• FWIC

Food Preparation the Scandinavian Way

The following is from my mum's mother, who emigrated from Denmark in the early 20th century, with her parents and siblings. 


I am told that as WWI was raging, most households were given cookbooks to help, not only with the austerity but immigrants to the locally available ingredients.  Our cookbook was titled, "War Time Cookery", published in November 1917. 


My mum tells me that my grandmother enjoyed cornbread, which they had not really had in Denmark. Here is the 'recipe' in the 1917 vernacular - not 21st century - all punctuation original.


Corn Bread

Two cupfuls corn meal, one cupful wheat,

One cupful sour milk, one cupful sweet,

One good egg that you will beat,

Half a cupful molasses too,

Half a cupful sugar thereto;

With one spoonful of butter new,

Salt and soda, each a spoon,

Mix up quickly and bake it soon.

Then you will have Corn bread you'll meet,

It will make your boy's eyes shine,

If he's like that boy of mine.

If you have a dozen boys

To increase your household joys,

Double then this rule you should,

And you'll have two Corn cakes good.

When you've nothing nice for tea,

This is the very best will be,

All the men that I have seen

Say it is of all cakes queen

Good enough for any king

That a husband home can bring,

Warming up the human stove,

Cheering up the hearts you love,

Only "Tyndell" can explain,

The links between corn bread and brain.

Get a husband what he likes,

And save a hundred household strikes.   


I don't know who Tyndell would have been referring to if anyone can enlighten me as they seem someone who would have been commonly known in 1917.


[Do YOU know who Tyndell is? Let us know via email at info@fwic.ca!]


My father's parents were from southern Norway, very, very close to the Sweden border.  In fact, at times in history, part of the farm WAS in Sweden.  My mother was from Swedish and Danish parents, so I actually did grow up with a fair bit of Scandinavian meals. 


One that stands out particularly is a traditional Norwegian breakfast, Rice Pudding. 


Norwegian  Rice Pudding differs from what may be considered normal, in that it is made from leftover, cooked rice and uses gelatine instead of eggs.  This was normal breakfast fare to me and so, years later, when I was sharing an apartment with my friend whose father was Cantonese from Hong Kong and a German mother, we both learned about cultural differences with similar food. 


My friend would cook a large pot of rice every night for her supper and then throw out all the leftovers.  I could not bear it and so asked her if I could have the leftovers for myself.  She was horrified to discover that I would make this rice pudding FOR BREAKFAST!!!