'We're a tiny, unimportant, insignificant place. And that's what makes us so great.'

Our Cross-Cultural Communication class recently had a guest speaker who is a fairly well-known anthropologist here in Denmark. He is a Dane that studies other Danes. He published a book recently aimed at discussing cultural communication in the business world and personal world. Originally directed towards Danes on interacting with different cultures, a version has since come out in English that is directed towards different cultures that may interact with Danes in the professional world or even while abroad.

A fairly large portion of the book talks about Danish values and other cultures in the context of Geert Hofsteede's dimensions of culture.

The tribal context is a dangerous one, I feel, because Danes are quick to apply certain values that clearly do not apply to anyone outside of the tribe. They can be incredibly open and yet incredibly closed, depending on the situation.

Here are two important points that stood out to me:

1. Don't ask why, but rather...

-What will happen if I do this? What will happen if I don't do this?

-Have you noticed me doing anything you find strange?

-What are you doing? When do you do it?

2. Don't approach another culture with your own culture's frames.

Generally, Danes don't talk in public unless very much promoted to. The levels of small talk and general 'neighbor-ness' are quite low. I've observed even in situations of trouble (someone dropping a grocery bag, or falling off of a bike) Danes are a lot less likely to sustain prolonged, engaged contact with others.

The first four months I spent in Denmark I observed these cultural values through the lens of my own culture, and my conclusions were thus: Danes are rude, they are cold, they don't care about others, they are only concerned with themselves and their direct acquaintances.

However, as I began living here for longer, I learned about the Danish cultural values that inspire these behaviors.

Mainly: whereas Americans think it respectful and friendly to engage with others in public, Danes find it respectful and friendly to leave people alone in public. Therefore, they are happy to talk if engaged with ('I need help!' 'I have a question!' 'I love your dog!') but they will not go out of their way to engage, unsolicited. It's just...not as respectful. People want to be left alone! They need their personal space and time! A Dane even described to me the feeling of public embarrassment when they drop a grocery bag or fall off a bike, saying, 'I'd really rather no one make a big deal out of it and rush to help me with other people. Unless I'm extremely injured, it's more embarrassing to draw attention to what I've done - I can manage on my own, thanks.' 

So there you go. The 'why' should always come early on in contemplating behavior and cultural norms.

A final note on cultural values - through language

When I studied abroad in Denmark, I began to notice an interesting little shift in language, especially as it was used in print ads. Two of my favorite things in Denmark – beer and cake -had something in common: they were each touted as “probably the best” of their kind. There was a huge Carlsberg billboard located in the middle of Copenhagen that was dark green and said simply, “Probably the best beer in the world.” My favorite up-scale Danish bakery, La Glace, notes on its rather formal website that it is the “oldest and probably best confectionary in Denmark”.

Probably the best? Huh?

I found the International Advertising class that I took in Denmark fascinating, because it was as much about anthropology, humor, and culture as it was about business proposals and international brand mergers. I thought I might be an Anthropology major in college. I loved learning about communication, values, and difference.

In IA we learned about Geert Hofstede, a Dutch researcher renowned in his studies of cultural organization, management, and economics. In the 60′s and ’70′s he conducted a global survey that resulted in his famous cultural dimensions theory. There are five dimensions that make up the theory, and they are: power distance, masculine/feminine, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, and long term orientation. Each country is ranked according to the five dimensions, and the resulting data has become very important for cross-cultural communication and business. It’s also very interesting when used to study ads. Granted, these models are cultural generalizations, so take them as such.

An example of how a country might do on some rankings is as follows:

Nordic countries score low for masculinity: A culture that scores low on masculinity places more emphasis on relationships & quality of life and less on competition. Gender roles are more fluid.

