Imagine it... You have some cinnamon buns left over. Yes, we know, it does not happen often, but it CAN happen. What do you do with those stale things, not good for anything?The other day, we made french toast. It was indulgent and delicious and quite naughty.
Keyword: brunch, buns
Author: Bronte Aurell
1portion ofberrieswe used raspberries as these are tart and cut through the sweetness of this dish best.
For the syrup
(makes a generous portion, more than you need - keeps in the fridge for a few weeks)
Because we know you’ve secretly wanted to. This is an updated version – thank you so much to everyone who commented and helped us put this together. Now, let’s be Norwegian.
If someone asks you how you are, be honest. Having a rubbish time? Elaborate in great detail – and do not under any circumstances try to make it less awkward.
When having a conversation, about anything, make sure to say ‘ikke sant’ a lot. It is a bit like the English use ‘right’. Depending on your intonation, ‘ikke sant’ can mean a range of different things (most on a spectre of ‘Yes – I agree wholeheartedly’); including but not limited to:
– Ikke sant. Yes, I agree
– Ikke sant? Do you agree?
– Ikke Sant! YES
– Ikke SANT? You’re kidding
– Ikke sant. Yes, yes
– Ikke sant?! I hear ya
illustration by Jenny Blake
Always bring a matpakke (packed lunch) – yes you could be more adventurous and stop having those 4 slices of bread with sweaty cheese or smelly salami, but why would you?
In autumn, winter and Easter time, never ever go hiking without a kvikk lunsj in your bag.
Avoid looking directly at your fellow citizens in all urban areas. That includes pavements, public transport and inside shops.
But remember to say Hei hei to everyone when hiking or on a Sunday stroll (manners!).
Every spring, make an excuse not to partake in Dugnad (where everyone living in a block of flats, for example, get together to tidy up the communal areas).
Eat tacos every Friday. It’s the national dish of Norway, didn’t you know?
If you live close to the Swedish border, drive across the border on meat-safari (fleskesafari).
Never, ever, admit to a Swede being better than a Norwegian at anything. Especially not skiing.
If a Swede beats a Norwegian at skiing it is always because of ‘Smørekrise’ (the way the skis are prepped, depending on conditions). It has nothing to do with the athletes themselves you see. Blame the kit.
Own at least one hi tech brightly coloured coat to protect you from the elements. Wear this every day, in any weather – in Norwegian it is called All Weather Jacket (allværsjakke).
Make sure to stare at people who go hiking in jeans. They are usually tourists and are not informed of the hiking dress-code.
Every summer, travel to Syden and get a sunburn. Syden = anywhere south of your home town (but usually excludes Scandinavia).
Do not be alarmed if someone starts begging you to let them jump in front of you in the supermarket queue – this is completely normal and usually occurs at five to no-more-alcohol-today (no alcohol can be bought in shops after 8pm ever).
Never, ever, ask someone to pass you something at the table. Just stretch your arms and lean across. One does not bother people by asking them to pass anything.
Always say Takk for maten (thanks for the food), or mamma will be most upset.
Go to your cabin – Dra på hytta – every weekend. Sure, you’ll spend 4 hours in your car each way but on hytta you must.
Own at least one Norwegian flag.
Remember to ‘kose deg’! Literally – cosy you – enjoy and indulge in whatever. A bun with your coffee, an ice cream in the sun, all the sweets on a Friday night.
As soon as the sun comes out, run outside and smile yourself silly. Have utepils. Do not, under any circumstances, stay inside on a sunny day.
Say Yes in English (but spell it jess).
Drink a lot of coffee. And milk. A glass of milk with every meal.
Eat a lot of pølse. Travelling by train? Have a pølse. In the airport? Have a pølse. Watching the footy? Have a pølse. Celebrating the day Norway got its own constitution? Pølse it is.
Spend a very long time fretting about when to change the tyres on your car. Winter tyres are required by law – but WHEN do you change them? And when do you change them back? Discuss frequently.
Every autumn, make a huge pot of ‘Fårikål’ – Mutton and cabbage. Big enough to feed a small nation, even if only half the family likes it.
If a stranger smiles at you on the street (or other urban area, see point 5) assume they are drunk or crazy. Look away immediately.
Eat waffles. Lots of waffles.
Own at least one practical rucksack – and use it every day. It goes very well with your All weather jacket (see point 12).
Say ‘Ja’ whilst inhaling.
