Cooking Class #1 – Danish Budget Food

I’ve tried cooking before. Not much, but I have. It always seems like such a waste to spend money on food that you then spend what feels like hours making just so you can stare hungrily at a half eaten plate wishing that you had just gone to the cafeteria instead. It’s a waste of time, money, and always leaves me hungry. And it’s not just me who thinks so. I had attempted cooking a couple times last year with my friend Kirsten and we were both disappointed by our efforts, then we found out that we were both going to Denmark and that there was a cooking class through DIS. Given our previous experiences I am not sure why we decided to try this in a foreign country but we did. I guess we are just optimists.

Anyway, we have five cooking classes in which to learn “Cooking the Danish Way.” Two of those classes are already done but have not yet been written about. The way the class is structured involves splitting into four groups of about four and each making a salad, a main course and a dessert. There used to be only one dessert but as our instructor pointed out “I’ve noticed that American’s like sweets, so we make four sweets.” All of us Americans appreciate that.

So, here we go, what we made during our first cooking class!

Danish Budget Food

Main Courses

Brown Cabbage with Medisterpølse

The smell, look, and texture of this didn’t seem to appealing. I mean, boiled cabbage and spongy light colored sausage? That’s not exactly what I am craving right now. Throwing in Danish dark bread with mustard doesn’t do much to quell my apprehension, or stomach. But it was actually surprisingly good. I couldn’t explain why, but it just wasn’t that bad. I would even make this sometime.

Brændende Kærlighed – Burning Love

My favorite from the budget food class! I like mashed potatoes. I like onions. I like bacon. Put it all together and I am one happy dinner. Happy and full. Also, the good news is that this can’t possibly be too hard. I am sure that I will be able to recreate this one.

Chicken Meatballs

There’s no link on this one since the concept is pretty simple and there is no real Danish translation. Frikadeller is about as close as you can get but those are typically made with pork and fried, not baked.

Curry Cabbage

When I think of curry I don’t typically think of Denmark. Apparently neither does Google. Cabbage yes, but not curry. My host parents said that in the 1970’s and ’80’s curry really took off here, though the curry was typically very bland. I can back that statement and say that the trend is still continuing today. This is the main course that my group made. And we made a LOT of it. Two full cabbages, a lot of carrots, a whole bottle of (weak) curry powder, and quite a bit of beef. There was nothing special about it but it did manage to feed some of the students in kollegiums for a week afterwards (you’re welcome). That and the fact that I made it. I didn’t make it alone but I did help and I didn’t screw it up. This is the first real food I’ve made , besides a fried egg or something, that wasn’t completely ruined. I was pretty happy with that. Never before has cabbage and weak curry tasted so delicious.

Dessert

Bedstefars Skæg – Grandfathers Beard

I’m just linking to pictures here so you can see what it looks like. I am doing that just so I can tell you that ours looked better. The group that made this did a really great job making it look nice if nothing else. Yes, it tasted good but I don’t know what else to say about that aspect. I think this might have been my favorite dessert, except maybe for…

Drømmekage – Dream Cake

baked coconut on top of a vanilla cake. I think the texture was the best part. My group was responsible for this dessert, but unfortunately I cannot take any credit at all. I wish I could. Some other time.

Roulade with Strawberry Jam

I’m linking to a swiss roll because that is basically what it is. It tasted great but is pretty common throughout the world. The good news was that the group doing this made a mistake and used baking soda instead of baking powder (the containers and names look almost identical in Danish) so they made another one and we got two.

Cinnamon Cake

Again, nothing too exciting but it definitely tasted good. It reminded me of something my mom would make and made me realize how much I will miss Thanksgiving this year. I guess I’ll just have to make them myself to try and make up for that.

So that was the first cooking class in all of it’s belt busting glory (there were a lot of leftovers and we all had the better part of four meals). There were some things that were rather common but overall I was happy with how things turned out. The class (and this blog) have even turned me into one  of those people who takes pictures of their food, though I only do it in this class. As silly as I sometimes felt photographing that food I know that I need to get it on this blog. With my computer gone I don’t have a way to upload them at the moment but I will figure it out once I am back from my study tour next week.

Next up is “Brain Food” which I am planning to write today and post while I am in Berlin/Prague just so you don’t have to go another whole week without me. I know how much you would hate that.

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