Denmark Dished Out

So far, I have been happy with all the food I have tried in Denmark, except for one meal at Wok On because they could not make it their noodle dish without onions, and it ended up being loaded with them. I was not exactly sure what Danish food was before coming here. However, Schroder and Schroeder emphasized in their article that pork, rye bread, and potatoes are staples in their diet (p. 6-7). Smørrebrød is also a type of food specific to Danes, which is an open-faced sandwich with many toppings on it and uses only one slice of bread. It is so popular that when we went to eat sandwiches at the Marble Church Café, I witnessed a Dane who was eating a sandwich with two slices of bread, take off the top layer of bread to eat it as if it was open-faced with a knife and fork. Smørrebrød appears to be a type of modern Danish food because I have yet to taste a traditional Danish meal of a protein and a starch. I believe I have not tried traditional Danish food because Fie and Zoe explained during our food tour that Danes are not particularly proud of their food. Hopefully, in the next few weeks I will be able to eat traditional Danish food. 

Turkey, mozzarella, avocado, and mayo sandwich from the Marble Church Cafe

My favorite meal so far was at Sweet Street, where I had a simple grilled sandwich with smoked ham, provolone, mayonnaise, and tomatoes on rye bread. I am surprised that I liked Danish ham and rye bread because I do not like it back in the U.S. I believe it has to do with their ham being less salty and thick, and their rye bread is much softer, as well as has a different flavor in general than what is made back home. Schroeder and Schroeder also explained in their article that rye bread has been made in Denmark for over 1,500 years and worked well with the climate, so it is understandable for Danes to continue to eat it over the years (p. 6). They also discussed that the Dutch farmers brought cabbage and carrots to Danish agriculture (p. 8). I noticed this was popular with a couple of the meals I had because at the Hungry Dane, they put both carrots and cabbage as a topping on my burger and it was included as a side of coleslaw for another meal at TGI Fridays.

Ham, provolone, mayo, and tomato sandwich from Sweet Street
All beef no patty burger, topped with cabbage and carrots, from the Hungry Dane
Chicken fingers with a side of coleslaw and fries at TGI Fridays

Danish foodways are exceedingly different than American foodways. In one aspect, they are more social than ours because they have large community meals, and when they are eating out, they tend to eat with many friends or some family for long periods. Their meals also appear to have more of a leisure aspect that allows them to take their time eating. Whereas in America, eating tends to be less of a social opportunity because everyone is always in a hurry, so there is less time spent eating. In a way, I enjoy Danish foodways more because you are never rushed to get out of the restaurants. Whereas, in America, the waiters are always rushing customers to get out of the restaurant quickly, and everyone eats quickly. It has been challenging to get used to the service of their restaurant staff because as an American, I have the mentality of when I am waiting for the check or the waiter, that I am wasting time. It was not necessarily that I felt that the waiters have been rude, but I was thinking about all the other things I could have been doing while I was waiting to find them. I believe this is one of the things about Danish foodways that made me think differently about American foodways because I enjoy not being rushed to eat. I believe it would be beneficial if restaurants in America were less focused on getting more customers in and more focused on letting people enjoy their time there, as Danes seem to do.

Over the last few days, I have felt that their ordering and line system contradicts their leisure aspect because all the lines I have been in were fast-paced and the cashiers have always asked if you wanted to eat it there or take away. The statement Choi made in her article was true that the way a country eats its food is telling of their culture (p. 5). This is because by Danes always asking if you want to take meals out, it shows that they enjoy being outside while eating their food, socializing, and smoking. In the U.S. it is similar to frequently have customers take food to go, however when we take food out, it is usually to take it home or in the car with us while traveling. This difference is evident in the phrasing that both countries have because when Danes say, “take out,” they mean taking the food outside, and when Americans say, “to-go,” they mean to take it home with you or while traveling. This is another one of the things about Danish foodways that made me think differently about American foodways because I wish we had more opportunities to sit outside in nice weather and enjoy different events.

I feel as though there are very subtle similarities between Denmark and America. Globalization appears similar in Denmark and America because both countries attempt to have a variety of different kinds of foods from different cultures. This includes Denmark having McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC, which all originated from America and keeping the original names maintains the tie to America. Watson explained how, in Hong Kong, when McDonald’s created an establishment there, they had to integrate McDonald’s breakfast items into Chinese culture (p. 86). This can also be seen with each of these restaurants because they all have menu items exclusive to Denmark, making it, so they have things that they enjoy here in Denmark as well as the food sold in America. Americans and Danes both also love to use a lot of salt, Danes appear to use it slightly more, but it does not show as much in their health because they are more active with biking and walking. Overall, there are many similarities and differences in Danish and American culture, but it is difficult to tell which foodways I enjoy more.

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