If you are from Bergen, make sure to announce it loudly and immediately.
Anything else you can do to be more Norwegian? Let us know in the comments!
How to be Danish, even if you’re not in Denmark – A quick guide.
So, you want to be more Danish? You don’t need to go to Denmark to be ‘dansker’ – just follow this quick do-it-at-home guide and you’ll be saying nå-nā to everything before you know it. Ja ja, nå-nā. Så så.
If someone asks you ‘how are you’, be sure to explain how you are really feeling. Don’t leave any details out – the other person surely wants to know, because he asked you.
2. Kaff. Drink a lot of coffee. Danes love strong filter coffee. Nowadays, Danes also love Latte, which they pronounce Ladde. Also, Coffee is Kaffe, but if you are from the sticks, you call it Kaff (way cooler).
3. Dansk is always better Every time someone says anything about anything, just say: “in Denmark, we have that. Except ours is better”.
Friend: “I love these wonderful chairs I just bought”
You: “We have the best chair designers in the world in Denmark. Ours are better”
Friend: Try these pastries, they are delicious.
You: We have pastries in Denmark, they are better.
4. You know that Nothing Swedish is ever as good as anything Danish. You know this. But if it is, it was probably invented by a Dane or it’s from Skåne region, which is almost Danish anyway. Zlatan is actually Danish.
5. Copenhagen your apartment. It’s super simple: Paint everything white. Doors, floors, walls. Every single surface. Remove all curtains. Add one statement chair (by a Danish designer), a sheepskin from a remote Swedish farm, a tasteful sofa in sleek design, a small sofa table… Thou shalt not add cushions. Two candle sticks in steel. A stack of tasteful magazines full of pictures of bearded cool men, and women wearing huge scarves. One framed art poster. Limit Ikea furniture to those pieces nobody can identify as Ikea.
6. Wear black. Stylish, black clothes, that’s how Danes like it. Your blonde hair up in a messy bun or a stylish crop. Grow a Viking beard if you’re a guy. Did we mention wear black? Add huge black/white scarf and black coat.
7. Bike everywhere. Preferably, you have one trouser leg stuffed inside your sock at all times to protect it from the bike chain. It’s a good look, don’t worry, perfectly acceptable at work or parties. Once you have kids, get a Christiania bike and start ferrying the little ones around on your bike, too. Sell your car. Also, helmets are not used because they mess up your nice messy hair do.
8. No please. There isn’t a word for please, so you need to start functioning without it. Just say ‘Tak’ (thank you) instead – or be brave and rely on your politeness purely through tone of voice (very tricky, even for Danes)
9. Test ANY non-Scandi on whether they like salty liquorice. Then insist they try it, even if they don’t want to. Laugh at them when they go green in the face.
10. When it’s your child’s birthday, make a cake in shape of a boy or girl. Decorate it with loads of sweets. When you cut the head off in one clean swoop, everybody screams loudly, and laughs. It’s a Danish thing. It really is.
11. Have an awkward sense of humour and laugh at Nordic jokes such as “Do you know how to save a Swede from drowning? No? Good!” HarHarHarHar… Why wasn’t Jesus born Norwegian? They couldn’t find Three Wise Men… HARHARHARHAR. Also, see point 10. Awkward.
12. Remoulade – you thought you needed Ketchup? You don’t. Just throw it all away and replace with remoulade – a sweet curried piccalilli type dressing. Eat it with fried fish, roast beef, chips, salami… Anything.
13. Speak on your inhale. We don’t notice that we do it – but we do, when we say ja (yes), sometimes.
14. Love your flag. Really LOVE the Danish flag. At any opportunity (birthday, Sundays, going to the shops), fly your flag in your garden flagpole (because you have one of those – but NEVER after 6 pm because that is not allowed). Every cake, decorate it with little flags. Wave flags around like a nutter. Flags everywhere.
15. Jam & Cheese open sandwiches Because it tastes good. Rye bread, strong cheese – and a good dollop of strawberry jam. You know it makes sense.
16. Eat lunch at 11 am. Well, why wouldn’t you? Also, get to work for 7:30 am. Leave at 16:00, sharp.
17. Never stay at work past 16:00. If you do, the other Danes will make fun of you and talk behind your back and call you nasty things like ‘morakker’ – someone who makes others look bad by staying late – a very bad thing in Danish culture. You have until 16:01 to be out the front door and on your bike.
