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Taste of Norway will offer cultural cuisine Nov. 19

By Lee Reinsch

GREEN BAY – Most of us know where to go when we’re in the mood for Italian, Mexican or Chinese food.

But what about when hankering for some good old-home Norwegian?

For 90 minutes this week, Taste of Norway will offer guests an idea of authentic Norwegian cuisine.

It’s one of the main fundraisers for the Sons of Norway Grønnvik Lodge 632, and among its most well-attended events.

The event will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 330 South Broadway, Green Bay.

Taste of Norway has been around since Grønnvik Lodge began more than 25 years ago.

“It’s just a nice evening with friendly folks and lots of good food,” said Grønnvik Lodge newsletter editor Eileen Larson Below.

Steve Below, outreach coordinator for Grønnvik Lodge, describes Taste of Norway as “sort of a potluck.”

Members bring any of a number of traditional dishes and people of all races and creeds are welcome to try them out.
Probably not Reinsdyrsteik (reindeer roast) or smalahove (salted lamb’s head), but never fear, the novelty of a foreign delicacy won’t be absent from the feast.

Pickled herring, for example, and of course, the national dried fish preserved with lye will be there.

“There’s one gentleman who has brought a lutefisk casserole every year, and it’s actually very good,” Below said. “It’s mixed with rice, not just your traditional fish over potatoes dish; you’ve got a couple of ingredients in it. It’s not just solid lutefisk.”

What does it taste like?

“Like lutefisk,” he said. “Only milder.”

Those not brave enough to sample it, or those generous souls who opt to sacrifice their portion so that others may have more, will find many other curious comestibles with which to fill their plates’ barren plains.

“Root vegetables are very big this time of year, so I’m sure there’ll be some kinds of rutabaga dishes,” Below said.

Rutabagas are often prepared in Norway much like spuds – boiled, mashed with cream and served with butter.

“It’s similar to mashed potatoes only with a stronger flavor to it,” Below said.

Some other Norwegian treats to expect:

• Kjottboller – meatballs made with cardamom, which Wisconsin-based spice retailer Penzeys dubs “the main flavor that defines a Norwegian meatball,” and dill weed.

• Rommegrot – a sour cream pudding (or porridge) made with whole milk, real whipping cream and whole wheat flour and often served with melted butter and maple syrup or cinnamon sugar (although Sons of Norway’s website reports some varieties are made with dried meats).

• Eplekake – an apple cake topped with almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon.

• Gjetost – a sweet caramel-colored cheese often made with goat’s milk.

• Julekake – Christmas bread containing cardamom, fruit and lemon peel.

• Lefse – a potato flatbread often used as a crepe or tortilla.

• Vafler – heart-shaped waffles served with lingonberry jam and whipped cream.

And cookies, cookies, cookies, including rosettes (cookie-like deep-fried pastry treats served around the holidays), berlinerkranser (butter cookies) and sandbakkels (Norwegian sugar cookies).

A bake sale at the end of the meal will offer homemade cookies, lingonberry jam and lefse.

The event is free, but Below said the group appreciates donations to cover the food costs.

“If everyone can donate $5, that would be great,” he said. “If they can’t afford it, that’s OK, too.”

Grønnvik Lodge meetings are usually the third Tuesday of the month at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Anyone, Norwegian or not, with an interest in Norwegian culture is welcome to join.

More about Grønnvik Lodge and Sons of Norway can be found on Facebook or at sonsofnorwayGB.blogspot.com or by emailing Grø[email protected].

If you go, be sure to say, “Tusen takk.”

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