Nordic countries score low on power distance: A culture that scores low feels more “equal” with those in power and does not shy away from engaging or critiquing those in power

Nordic countries score low on power distance: They are okay with ambiguous situations, more open to change, do not depend on excessive rules and laws for stability

Danish interaction as a whole is known for being very humble and low-key. Definitely not overly competitive. I remember my Danish professor telling me that there is a joke that most famous Danes have had to leave Denmark to become famous elsewhere before they can become popular at home, because the culture de-emphasizes the singling out of individual successes.

Therefore, the Carlsberg & bakery language made sense. To this American it was funny, quirky, and sounded a bit valley girl “Oh yeah, that’s like probably the best thing I’ve ever had,” or even a product that second-guesses itself, but I realized that it was a humorous yet culturally appropriate take on asserting one’s product is good while not claiming best.

the sky dips into the tornedalen as easily as a paddle

and the fields weren't just fields - there were stalks, too, individual plants, woven and shining, curlicues, branches, colors, and the whole thing was a pattern and the whole thing spoke to me, telling me of a wealth that cannot be measured and is often overlooked.

shedding skin where ever i step, it seems. it prickles. rapidly multiplying angles poking up. a sheaf of myself, copies are floating to the floor and dissolving in the rain. or swept up by the wind and carried out - to sea, to sand, to sky. tremble at the thought of my own potential but still find it beautiful to cower with gratitude. bow and be free. 

there are three things you can count on in the kitchen of the yellow house at the end of the road in overtornea. one, that she'll be at the stove, stirring gluey grød or salty chunks of dark moose meat. elsewise she'll shuffle to the fridge to take out the tin box and slowly run her thickened fingers over the wax paper that's carefully tucked over and under moist slices of cake, kept like treasure. two, that he'll be sitting near the window, hand tucked just above the slight curve of his belly, with eyes that are impeccably bright for ninety-five years of age. he'll ask time and time again if you survived the night, if you survived the cold, the mosquitos, the rain. he'll pepper his swedish with a finnish twist, though you can't understand either, you'll respond with blushes, smiles, the occasional danish, and he'll chuckle heartily at you in the same way he does with news of visitors, the feminist party on tv, and an ipad. ninety-five and the world's a bemusing thing. three, the old metal percolator's on the counter, hot to the touch and ever-filled with bitter black kaffe. it fills little white cups and you find your tongue flowing with words, spirits perked. if you drink it like an american, which you do, you'll be repaid for emptying the percolator with black sludge. here they tuck white lumps of sugar behind the teeth, and you do the same, rasping the roof of your mouth as you suck them dry as bone, to crumble.

silvery skin drips from the knife's edge as they prepare pink, salty slices of home-cured lax, or scoop white tubs of frozen purple blueberries from the freezer. cloudberry preserves to top your bread, tart and orange, like fish eggs. prized halvtorn, puckery day-glo orange jam. buttery swirls of cinnamon and yeasted dough crowned with white pearls of sugar. stalks of rhubarb melt into cream. spring potatoes, yellow and soft. eggs with roe paste.

everyone is restless here, for work sweetens the sleep. the mosquitos too, their whining crescendos straining in the air. intermittent slapping and black dot corpses fall to the ground, but are easily replaced by second, third, infinite waves of lazily dancing yet persistent brethren. wherever they land, welts spring from shoulders, toes, knee caps. you can cover yourself in a poison cloud of deet, rub tar on your skin, scream, sweat - you'll still bear the mark of brutal love, kisses swelling on eyebrows, cheeks, shins.

northern sweden, five years later.

the importance of vacation

Hi. Can I come stay at your summer cabin? There's no running water. There are walls to paint and weeds to mow and lots of sleep to be had. And this is okay, because now I understand that re-setting is essential.

The general US structure assumes that aestheticism is useless. It believes that workplaces should be little boxes of misery, that workers don't need natural light and open space and creative urging, that putting time, money, or effort into these is a waste. And why would we need a break, then, either?

