The Last Supper

I personally went into our final dinner at Høst with very high expectations. I consider myself a foodie and have eaten at pretty fancy restaurants before so I thought I knew what our dinner would be like. In my personal opinion, I thought the food was disappointing. However, despite the food not being good, I actually had a wonderful time at our last supper. I got to spend my final night in Denmark all dressed up, enjoying great conversations, laughing and hanging out with the people who I have become very fond of.

 

The restaurant itself was really nice. It had a rustic feel that was reflected in its decor and its dishes. We started our meal with a dish that had a little cup filled with a crab salad, radishes, and pickled strawberries. Next, came the salmon that was served with cucumbers and pumpkin seeds. Then, I had these fried dumpling like things. We then got out main course which was a fish and asparagus dish. Finally, I had a sea buckthorn sorbet with strawberries that was topped with a candied pinecone. To be honest actually did not mind most of the dishes. I actually enjoyed eating most of everything. I think I was just underwhelmed. This is probably because I had such high expectations. I wanted to be blown away by the food and although it was not disgusting it was not phenomenal.

This restaurant is known for being apart of the New Nordic food movement which we had discussed extensively in our class. This movement is the push for using local ingredients and for using traditional Danish recipes. I feel that this restaurant really followed the New Nordic movement and I got a really Danish feel from the food. There was a lot of fish and local vegetables. Some interesting ingredients were the pickled strawberries and the candied pinecone. I expected most of the ingredients that were used but those ones definitely surprised me. The server was also very nice and made sure everyone’s food restrictions were accommodated.

The mood of the dinner was joyous and celebratory. We were all well aware that it was our last night and we all wanted to end the trip on a good note. So, although the food was very interesting, I had a great night which ended my fantastic study abroad experience perfectly.

 

 

Advertisements

FoodSharing Fun!

In the video “The Danish recipe to cut food waste” on CNN, they said that about one third of all produced food around the world ends up either lost or wasted. This fact in itself is shocking but when you add that all that food wasted is enough to feed three million people and that only about 1 million people are starving, it becomes clear that food waste and food justice are major issues that are not being dealt with efficiently. Due to this, it is easy to appreciate companies like FoodSharing Copenhagen and to understand that the work they are doing is extremely important. FoodSharing Copenhagen’s main goal is to work towards “a world where food is valued and is used to nourish people and bring them together, where foodsharing is part of our natural behaviour locally and globally, and to provide everyone (individuals, communities and businesses) with knowledge, tools and power to act, care and share/donate food, without any compromise.” This message comes directly from their website. We got the opportunity to work with FoodSharing as volunteers helping to set up and give out free food that would be wasted without this company.

img_5821

I knew we would be working with a food volunteering company on our study abroad but did not know exactly what we would be doing or anything about the company we were working for. The most surprising thing about our volunteer experience for me personally is the kind of food they had and the type of people that came to pick up the food. The type of food we unloaded from the trucks and handed out was way better than what I expected. When I imagined handing out food that was close to being wasted I could never have imagined how much they got and all the amazing quality produce and bread they had. There were tons of great fruits and vegetables and a big variety of both. The type of people that came were also surprising. I have worked at a food bank back in the United States and the people that came there were clearly in poverty. Here in Copenhagen when we served, most of the people seemed pretty well off and were not in dire need of this food. I think this speaks to the difference in volunteer culture within the United States and Denmark because in the United States you need to prove your need in order to receive help whereas here everyone is in much more equal standing financially so there is not a pressing need for charity.

The worst part about our volunteering experience was definitely dealing with the rotten and moldy fruits and vegetables. It was pretty disgusting, but the good part is that there was not that much of it. The part that I enjoyed the most was getting to actually hand out the food and see the people we were giving it to. I have always enjoyed volunteering and the part I like best is working together with people towards common goal. It really unites people and gives you a feeling of connection that is unlike any other. I learned about all the different types of produce Denmark had. In my mind I saw Denmark as this tiny island so I did not think they would have access to such tropical items like mangos. During the volunteering, I did not feel like an outsider at all. I felt connected and involved. We had a clear task to accomplish and I think we did so successfully. I think I might have felt feelings of isolation if I was unsure what to do or if I felt I could really play a role in the event, but neither of these facts were true.

