Saturday, December 15, 2007

You’ll Be Bored

Christmas season, jul (yool), in Norway is upon us and we are now midway through the seasonal festivities celebrated by all Norwegians.

In Norway, the julebord (yool a bored), literally Christmas (jul) table (bord), is a time honoured tradition starting at the beginning of December and running right up until jul on the 24th. Julebord commitments ensure that we in Norway have very busy social diaries throughout the month.

It also ensures that we are well prepared, and in match fitness, for the Christmas holidays, juleferie (yool a fairy a), during which the country shuts down for 12 days to eat and drink!

The julebord takes its form in many guises:

  • julebord with the boys
  • julebord with office colleagues
  • julebord with the boys
  • julebord with friends and family
  • julebord with the boys

Regardless of the guise taken, all share a few common attributes:

  • Traditional Norwegian Christmas food, julemat (yool a mat), is served
  • All Norwegian men carrying the Viking gene will be pissed before the main course is served
  • Style wins over substance, quantity wins over quality, bravado wins over brevity

While there are many julemat dishes, I would like to bring to attention a few of my personal favourites:

  • Lutefisk (loot a fisk) is cod that has been soaked in water and a caustic bleach for many days until it turns into a jiggly jelly like thing. (I cannot do the science justice so for Beernada and those interested check out the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutefisk ). Yummo! It is served with bacon bits, mushy peas, ale, and aquavit, and is a personal favourite of Beaverboosh

  • Smalahove (small a hove a) is sheep’s head where the skin and fleece of the head is torched, the brain removed, and the head is salted, sometimes smoked, and dried. The head is boiled and served with mashed rutabaga and potatoes. (I have copied this directly from wikipedia surrendering to the superior prose http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smalahove). Mmm Mmm! I cannot get enough of this! It is accompanied with dark stout and aquavit

  • Reinsdyr (rhines deher) is reindeer that is cooked any way you choose. In our family, it is lightly grilled and served bleeding in a morel cream sauce with potatoes and Brussels sprouts. It is best accompanied with an 82 Margaux though in a pinch, a Lafite will do. I am moist with anticipation! My vegetarian sister, who stayed with us 2 years ago, upon hearing of this delicacy, broke into tears screaming Rudolph! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_the_Red-Nosed_Reindeer)

Now, do not misunderstand me. BB loves Norwegian traditions. BB also loves merrymaking as much as the next party animal. I am Canadian. I once partied for 6 straight months in the South Pacific, getting to bed at half past the year (having become a clinical alcoholic – breakfast usually consisted of a two-four, slab, case, keg, barrel, or whatever the effin hell you call them where you come from)!

31 days of julemat, ale, aquavit, and the occasional claret, is a stuffing of marathon proportions. My organs are starting to hurt. I am constantly slurring my speech and remind Girl of Dean Martin in the old Celebrity Roasts.

We are only halfway through December and tradition is taking its toll! I will wait patiently and hatch a cunning plan in January. I will go to an ashram in India to fast and do yoga until half past 2009. My inner voice is telling me "you'll be bored".

Beaverboosh

6 comments:

Zhu said...

Partying 6 months in South Pacific... mmmm...

I know!!! You went to OZ and joined the army of Canadian/ British backpackers!

(I know, I've been there...)

Norwegians seem to take the month of December very seriously. Nothing wrong with that... but the food you described. I'm not picky, but I draw the line at eating sheep head. Although I'm glad to know that the brain has been removed. :D

ian in hamburg said...

mmmm.... sheep head.....

i hear there's skiing somewhere in india, though you probably won't be able to do it every weekend. yes, you'll be bored.

christina said...

Party on, BB! That's quite the schedule.

Johnada said...

I was waiting for Beernada to respond directly, but he's been stuck in transit to Minnesota. MN is well known for its lutefisk, so I'm sure he would be delighted by your mention of him in connection with the fine delicacy.

Incidentally, is the closing of the Norwegian Consulate in MN a story over there? Knitting Norwegians in MN are enraged. There's even a story in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/20/us/20minneapolis.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1198012471-rRFpmxM3Kw+ChWYTf2pQEg&oref=slogin

As for Smalahove, that can't be true. It's just some weird joke the people in Norway make with their reserved sense of humour. Real funny Norway!

beaverboosh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
beaverboosh said...

Zhu – It took me 6 months to get to OZ! I got stuck (in a moment) in Fiji!

Ian – Hey dude, great idea, lets go ski Nepal / Tibet!

Christina – I am trying to keep pace with your baking schedule, and apparently just keeping up.

Johnada – Saw pictures of Beernada at the Brewery. Hot!

On the embassy front, thanks for the heads up! Huge national news here, though national news usually covers the death of pets! We are outraged but when you only have $3B in the bank, I guess every $1M counts!

On Smalahove, the conspiracy thickens! They have even put pictures on the internet to convince us foreigners! As if!

The process of torching: http://www.norphoto.com/r/m.php?p=6124&w=eng3434

The removal of hair and skin: http://www.norphoto.com/r/m.php?p=6125&w=eng3434

The final product: http://www.norphoto.com/r/m.php?p=6129&w=eng3434

A better picture of the final product: http://www.globosapiens.net/app_global/travel-link.php?b=/topic-smalahove---head-of-lamb-served-in-norway_36_553_0000.html&u=http://www.matoppskrift.no/images/sesong/smalahove.jpg