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I didn't have running water, we barely had electricity, and I certainly didn't have internet. I was lucky enough to have some semblance of an outhouse (really just a fancy little wooden hut with a wooden toilet seat built over the ground, with composting birch chips to pour over when you were done). We lived close to a town on the mainland and had a fridge, and a garden with some rhubarb, so this was certainly not an Into the Wild type setting, but it was just enough to force me to remove my normal daily motions.  I slipped into a more normal sleeping pattern, growing tired in the early evening, and rising early. There would be conversation when there needed to be and silence when everyone just needed silence. You could slip away to nap or be by yourself, and we decided whenever we grew hungry or tired or too sweaty, soothing our needs with communal meals, saunas, and nighttime conversations next to wood-burning stoves.

I helped scrape the summer house and paint it - that was our big job. One day we took a boat out and explored the river Tornedalen. Many times we spent at the grandparent's house, with a collection of family members and neighbors that would stop by for impromptu coffee, lunch or dinner. We'd watch some World Cup and relish their television for an hour or two. We'd take long saunas and I read more books than I've read combined in the past year.

We let impulse take control. We ate simply when we lacked energy. More often than not we cooked slowly and deliciously, lots of little bites and tastes from leftovers combined with newly cooked dishes. Cloudberry jam, a pink sliver of salmon, half of a tired avocado, grilled halloumi cheese, skewers of vegetables, creamy cooked buckwheat dotted with the purple stains of blueberries, a salty chunk of moose meat on the side of a simple salad. Water tinged with the taste of window-grown mint, or currant leaves.

tahini cups

September with its rush is here. The energy of all things new and things beginning. The bike lane is full again - almost dangerously so. People are once again urgent, whizzing past with less patience, headfirst into the slanted sunlight. The sunlight's still here, sometimes. Yet the water-side spaces where merely a few weeks ago citizens and tourists alike packed themselves onto blankets and benches to sweat in tandem are now empty. There's a chill, and the beginning signs of fall coats, and brown, dark blue, and black - always black, more black. The rain has come and stayed a little bit too long. The streets flooded in parts of Copenhagen this past weekend. Sunday was 24 hours of dark clouds and rain-soaked windowsills. 

raw tahini cups with coffee cream 

ingredients:

shell: equal parts tahini and coconut oil

filling: 1 part strong brewed coffee, cooled & 2 parts raw pitted dates (the super soft kind)

make:

stir tahini and melted coconut oil together. pour half into the bottom of muffin tins, or tiny cup tins - whatever you have lying around that will give you the vague 'classic peanut butter cup' shape. place in refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until hardened.

use a blender, food processor, or hand blender to combine the coffee and dates into a uniform paste with no chunks. remove tins from fridge, spoon a dollop of filling onto each cup bottom. spread out but do not go all the way to the edge, otherwise your cups will end up more like little sandwiches as mine did.

use the remaining shell mixture to cover each cup. return to the refrigerator for 15 minutes. enjoy but remember: they will melt quickly if exposed to heat, so store in the freezer and enjoy pretty immediately after removing.

 

i know places

There's so much to say. I've seen a lot recently. I accompanied a class to an open prison, prepared for a student drag and burlesque show, co-led an outdoor tour to southern Sweden, and will be attending Eurovision this coming week.

For right now, the best moments lately have been the quiet ones, where I'm surrounded by stillness and natural colors and subdued beauty. I went to Dyrehaven (the royal deer park) and the Kullaberg peninsula and marveled at how my body and self seemed to welcome this different environment.

meatballs?

before

before

one week i'll watch food, inc, and get really grossed out by the thought of meat, and won't touch it for two weeks or so. then i'll get really hungry, and start to crave it. another week i'll get lazy and cheap and won't buy it for a week or so. then i'll start to get excited about cooking with it. never-endingly complicated relationship with meat, partially forged from the remnants of my misguided attempt at vegetarianism for a few years, followed by the health realization that i couldn't really eat red meat, followed by moving to a country where pork and fried pork fat and pork meatballs and beef tenderloin are what's up.

rolled out

rolled out

best meatballs i made recently contain:

