Wednesday, May 11, 2016

His Prairie Sweetheart - Norwegian Foods

One of the best things about traveling is sampling the local cuisine, don't you agree? I remember the first time I had grits, fried green tomatoes, and buffalo burgers. Cheese curds and hot dish and mustard pretzels. I now tie those foods to the places I was when I first sampled them.

Which is why I wanted to bring food into the clash of cultures in His Prairie Sweetheart. Savannah Cox is a Southern Belle. She's familiar with collard greens, cornbread, fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, friend green tomatoes, grits, and pecan pie. And Elias is a Minnesotan, half-Irish and half-Norwegian. He's used to krumkake, rommegrot, lutefisk, and lefse.

Elias goads Savannah into trying lutefisk,  a Scandinavian dish prepared by soaking dried cod in lye to tenderize it, then skinning, boning, and boiling the fish to a gelatinous consistency. Yeah, sounds delightful, doesn't it? But Savannah is game to try it, much to the admiration of Elias's family and friends.

A homesick Savannah, in turn, introduces Elias to the foods of her own background and tradition, sharing her heritage with him. He's a fan of her buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken.

Their story is not dissimilar to my own, since I was from Kansas, and my husband is from Minnesota. In Kansas, we put ranch dressing on everything, and BBQ is sweet and smoky and takes all day to prepare. Peter had never eaten cole slaw, and his version of salad was just lettuce with a little 1000 Island on it.

Conversely, I'd never eaten cheese curds, didn't know what a hot dish was, and had never in all my born days seen pickled herring on a salad bar or heard of putting cheese inside the burger.

After more than twenty-five years of marriage, we've melded into our own unique blend of Kansas and Minnesota, of midwest and northerner. We enjoy the foods of each other's culture, and we're richer for having experienced them.

How about you? What food is native to your home place? Are you an adventurous eater?

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  1. I'm from the Deep South so fried chicken, grits and turnip greens are regulars in my diet. I loved the line in My Cousin Vinny where he asks, "what's a grit?" I worked in a hospital where we had interns, many from the north. I laughed one day when one told me he had bought a box of instant grits and mailed the individual packets to his friends in the north.

    1. LOL, it's so hard to describe grits to anyone who hasn't tasted them. The consistency, the taste...defy description.

  2. By the way, I love y'all's new look and especially the matching mugs. Is there a story behind this?

    1. These photos were taken by Emilie Hendryx at the ACFW conference...and we borrowed the shotgun shell coffee mugs from the gift shop!

  3. We're all about the fry bread, from my Hopi side. Eskimo side with whale blubber and seal oil? Not so much. As for Troy, it's Schwans---that's Minnesotan too, right?

    1. :D Troy's got it right! I'm pretty sure you should all move back to MN soon!!!!


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