18. Nå. This is your new favourite word. Nå. Depending on how you pronounce it, it can mean:
How are you?
Agreeing with someone
Being impatient with someone
19. Danes may ask to ‘borrow’ your bathroom. Don’t worry, they always give it back. It’s a literal translation. They may also ask to borrow a cigarette. But they especially like borrowing your bathroom. In turn, they find it odd that you are ON the bus and not IN the bus.
20. Directness. Danes do not mess about. They get right to the point. There is no fluffy middle layer. It’s not rude, it’s just… Danish. Also, they do not understand when you say something you don’t mean – see point 1.
21. Swearing. Danes swear in English, which can be off putting to the average Brit to listen to. The F-word is used liberally by all, even children. ‘Shit’ is also used a lot. Swearing in English is perfectly acceptable – but swearing in Danish is absolutely not. Danes moving abroad usually have a period of adjustment. Danes returning to Denmark after living in the UK spend the first 6 months in red-faced shame.
22. Hygge You understand the internal soul space of Hygge, to feel content and cosy in your surrounding with the people you are with. Time does not matter. Do this effortlessly several times a day to be a real Dane. Also, pronounce it properly (who-guh). Minus 10 points if you have ever rhymed hygge with jiggy.
23. The Law of Jante. Underlying every fibre of the Danish psyche is our version of Tall Poppy Syndrome, except much stricter and inward bound. Don’t think you are any better than us, don’t think you can teach us anything. Don’t think you are special. Officially, you shun Janteloven – but when the neighbour buys as Aston Martin, then it creeps up on you.
Janeteloven’s rules also means that no Dane ever takes credit for anything. If something goes well for you, make sure to remind everybody it was because of the help from people around you. If nobody helped you, blame it on luck, Never take the credit yourself. As in:
Them: Congratulations on hitting the number 1 in 38 countries with your new single
You: It was because of the people who bought the music.
24. Fredagshygge and Lørdagsslik. It’s Friday, and you have Friday Hygge. Sit in with a bowl of crisps and hygge in front of the telly. On Saturday, they eat Saturday sweets – repeat over, but with sweets instead of crisps.
25. Stop eating Swedish meatballs. They are Swedish, not Danish. Real Danes eat Frikadeller, which are basically the same, but bigger (and better – see point 2). Also, if you are really Danish, you call them Dunser. Your mum’s meatballs are always referred to as dunser – but don’t call them Dunser in a restaurant.
26. Danes love Hotdogs. There are hotdog carts all over the country, manned by sour people who really don’t want to talk to you. Except the happy hotdog cart at the arrivals at airport, but that one is manned by Swedes from over the bridge. Danes returning from abroad always have to buy one hotdog at the airport (it’s the law) and without fail always start a conversation with the hotdog vendor, realise he is Swedish and then the whole thing falls apart into a very awkward sausage related silence.
Can you think of anything else that could make you distinctly Danish? Let us know in the comments field and we may add it to the list.
We are proud to come from the lands of the Vikings. Here are some great facts about our forefathers that we’ve collected this week.
Lots of us watched the excellent BBC documentary this week called The Vikings Uncovered with Dan Snow and Sarah Parcak – highly recommend if you get the chance to see it.
Viking is something you do, not something you are. The word Viking comes from the people from the Vik, (vik means bay). People who would sail off to other places were ‘going viking’. The word Viking wasn’t used in English until 19th Century – before this, we were just known as ‘Norsemen’ or ‘Danes’.
The Vikings came from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. It was not known as one or several nations to the Vikings themselves – this definition came later. Lots of tribes and settlements that often fought each other when not busy travelling.
The first Vikings in the UK landed at Lindisfarme in 793. The stories from this visit are not particularly friendly and doesn’t portray the Norse men in a very favourable light. After this, the Vikings settled over much of England, Scotland and Ireland. There may have been some disagreements with locals at times, but we found a way around it.
No Vikings ever wore a helmet with horns. Ever.
North America was first visited by Leif Eriksson in around year 1000. They called it Vinland. Leif was the son of Erik the Red (Eiríkr hinn rauði) who was an all round pretty nasty guy having been banished from Scandinavia to Iceland for being too violent. Erik the Red was likely very ginger, hence his name.
Ginger Viking was then in exile from Iceland for 3 years due to ‘a few murders’ and spent this time exploring Greenland. This resulted in the first big marketing ploy in history: Erik marketed Greenland as ‘green and fruitful’, encouraging people to join him in settling there. Once they got there, they were not pleased, but they made the best of it, whilst Erik went back to Iceland.
