A Scandinavian Fairytale: Bits & Ends

 

I could, and I will, regale you with countless stories of our adventures in Denmark but wanted to share a few odds and ends, things we found unique, sensical, surprising or otherwise noteworthy.

  • The Danes are a tall set. There were multiple instances where I found myself too short to see a mirror mounted above a sink. I am 5’2.5 by the way. And yes, that half inch is very important—to me. An added bonus for Evan is that in addition to being a nation of giants (just my perspective, really), they also don’t carry petites, and as such, I wasn’t able to accomplish any clothes shopping. 
  • This really is the land of endless summer sunshine. The sun is bright and it shines from very early on and until very, very late (at least in the summer). The sun set sometime around 9 or 10 PM when we were there and it stayed fairly light for another hour still.
  • You won’t find frumpy or cluttered spaces in this country that is the birthplace and epitome of modern decor. I noticed that many homes decorated their windowsills with various accents from lamps to candle, pottery or fine porcelain figurines. The windowsills were beautiful and gave a passer-by a quick peek into the personality of the home and its dwellers.
  • Kids, kids, and kids galore. The Danes, unlike Germany for example, are happy to be fruitful and multiply children. We saw many families with multiple children and many of them had three!
  • Fitness is high up on the list of priorities for the Danes. Although I only saw one gym, we saw many people biking and jogging along the banks of the Øresund
  • Though important, fitness does not trump the amazing diet that the Danish population enjoys. Enjoying the fruits of the land and sea, the Danes follow a diet that is extremely similar to the one I grew up with. Breakfast is a big deal—cured meats, cheeses, breads, butter and dairy products are all staples on the table. A large and filling breakfast tends to carry you through to lunch which is enjoyed later than is typical for us at around 1:30 or 2:00. Smørrebrød or open-faced sandwiches are typical for lunch as are hot dishes. Beer flows freely even for those who have to go back to the office. The evening meal is much later (at least in the summer) and often enjoyed outdoors, soaking up the last sun-rays of the day. Small dishes and plenty of them are served for dinner chased with plenty of good wine and beer. Most surprising to me was the lack of vegetables we saw in the diet. Well, perhaps not vegetables, but rather salads. Carrots, peas and whatever else is seasonal was incorporated into the absolutely mouthwatering Danish cuisine. That said, I saw no salads, no heaps of lettuce or pounds of spinach weighed down with heavy dressings. Just as well, I didn’t grow up eating salads either and did not observe any obesity issues in the former USSR and not in Denmark either. Maybe these Danes are onto something? Maybe pickled herring and smoked mackerel, of which there were plenty, even at breakfast, is the magic diet food? Perhaps it is all about moderation, or the urban lifestyle?
  • Snacking was not at all common and neither was eating on the go. Coffee breaks and drinks, however, were observed with great enthusiasm. Evan and I were only too keen to try and blend in with the locals.   
  • Dining, drinks and coffee were enjoyed at incredible leisure. In fact, it was very obvious that the locals viewed time out with company as not about the meal but more about spending time with company. It was as though they were paying for the time that can be spent at this establishment over the sole enjoyment of sustenance.
  • Picnicking is central to the culture and much supported through the many, many green spaces this small nation enjoys. Green spaces and clean air. The air, even in Copenhagen, one of the cleanest I’ve breathed in a long time. No great surprise as Denmark is powered entirely by wind power. 
  • And last… not least… even the littlest royals, back in the day, enjoyed posh seating. This must be the most decadent high chair known to mankind ;-). 

One Comment

  1. […] back to my [salad] roots after a gentle reminder from those Danes whose food we loved so much. What we have here is a German-style potato salad made […]

    August 18, 2015
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