Tastes of Scandinavian Heritage: Recipes & Research



       The location of Norway on the map, influence their culture and culinary traditions. The Norwegian have always been considered as nomads, due the waters surrounding the lands they depended on fish from the seas and lakes around them.[1] Later they settled down and they began to cultivate the soil. They mostly grew grain, because that was the most productive thing that the soil would permit them to grow without a lot of crop to soil complications . Meat was served less often, and according to scholars, we learn that porridge was Norwegians’ to go to meal, often eaten twice or even three times a day.[2]

       It is believed that porridge, is one of the oldest dishes in Norway. And until mid-1800s porridge was eaten on the daily.[3]  Ordinary porridge was eaten in a wooden bowl and was made with coarsely ground grain and water, milk was used too but mostly for special occasion. There is an old tell that is told in Norway from the lands of Telemark, in the southern province. The story is that, a woman in the area was asked if she can make porridge. If the answer was "no", she was told to “you might as well pack up and leave”.[4] This meant that if women pursuing to get married could not make porridge, they were considered useless. The assumption was that ever woman should know how to make porridge.

       On special occasions a thicker creamer porridge was made. Rømmegrøt made from fine-ground flour and heavy cream with milk, and a lot of butter. Mostly made during the holidays, like on christmas and Easter.[5] Rømme a Norwegian word for heavy sour cream, in Norway the tradition sour cream is produced in its original form with 37 percent fat, but it can also come in a lighter variety of 20 percent fat.[6] grøt translating as porridge. Rømmegrøt is considered as Norway’s favorite food. In the 1700 till today, rømmegrøt was given as a gift mostly to new mothers. Mothers would carry it in two-quart panfull to new mother, it was believed that the consumption of the porridge would make mother produce more milk for the babies.[7] Sigrid believes that this is why Norwegian babies were able to be so fat, because their mother’s milk was so rich, "this made the babies look like balls of butter and seldom sick".[8] Rømmegrøt was so special, that it was even stirred with a special cooking utensil. A grøtturu stirred the rømmegrøt to insure better quality, it was made from certain peeled and polished pine limb, with a ring of five up-shooting small branches at the end.[9] Even though today a lot of families don’t know or have forgot about Rømmegrøt, some Norwegian families look forward to preparing the dish on holidays and celebrations. There is an old tradition that a bowl rømmegrøt, had to be left for the nisse, a gnome or elf who was said to be helpful and would protect the farm as long as he got his Christmas porridge.[10] 
[1] Aase Stromdtad, Eat the Norway (n.p: Arthur Venous Co, 1984), 7.
[2] Ibid., 7
[3] Sylvia Munsen, Cooking the Norwegian Way (Minneapolis, MN: Lerner publication, 2002), 11.
[4] Sylvia, Cooking the Norwegian Way, 12.
[5] Erna O. Xan, and Sigrid Marstrander, Time- Honored, Norwegian Recipes (Decorah, Iowa: Penfield press, 1990), 90.
[6] Henry Notaker, Food Culture in Scandinavia (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood press, 2009), 19.
[7]   Erna O. Xan, and Sigrid Marstrander, Time- Honored, Norwegian Recipes (Decorah, Iowa: Penfield press, 1990), 91.
[8] Ibid., 91.
[9] Ibid., 90
[10] Sylvia, Cooking the Norwegian Way, 15.