800 g ground chicken/turkey/beef/whatever you will, 150 g of tomato paste, generous pinch of salt and pepper, two large eggs, 3 small onions and 2 stalks celery, chopped, curry powder, paprika, a bit of cayenne to taste, 4 diced cloves garlic, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp white vinegar. 

done

done

directions: 

mix with hands, roll the size of golf balls, and either fry or bake in the oven, 230 degrees celsius, for about 20-25 minutes.

i even made these in my microwave oven. tiny kitchen pride.

meatballs are quite flexible. traditional danish frikkadeller are made a certain way, but it's fun to experiment with different flavors: tomato and curry, lime, chili and red onion, green apple and maple, etc.

how can i lose my sense of wonder?

today was:

the fragile, split-second feel of yet another bike encounter that left me shaken and smiling

it's windy out, the cliche but familiar and comforting smell of freshly cut grass is a new addition to my commute, and the wind blows my skirt across my knees, i reach down with my left hand to smooth it, the guy next to me has his headphones on and - maybe he wasn't paying attention, maybe the wind gave him a gentle nudge, probably a bit of both - his handlebars lock into mine - i gasp, but my left hand's stuck in my lap and i feel myself begin to swerve but my split-second reflexes (where did these come from?!) mean that my right hand pulls my bike back and i grab onto the guy's arm for dear life with my left. i don't let go until i'm good. 'shit!' he says, removing the headphones. 'sorry!' in english. we meet again at the red light 30 feet down the road, my heart-rate is practically tripping over itself, trying to process. 'shit,' he says again, shaking his head. 'i'm sorry.' english - the language of apologies. i smile and shrug. it'd be a different ending if it had ended differently, but, you know, this morning it turned out alright. 

an email from the faculty whom I went abroad with in the spring of 2011, written in his short, measured style, and it felt like a warm hug, happiness that will spread through my being slowly and last with me for at least a day or two

and in part it felt like a call to arms, as i pored over some of the photography done both in his classes at carleton and while abroad. at times i hated going abroad with a camera. to me it signaled Tourist, Student, someone who Did Not Live Here. i tried to conceal myself and my camera when i was out, tried to become invisible. most days, i believe i lacked the energy and confidence to achieve full potential.

and yet, when i took the damn thing out, i invariably almost always got a great shot, and the resulting endorphins made me feel like a lion on the hunt. and yet, when i took the damn thing out, what resulted was greater contact with my environment. conversations with strangers, foreigners, locals. smiles. a feeling of belonging. most times it's a door, not a wall.

oh, we vacillate between photography capturing the only true moment and photography completely obscuring the true experience of the moment, and i did too. what if i don't remember the place, and can only construct my memories in photographs? but what if i don't push myself to capture my space in the world in the way that only i can?

i need the camera right now. i live here. i've saved 9 months of memories, anyway. copenhagen is both going nowhere right now and over in a second.  and i have 9 months to go. i can give in to photography. it's scary when you begin to pick it up again, after sliding into a cozy, black-clad existence where the slight language understanding and attention to dress means you don't stand out as much, and you wear it as a little badge, but how favorably i look upon those three months when everything was processed through a lens, and i both hid behind it and brandished it.

some things to keep in mind when learning a language/danish

1. stand your ground when using said language in the real world

it's becoming more and more of a (langauge-learning) privilege to go to a place where absolutely no one speaks even a little english. danes speak english very well. therefore, they'll want to default to english when you mess up while practicing danish. don't back down. be polite, perhaps explain you are trying your danish out, add a smile, and keep on keepin' on.

2. ...and this is easier when you start with the local language right off the bat.

trying out a new language involves confidence and a bit of acting. i have to resist the temptation to preface my conversation with, 'okay, i'm going to try this in danish' because in some twisted way it seems more polite to me to warn others of the struggle bus that is about to go down. but the fact that i even view this as 'struggling' when i in fact should have the confidence to speak a language i do know a little of is telling. jump into it. if you mess up, avoid the urge to abandon ship.

