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The Nordic Cook Book

A blend of preserved and fresh favours The fastest way to understand the Nordic region’s food culture is to eat an open sandwich topped with butter and hard cheese. Such a sandwich is usually made from fresh ingredients that have been preserved for long-term storage, such as bread, leavened, seasoned butter and dry, hard cheese that has ideally been matured for one or two years. Many northerners eat this sandwich every day; its origins can be traced back for more than a millennium and it exists in hundreds of variants. An open cheese sandwich speaks of the most fundamental aspects that make up a food culture in the Nordic region, but also demonstrates that a ‘taste chord’ (the harmony that comes from several favours) can live a very long time if it’s important to people and provides meaning. The Nordic region is a large geographical area that shares a common cultural and political history, and thus it also has a partially shared food culture. The outer frame is based on a common religious belief. These were heathen beliefs during the Viking Age, which then became a mutual Christian faith. The common religious faith also created partly shared language that even today allows northerners, when they meet, to decide whether to speak ‘Scandinavian’, which means speaking their own native language and simply using words they know to be understood in other Nordic countries. ‘Scandinavian’, however, difers from the Finnish language family so it’s not as easy to speak a Scandinavian that the Finns understand. Sometimes Swedish, a minority language in Finland, is used instead. The common religious belief has also formed the basis for a common understanding of how the meals are created and also how they should be eaten in family and other gatherings. Political partnerships that created common kingdoms back 23 A brief history of Nordic cuisine


The Nordic Cook Book
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