The Vikings settlements and journeys stretched from New Foundland all the way to the Middle East. We picked up spices in Constantinople, travelled through Kiev… Even made it to Jerusalem.
The Viking Age is commonly considered to have ended with the death of Harald Hardrada at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.
Viking women could divorce their husbands quite easily – for reasons including ‘displaying too much chest hair’. After a divorce, men were required to pay maintenance. Women could also inherit property.
The word Beserk is a noun used to describe a Norse warrior who fought with uncontrolled ferocity – known as a Beserker. It comes form the Norse word ‘Beserkr’, from berr (bare i.e. without amour) and serkr (coat) .
A long boat could travel up to 200km a day. The Vikings also had slower passenger and cargo ships called knörr (nothing to do with stock cubes).
A Viking long boat could take around 30,000 hours to build and wood from around 15 fully grown trees. They were usually built from oak – and 4000 nails.
Vikings used a liquid to start fires. They’d boil touchwood from fungus in urine for several days and then pound it into something similar to felt. The sodium nitrate would mean the felt would smother rather than burn, so they could bring fire along with them.
The traditional Northern English greeting “‘Ey up” is Viking – it comes from ‘se opp’ (look up).
Icelandic genetics today show a lot of British trace – suggesting that the Vikings picked up British and Irish people along their way there. The Vikings were active slave traders – slaves were known as Thralls and sold on markets across the world.
The word Bluetooth comes from Harald Bluetooth, who was really good at making people get on with each other and ‘connect’. The symbol we use for Bluetooth today is actually runes for his initials.
The Vikings were really clean people, especially compared to, say, the English at the time. The Vikings had baths on Saturdays (the word Lørdag, Saturday, comes from the Norse word Laug = ‘bath’’. In England, the Vikings had a reputation for excessive cleanliness.
Viking Men ‘preferred’ being blonde – some dark-haired men would bleach their hair (and sometimes beards) blonde using lye. (This also helped keep lice away – a total bonus).
Vikings worshipped the Norse god of skiing and also loved skiing for fun. God of Skiing’s name was Ullr and was often depicted wearing skis and holding a bow and arrow.
The medical name for a hangover, veisalgia, is an amalgam of the Greek ‘algia’ referring to pain and the Old Norse ‘kveis’, meaning the ‘unease one feels after a period of debauchery’.
The Vikings had issues with the English sh-sound. Places like Shipton became Skipton. Most sk words in english are Viking in origin. We still have issues with the sh-sound today – many Swedes often mix up ch and sh sounds when speaking English (Shicken instead of chicken, shallenge, shild for child etc).
Vikings used an outdoor ‘loo’ and wiped their bums with moss and sheep’s wool [How do we know these things? Really? – ed]
William the Conqueror was the grandson of Viking king Rollo – the Norsemen were just a few generations from the Normans.
Thank you also to Dr. Tina Paphitis PhD, our resident archaeologist who is leaving us this week to return to University of London. If you happen to have any fun projects for Tina that will mean her digging sites involving Viking stuff and folklore in any place on the planet, do contact us and we’ll let her know.
Disclaimer: While we will always try to be as correct as possible, no responsibility for facts in this article can be taken. We’re a cafe with a nice blog, not fact keepers of all things Vikings. So double check before you use any of these in any official capacity what-so-ever. Just to be sure.
1. All Scandinavians are tall, blonde and beautiful. There may be a slightly larger proportion fitting this description in Scandinavia than elsewhere. But these guys are also Scandinavian:
2. All Scandinavians have good English
Fact; when you native language is only spoken by 5-9 million people it makes sense to learn another language from an early age. Not everyone grasps the language equally though;
3. All Scandinavians are stylish
4. All Scandinavians love Eurovision
Well – what’s not to love?
5. All Scandinavians drink a lot of coffee.
Fact. We do love our coffee (apart from Roxanne who prefers tea).
6. All Scandinavians are introvert.
No. But maybe more so than other nations.
7. All Scandinavians get annoyed if you get the country wrong. Or if you think Scandinavia is one country.
Fact. And we love/hate correcting you every single time.
8. All Scandinavians love IKEA
Look, it may seem that way. But we only go to get our fill of åöä which we find comforting. It is still flat-pack-poor-instruction-hell.