3. when it comes to danish, speaking really quickly and slurring your words slightly will work in your favor.

danish is a weird mouth gurgle language. you'll hear even danes asking other danes 'hvad siger du?' (what are you saying?) when you do speak danish, it helps if you speak it quickly and mumble a little bit. chances are they'll understand you better than if you took the time to carefully pronounce every word correctly. simply throw your best jumble at the barista, stand back, and smile with a patient but expectant look as you wait for the chicken sandwich you just ordered (or was it a kitten?)*

4. it's better to ask 'what do you say in this scenario?' than 'how do you say ____?'

I hit a breakthrough in my mental language learning process when i realized that it is pretty much worthless to try to translate your culture's sayings and phrases into another language. for a while i asked my language teacher, 'but when someone does this in the US, we say &&&, for example. so how do you say &&& in danish?' he would try to translate it, but ultimately told me 'well, in denmark you wouldn't say that, you would actually just say ###.' avoid the mindset of translating everything from your language and culture so literally. throw that out the window. just take the time to learn what you do or say in scenarios within the new language and culture.

5. be ridiculous.

the only way you'll get better and feel comfortable saying everything in practice is to practice out loud. practice with whatever you got. in my language class we have different vocabulary and phrase themes. sometimes this is great, such as when we learned how to order food. sometimes it is random, such as when we learned all these medical/sick terms that i'm not sure i would feel comfortable admitting to someone in english, much less danish.** i still tried to use these phrases with my roommate and some of my co-workers. pretend you have a stomach ache and talk about it. comment on someone's shoes. make up a conversation about a blizzard in march for no reason. just keep talking.



*chicken is kylling. kitten is killing. to the untrained ear, these sound very familiar.

**with every module you learn, however, more aspects of danish life open up to you. thanks to my newly-learned medical terms, i was able to understand when the man on the regional train went into graphic detail about his drunk friend's session with the toilet the past Saturday!

cross-cultural humor

a British joke concerning Germans

(must be told in the most ridiculous German accent you can muster)

a german couple had a baby and became worried because, as time passed, the baby did not say a single thing. it didn't utter a first word. it would not speak. four years passed, and one morning, at breakfast, the toddler pronounced:

'deez egg tastes like shit!'

the parents were elated. they called family and threw a celebration. finally they asked, 'son, why did it take so long for you to speak?' and the child said:

'everything else so far has been perfectly satisfactory.'

 

a real Danish story that illustrates Danish sense of time

recently i went over to the apartment of a brazilian woman in my danish class, who has a danish husband. we got on the subject of cultural sense of time. she told me that about a year ago she was having trouble with something in her life and wanted to talk about it, so she called her husband's sister on a sunday. 'i'm really struggling with this,' she said to her sister-in-law, 'and i'd like to talk to someone.' 'you know,' said the sister-in-law, 'i don't have anything planned two wednesdays from now! why don't you come over in the evening?' 

not rude at all, just danish.

most - not all - Danes are sticklers for both timeliness and planning. don't be late to a danish gathering. set your watch early. take the early train. don't arrive too early, either. just arrive on time.

when i was a student my danish host family had a relative that had married a woman from south america. they always joked that it was funny because her culture's sense of time had rubbed off on him, even though they live in denmark, instead of vice versa. 'and now,' they lamented, half-jokingly, 'he NEVER comes on time to anything!'

