Jeg er (ikke) dansker...

The Danish daily newspaper Politiken is currently running an outstanding - and much needed - campaign entitled 'Jeg er dansker' ('I am Danish'). It features daily photos of 'typical' and 'less-typical' Danes. These less-typical Danes have all to often, in recent years, been cast as something - anything - but truly Danish by a minority of Danish politicians (and their supporters). Sadly, these politicians at this point have all but managed to hijack not only the issues and agenda, but also much of the language of the ongoing 'discussion'.

Nowadays, when one hears talk in the Danish media of what (and who) is traditionally Danish and so forth, it is almost left assumed and unsaid that what this means is precisely as it has been defined - in a frustratingly monopolistic way - by this small xenophobic minority.

Of course, it didn't help that the one political party that tried to stand up against this issue with their heart and soul quickly fell flat and rather hard on their faces owing to their own inept clumsiness when put to the electoral test - and have since remained laying on the ground with heavily bleeding noses.

Anyway, well done Politiken. This is an issue which the volume needs to be turned up higher and higher in the coming months and years. Of course, if Politiken was really clever they should probably take out these same ads elsewhere, as readers of very liberal Politiken are probably the least likely to be the ones espousing the problematic viewpoints, or voting for the most troublemaking of the political parties in this area.

Springtime shrimp


Springtime in Copenhagen often brings with it a change in diet. As the trees and flowers blossom and bloom, those often talked-about new potatoes begin to arrive, barbeques are fired up for the first time in several months, and so on and so forth.

The other day I had an amusing discussion while eating what I was told was a springtime dish worthy of the season at hand - fresh shrimp. The instructions for eating were simple and non-negotiable - take a piece of rugbrod (extremely dark and heavy bread Danes typically love), spread with margarine, then pile it with little shrimps you have painstakingly peeled yourself. Salt and pepper was also permitted.

What wasn't permitted was lemon, which to me seemed like an obvious addition to bring out the flavour. 'No, no, no!', I was admonished. Because what matters is the taste of fresh shrimp. I pointed out that adding lemon was really no different then adding salt and pepper, but this was to no avail.

This provoked me to suggest that though Danish cuisine has it's high points - and I would argue has certainly improved in recent years, at least in my understanding of how it was in decades past, and knowing what is now available in supermarkets that simply wasn't a short few years back - the Italians and Spanish really have nothing to fear, because Danes will probably never quite 'get it' as they do.

the aftermath...

Go fly a kite...

See, this is what happens when you have week after week of sunny and warm weather in a country known more for it's cold, (often rainy) cloudy days. You stop blogging and find yourself out and about and enjoying the real world - with many friends who are doing just the same. Ahhh, it's been nice. But I know I will return to blogging.

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