sweden’s best-selling cookbook.

 

 

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