The New Nordic food movement revolves around “the principles of purity, animal welfare, and sustainability” according to the Schroeder and Schroeder article. I believe that these ideas directly align with the idea of foodsharing. This makes this volunteering event connect with a key concept we have been discussing throughout our class and connects with the major theme we have been talking about: sustainability. I think the concepts of food justice and food sustainability are also connected. I think this experience has really opened my eyes to just a huge an issue food waste is and how there are many ways that we can combat this that we just are not doing. I think the United States is an especially wasteful country and that there will be serious consequences if we do not start working on cutting down food waste right away. Overall, I had a great time volunteering and thought it was a really rewarding experience.

Zesty Zahida

img_5948
Zahida, a Pakistani restaurant in Frederiksberg
img_5947
Garlic Butter Naan
img_5946
Butter Chicken
img_5945
Tandoori Grilled Chicken 
img_5944
Samosa and Pakora with a Mint Yogurt sauce
img_5940
Dark and Stormy

The restaurant I decided to review for this assignment is called Zahida. It is a Pakistani restaurant in the Frederiksberg neighborhood, right next to central Copenhagen. Since I am Indian, I wanted to see what the Indian food was like here in Denmark and thought this project would be the perfect opportunity to do so. To clarify, Indian and Pakistani food are extremely similar and all of the dishes we ate at the restaurant are also made at Indian restaurants and in Indian households. Amaris and I both went for dinner at Zahida on Tuesday night and had a wonderful time.

Frederiksberg is a very nice neighborhood in Denmark. The people we saw on the street and that were at the restaurant were noticeably older, whiter and wealthier looking than the people from Copenhagen. The area seemed much more slow paced and calmer than Copenhagen as well. We enjoyed our meal on the outside patio of the restaurant. The weather was mild and pleasant and this combined with the chill vibes of the area created the perfect dining experience. The restaurant was not that busy, but I think this was because it was a Tuesday night and Danes do not tend to eat out that much.

The restaurant serves traditional Pakistani food. We ordered two different appetizers. The first was samosas, which are fried pastry stuffed with potato, that came with a mint- yogurt sauce. The second appetizer we got were pakoras, which are crispy potato and onion cakes, lightly spiced in chick pea batter. They were both super delicious and set the stage excellently for the amazing meal. We got two entrees and they came with butter garlic naan, which is an Indian flatbread, and rice. Amaris got tandoori grilled chicken and I got butter chicken. Tandoori is a spice blend and butter chicken is a rich tomato sauce with a blend of spices, slow cooked in butter with a splash of cream. The meal was slightly expensive but it was so delicious, I think it was well worth the price.

All of the staff was Pakistani except for one waitress who was Hispanic. Since the surrounding area was significantly white, it made sense that the few people that were eating at the restaurant with us were all white. When you enter the restaurant, a waiter or waitress takes you to your seat. They then give you some recommendations and time to determine your order and then write it down and take it inside. The food came out relatively fast and the wait staff was very friendly and checked up on us often. There was no interactions between customers amongst themselves. I think this is pretty common in most restaurants, that people only interact with the staff and the people they came with. The wait staff seemed to know the other customers well, so most likely this restaurant has quite a few regulars who like coming. We had to go back inside the restaurant and went up to the cash register to pay.

I think that me choosing this restaurant has a lot to do with what we have been talking about in class. Indian food represents home for me and getting to have a little piece of home while I am abroad truly affirms what was said in Amy S. Choi’s article “What Americans can learn from other food cultures” when it said, “you’ll always eat things that mean something to you.” To me, this food meant comfort. It instantly brought me joy and warmed my heart. In James L. Watson’s article on McDonald’s in Hong Kong, he said that young people “feel that they have come home” when they enter a McDonald’s and that is exactly how I felt when I entered Zahida. The “culture” of the restaurant which was a feeling of eating at a relative’s house also is very representative of Indian culture. Being apart of the Indian community means that any Indian person is instantly part of your family. There is this sacred bond that we all share that makes complete strangers have your back. 

Eating at Zahida was a great experience and I highly recommend it. The thing that I think truly made the meal so special was being able to share it with my best friend and show her a piece of my culture. The best part about eating is being able to share that meal with others. Food connects us all and I am so glad it does.

 

Danish Delights!