in sickness and in health, a parody

being sick / america

Squirrel through the office fruit basket looking for some oranges. Buy orange juice from concentrate. Empty three packets of Emergen-C into your orange juice from concentrate. Pop, fizz, slurp. Stock up on instant soup. Pray whatever's coming won't last for a long time. Begin to get stressed about the thought of becoming sick and having to deal with it at work. Pop some pain-killers. When the inevitable hits, and you wake up with a cold, purchase tissues during your lunch break at work. Have trouble deciding if you want pocket packs or one big box. Purchase both. Feel your throat begin to go. 'Oh, you're getting sick', say your colleagues. 'Yeah...' you mumble. Sucks. It's been a month since last time. Some Sudafed will help with the drip but it will dry you right up, so drink some water. Listen to the man next to you cough and cough and cough. This doesn't gross you out enough. 5 minutes later, ask to borrow his tissues because they're much softer than yours. Stock up on Purell. Squirt, wipe, flap. Go home on the bus and try not to think about the fact that your nose is running and you ran out of tissues. Clutch the tattered toilet paper in your jacket pocket. Zinc! You need zinc. Zi-cam. Wasn't that stuff, like, removed in nasal spray form because it took away people's sense of smell? Not like it matters, because you currently don't have a sense of small anyway. Spray, whiff, snort. Try and calculate if you sleep in for two hours tomorrow, is the office equivalent of a two hour delay, and will it really count as using a full half of a sick day? Think about how much you have to finish with That Project at work and goddamnit, Becky's been out of the office for like three days and that bitch only had a fever. Has she ever heard of Dayquil? She should be better and back by now. She's probably faking it, you think, as you empty the little plastic cup of Nyquil down your throat, the rancid cherry flavor twisting your face into the picture of misery, and yet years of downing D-level vodka in college has prepared you for these very moments. Crash, bed, fade. Wake up the next morning and your nose is clogged as hell but it isn't dripping anymore. Thanks Sudafed. Or was it the Nyquil? Downside/upside: throat is ragged, voice is gone. This is good because you will milk all of the sympathy at work. Make sure to emphasize it in front of your boss. 'Oh, your voice is gone!' says a co-worker. 'You sound really sick.' 'Yeahh,' you croak, popping disgusting-flavored Halls your roommate had in her sock drawer, (pop, suck, cringe) 'But it's fine. I've got to make sure I finish The Project.' Hunch over your desk and start typing away for added sympathy slash badassness. You really should see the doctor, $20 co-pay to make sure you haven't since developed cancer. Just make sure you take Mucinex because otherwise it'll all spread to your lungs and that's just bronchitis waiting to happen. Miraculously, Friday you wake up, and everything is good. Everything is good! Happy hour after work? Yes please. You need a damn drink. Pour, slurp, gone. After this week, you need to relax. Jesus, being sick is exhausting.

being sick / currently

At the first onset of sickness, pray whatever's coming won't last for a long time, for your own sanity. There is no medicine here for you to take. You can take a few hours off in the morning tomorrow to re-charge with an extra long night's sleep, and probably nip the whole damn thing in the bud right now. But you are American. You go into work. When the inevitable hits, and you wake up with a full-blown cold two days later, you go into work. Your boss will hear your voice on the phone and ask you if you have a cold. Your boss will tell you to either A) take it easy or B) go home. You do not play up your symptoms, because there is a very real chance your office mates will get super grossed out and immediately demand you leave before you get anyone else sick. What are you thinking?! If you do reveal to your co-workers you are feeling under the weather, prepare for a myriad of homeopathic suggestions ranging from alcohol to a delicious combination of raw ginger, lemon, & honey steeped in hot water. If it's realllllllly bad, you can pick up some Panodil at the pharmacy, but, you know, that's medicine. Don't even think about seeing a doctor for this. You don't need a doctor. You'll let your illness run its course. You'll drink a lot of tea and eat a lot of soup. You will feel okay if it takes a turn for the worse and you have to be out of the office for two days. You will secretly give yourself a double-dose of the Nyquil you have snuck back from the U.S. and pass out for a blissful 10 hour sleep, the likes of which ginger tea cannot provide. It is the best thing you have brought back from the U.S. besides the Trader Joe's almond butter. Your Danish roommate will look on with a combination of envy, intrigue, and suspicion. You'll be better by the time the office Friday bar rolls around. Being sick happens.

 

danish gastro cooking

One of the cool perks of the job is getting the chance to accompany students on various cultural immersion experiences they sign up for. Last night a group of sixteen students and I visited Tim Vladmir's Køkken in Valby and spend four low-key, educational, creative hours enjoying wine and cooking our way through some inspiring dishes.

image.jpeg

Menu for the evening. New Nordic inspired, a bit of science, and local ingredients.

