Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Smorgasbord Revisited

Minnesota has always been known for its' rich Scandinavian heritage. It was here that multitudes of Norwegians and Swedish settled this wilderness.With them came an equally rich culinary history that went by the wayside. However thanks to many loyal chefs , the hearty fish and meat dishes of the past are coming back.

Julia Moskin wrote about the Scandinavian food comeback in today's New York Times Dining section.  For a long time newer immigrants stamped their cooking tradition on Minneapolis/St.Paul area. There were more tacos and bao rolls than lutefisk and glug.That's all changing. There's the reappearance of smorgas or open face sandwiches along with the fave kladdkaka or sticky chocolate cake,A new breed of chefs are also coming to the Twin Cities , bringing with them true recipes. One is Swedish American chef Paul Bergelund who cooks with the the three Scandinavian musts, butter bread and fish.Butter is a must in the cooking simply because it was considered gold to the early settlers who came from Norway and Sweden where it was also heavily taxed.

There is also an offshoot to this "Nouvelle Nordic" This involves cooking with the wild rice that is indigenous to northern Minnesota. It was eaten by the local tribes and now is braised in cream to create a luxurious porridge that could be served with either fish or beef. There's also a version of krydderfedt , a  traditional Danish  spread for toast made from rendered fat of various meats.It's now slathered on pickled lake perch.,Spices such as dill and coriander,long staples in both Scandinavian and Scandanavian American households are being twisted in various recipes to give them fire and kick.

The whole Nordic way of life and philosophy has always been deeply ingrained in Minnesotans. Now the traditional menu is also becoming a strong part of of their lives as well. It defines not only their palate but their sturdiness and steel strong sensibility

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