Monday, June 28, 2010

Norway. Installment #2

There are so many different topics to choose from with my experience out there… It’s hard to choose which to cover next. But I’m going to go with Food.

Food is SOOOO different there. And it wasn’t until going out there and coming back that I realized that everything in the U.S. tastes like corn. It goes beyond candy and soda and other things made of corn syrup here. No, EVERYTHING. Our meat, our cheese, our milk…. We feed corn to everything, so everything tastes like corn. And my first clue that the food was going to be very different, was as soon as the flight out there.

Yes… even the airplane food was good. Baked chicken with roasted potatoes, tea, salad… a sourdough roll. And here I was expecting something resembling prison food. Dinner… Two snacks…. Two drinks… AND breakfast! Which was a wonderful little ham sandwich that tasted like it was fresh deli sliced ham, and authentic gruyere cheese! (My favorite!)

But I’m not going to spend all my time writing about the airplane food. The first night I was in the wonderful city of Oslo, I wanted to do something adventurous. Josh asked me about dinner and what I had in mind. “Adventurous” was a bit vague I admit, but it concluded in my first ever meal of Indian food. So… “adventurous” works.

It was fantastic. I can’t really describe what it was that I ate other than to say that it was a chicken based meal over some rice and a very yummy sauce. Ordering Indian Food off of a Norwegian menu is not the easiest of tasks. But in the now 24hrs I’ve been exposed to Norway, I somehow managed to pick up that “Kylling” means “chicken.” I stuck with what I thus far knew. Though I was very torn with trying the “Lam” dish. (Very obvious translation of “Lamb” there.) I like lamb after all… but that’s okay. Later in the week, we went back to this same restaurant and I had the lamb dish. It wasn’t as good as the chicken in all, but still extremely tastey!

Then there was McDonalds. I HAD to. I just HAD to know if it would be any different. …It was. For one, they had these promotional sandwiches that were American city themed. Chicago, New York… etc. But they all looked relatively the same to me. So I just picked something that resembled a quarter pounder and went on with it. A medium fry, burger, and medium drink at a Norwegian McDonalds comes to… 16 dollars American.

As I bit in, I understood why. It does NOT taste like the processed crap we serve here. Was it worth 16 bucks? No. But quality costs money. And the soda, was the higher mark up in comparison. A plain old regular little cheeseburger… You know, the kind that comes in happy meals… Cost 2 dollars each. This was their advertised inexpensive suggestion. …But back to how it tasted. The meat tasted like it WASN’T made out of old gym mats, the fries seemed less greasified for some reason, and the soda is rich and made with REAL sugar. In essence? The food tasted like FOOD! Imagine that!

Now… My favorite experience however was cooking.

Going to the grocery store, buying ingredients, having to translate names of items and prices in a foreign land, was super involved! I loved it. And THANKFULLY, Josh was kind and patient enough to let me play with this experience and get my bearings. I made a pasta dish that I usually enjoy making, but here’s the fun part… You know how there’s been a bit of a theme thus far? Genuine food? REAL taste? Nothing Processed? …That goes for sauces and mixes as well.

Now I always make “my own” Alfredo sauce. But I do get myself started with a premade base and add the cream and cheese to it until it’s to my liking. It’s faster and easier this way. …But there is no premade sauce of ANY brand to be found. So… I do it all from scratch. Translating each ingredient as I go. But the food turned out very good, (if I do say so myself) and it was on to desert.

Norway is cold. And hot chocolate just seems like the natural choice. …No hot cocoa mix either. …No processed ANYTHING! I love it, but it’s getting annoying at the same time.

So… I melt the butter, with the chocolate bar…. Add the cream and the sugar, and the milk…. And……. Oh dear GOD! Norwegian chocolate? WAY BETTER! Way worth the extra work!

I picked up several more bars at the airport on the way back home so savor. I will definitely miss the cooking out there. Quality.

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