I have been pleasantly surprised with Danish food. The reason for this is most likely because I honestly had no real idea what Danish food was, so my expectations were nonexistent. All I could think of when I thought of Danish food was pastries. We all know I love a good dessert so I was nothing but excited to eat here. Since I have been in Copenhagen for about a week, I have a much better idea of what Danish food is and just how truly delightful it is. To me, Danish food can be summed up with the smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich that consists of a piece of rye bread topped with some kind of meat or fish, cheese or spreads, and garnishes.

img_5819
Smørrebrød from Dina Bar Kafe
img_5767
Selection of Smørrebrød

The first one I tried was at a cafe named Dina Bar Kafe. The bread was topped with avocado, egg, shrimp, herbal mayo, and pickled fennel. It was so delicious. I look forward to trying more of these yummy sandwiches. Although sandwiches are a very typical American food, there are plenty of differences between the smørrebrød and their American counterpart. The first is the basic fact that American sandwiches have two slices of bread, one on the top and one on the bottom. The second difference is the kinds of ingredients that go into the sandwiches. Smørrebrøds use rye bread and commonly feature fish whereas American sandwiches typically use white or wheat bread and use turkey or ham. The way the two are eaten also demonstrates a difference. While Danes use a fork and knife, American go all in and stuff their faces with their hands. I think that these two distinct processes also represent a certain formality the Danish people practice that is very distinct compared to the uncouthness of Americans. Honestly, it does not matter to me how you eat it, both meals taste great!

I think that since we are in Copenhagen and since it is a major city, there are many similarities to how people eat here and how they eat in America. There are a lot of different types of restaurants here. The diversity and abundance of food mirrors how it is big cities in America. I think that being here has made me realize that the rest of the world is not that different from where we are from. It has made me appreciate America, but more so the fact that the comfort level I feel when I am home can also be experienced around the world. Being here has made me want to go explore and live in more places.
In the Schroeder and Schroeder article, it discussed the New Nordic movement towards the end. We have already heard a lot about this movement and I think we will hear a lot more in the weeks to come. The emphasis on using local ingredients and making local dishes is one I really appreciate and I am so excited to try more of these types of dishes. The other article we read about McDonald’s in Hong Kong was super interesting. From a business perspective, it was really fun to learn about how strategic the company had to be when franchising within this country. It showed how complicated the spread of cultures actually is. Going off of this, it is hard to simplify Danish food into one blog post. This, plus the fact that I have only been here for a couple days, makes it really hard to give a summary of Danish food. However, the little bit I have had has been excellent and I cannot wait to keep exploring.

LIFE OF myPIe

The need for sustenance is one of the few things that all humans have in common; however, eating is more than just a necessity for survival, it is a communion. Food has this magical ability to bring people together and it is one of the things I like best about it.  For as long as I can remember, food has been a crucial part of my existence. This passion for food derived from my family. Growing up in an Indian household, everything was centered around food. All our gatherings, trips, and conversations were based around the meals we had shared and the ones we were going to experience. I was always encouraged to try new food and have had a sophisticated palette. For example, I have been eating sushi since I was 12 and tried sheep thymus and escargot when I was 13 (and liked both!). Although I enjoy pretty much any food, my true love is for desserts.

When I was a little girl, my love for sweets was so immense I would grab a stool and a spoon, climb up on the counter, and eat straight from the sugar jar. My mom would also catch me drinking chocolate syrup straight from the bottle. This obsession with sweets inspired her to nickname me Mypie. This name has now become what most people call me and something that truly epitomizes me. My family also really enjoys making food as well. I tend to favor baking over cooking (which makes sense because of my love of sweets). My mom taught me that one of the best gifts is to cook a meal. No matter what was happening within my family, my mom made sure we all gathered together and ate. This concept was especially evident during Thanksgiving. Every year, I am responsible for dessert. One year, I decided to make an apple pie from scratch, unaware of how laborious this task truly was. My family all joined together and enjoyed this feast. The hours of kneading dough and peeling apples were definitely worth seeing the smiles on all my loved one’s faces created by simply taking a bite of pie. 

Growing up in California and in a financially well-off household has been such a blessing because there are so many different and exciting options and I was always able to experience them. I believe this factor has really allowed me to explore different foods and cultures and be able to live out my food obsession. I believe I do eat “like an American” because to me an American can be anyone. In fact, this undefined term perfectly describes my eating habits because I love anything and everything. In conclusion, I believe my “foodways” can be described as a sweet love affair.