Last Sunday was The Danish Home’s Annual Fall Fest and everyone who attended had such a wonderful time! It was great to see friends and neighbors, and also to meet many new visitors who came for the fun and food. The Danish Home’s events are always so enjoyable, and this autumn social was no different. The bakery shop, which had home made baked goods for sale, and the Danish Mini-deli were a huge hit, as was the home cooked Danish frikadeller dinner. After all, it just wouldn’t be a true Danish celebration without all of those traditional Danish eats!
Like most cultures, Danish celebrations tend to center around good food and good company. Danes have no problem in these areas, considering Denmark’s own noma was voted #1 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2014, and Danes are known for being the happiest in the world.
Although this new food revitalization has contributed to Danish popularity around the world, many Danes continue to make the traditional dishes that have been passed down for many, many generations. As a true testament to the perseverance of old world culinary traditions merging with cutting edge technology, there is even an app for that! The free Danish Smørrebrød App will teach you all you’ve ever wanted about this Danish open face sandwich, including recipes!
Back in the day, way before apps, recipes were shared in a more conventional way. As Danes immigrated to America in the 19th century they brought with them methods and techniques for home made old country dishes well known within the Danish-American community (and beyond!) today. I know I definitely still use the many recipes given to me by my mother, passed on to her by Mormor and Mormor’s mother before her. Baking and enjoying these dishes together is what is so special. It isn’t necessarily the enjoyment of eating (although this is definitely a perk!) as much as the quality time spent together with those you love.
In reading the letters I’ve found in the hope chest, I’ve learned that what Anna enjoyed most was to cook Danish food for others. Rugbrød with Leverpostej (rye bread with liver paste) as a delicious smørrebrød (open face sandwich), Æbleflæsk (apple pork), brændende kærlighed (“burning love”) and fløderand were some of her favorites. Taught to her in a small rural kitchen in Denmark by her own Mor (mother), Mormor (maternal grandmother) and Farmor (paternal grandmother), Anna’s love for cooking and commitment to preserving important traditions was apparent.
The Danish Home of Chicago has also done a phenomenal job carrying on many of these wonderful Danish traditions throughout the year. In June, during their Summer Festival, the highlight is on smørrebrød (Danish open face sandwich). The annual Fall Fest features frikadeller (Danish meatballs), and December brings the celebration of Lillejuleaften and the traditional dinner of roasted duck & pork with brown sauce, boiled cabbage and potatoes, gløgg and ris-a-la-mande.
Is your mouth watering yet? Visit our Pinterest board for tons of traditional Danish recipes, including all of those mentioned in this post!
Velbekomme! (“Bon appetite”) Learn how to pronounce it in Danish here
What is your favorite Danish dish? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear it!