Vegetables in edible dirt. The base is a mixture of thick mustard (complete with whole seeds), homemade mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, capers, and Icelandic skyr. It is covered with crushed roasted rye bread, dark malt flour, and savory pop rocks. Yeah, I'm not actually sure what the culinary name for 'savory pop rocks' is, but that's what they were! Planted are radishes, carrots, sprouts, and nasturtium flower.

Vegetables in edible dirt. The base is a mixture of thick mustard (complete with whole seeds), homemade mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, capers, and Icelandic skyr. It is covered with crushed roasted rye bread, dark malt flour, and savory pop rocks. Yeah, I'm not actually sure what the culinary name for 'savory pop rocks' is, but that's what they were! Planted are radishes, carrots, sprouts, and nasturtium flower.

Want to make this again sometime. It's really beautiful and I already own these exact glass jars.

Want to make this again sometime. It's really beautiful and I already own these exact glass jars.

Cod tartare - fresh, simple. Cucumber cut out with a tiny melon-ball scoop. Little bits of bacon to add a saltiness and crunch so the raw fish texture doesn't take over. Small amounts of broken apple jelly to add sweetness. Dusted with bacon dust, which was cool to make but I don't think added too much - maybe I needed more?

Cod tartare - fresh, simple. Cucumber cut out with a tiny melon-ball scoop. Little bits of bacon to add a saltiness and crunch so the raw fish texture doesn't take over. Small amounts of broken apple jelly to add sweetness. Dusted with bacon dust, which was cool to make but I don't think added too much - maybe I needed more?

PORK BELLY: My first time having sous vide meat.. We finished it off by cooking it in equal parts butter and olive oil just to give the outer fat a good sear.

PORK BELLY: My first time having sous vide meat.. We finished it off by cooking it in equal parts butter and olive oil just to give the outer fat a good sear.

Preparing the shaved fennel salad to go underneath.

Preparing the shaved fennel salad to go underneath.

This was just as delicious as the meat - the vegetarian alternative was celeriac 'steaks'. Celeriac is the white bulb-like root under the celery stalks we are more familiar with. Most people use it to make soups, but if you slice it and cook it in a good oil or butter, it retains its texture and you can eat it like meat, i.e. it won't turn into mush. It's slightly sweet and very satisfying. 

This was just as delicious as the meat - the vegetarian alternative was celeriac 'steaks'. Celeriac is the white bulb-like root under the celery stalks we are more familiar with. Most people use it to make soups, but if you slice it and cook it in a good oil or butter, it retains its texture and you can eat it like meat, i.e. it won't turn into mush. It's slightly sweet and very satisfying. 

Sea buck thorn is local to Denmark and is often picked the late summer to fall. These were frozen from prior. They are very tangy in their taste and remind me almost of a orange Push-Up Pop. We cooked them down with some sugar and water until they were a thick syrup. Their color is phenomenal.

Sea buck thorn is local to Denmark and is often picked the late summer to fall. These were frozen from prior. They are very tangy in their taste and remind me almost of a orange Push-Up Pop. We cooked them down with some sugar and water until they were a thick syrup. Their color is phenomenal.

Prepping sheep's milk ice cream. Already plated the sea buck thorn syrup. To the left are Danish butter cookies with a slight variation of hazelnuts and the same dark malt flour used in the 'dirt'.

Prepping sheep's milk ice cream. Already plated the sea buck thorn syrup. To the left are Danish butter cookies with a slight variation of hazelnuts and the same dark malt flour used in the 'dirt'.

Using liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze the ice cream. I didn't have time to top my ice cream with a shattered leaf on top, but it was cool to watch.

Using liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze the ice cream. I didn't have time to top my ice cream with a shattered leaf on top, but it was cool to watch.

End result.

End result.