In my first post about food, I explored its associations with identity, culture, and my feelings about home. This is the second time in a couple weeks that I've written about food, this time focusing on it as a communal activity.
When I have to cook for myself, my diet is like this: breakfast: fruit, yogurt and muesli or toast and jam.
lunch: sandwich and/or salad.
dinner: pasta with some variations of sauces/stirfry.
But I am very fortunate to not have to eat my own cooking everyday because the group of exchange students here organizes group dinner quite often.
This past weekend was a gastronomical delight. On Friday, I went to my first "bring your national dish" potluck. It's pretty difficult to come up with an original American dish seeing as this is a nation of immigrants and all the indigenous people were killed or marginalized... But I think I did pretty well by making PBJ and PBBH, that's PB, banana, and honey. Actually I couldn't find grape jelly so I used strawberry jam. And the peanut butter here is much less sweet than PB at home. It's actually noticeably salty. Nonetheless, I think I managed to convey something American. The PBBH sandwiches were more popular I think.
Polish cuisine was heavily represented given the makeup of my my dining companions. We dined on some kind of fried cheese I fail the remember the name, borscht, potato pancakes -- which Poles insist on eating with creme fraiche and sugar -- apple pie, and jello. Not Polish but still Slavic, we had some kind of Czech bun and again I can't remember the name but it was delicious.And we also had two lovely quiches made by the French.
Saturday was the first time I went to a restaurant in Århus. It was an Italian restaurant in the city center. Along with about 15 other exchange students, I dined on a buffet of appetizers and pork chop. It cost us 166 kr. each, which included two glasses of wine. It's expensive compared to dining in the States but for Denmark, it's a bargain.
To round out the weekend, our friends at Skejbyparken, a group of student dorms, organized a pizza and sushi dinner fundraiser on Sunday night. More than 80 people attended, which was also a fundraiser for Haiti. We each paid 50 kr. for sushi and pizza and tprofits will be donated to a charity helping Haiti. The Italian team, made up of Italian international students and their non-Italian sous chefs, made a staggering number of pizzas. They had to prepare the dough the day before. The Japanese team, headed by Yuta and assisted by others, prepared fillings and assembled sushi rolls. The fish was purchased from the harbor-side fish market so it was the freshest available to this seaside city. All the food was delicious but it was the atmosphere that made it special. Many people came to help the teams make the sushi and pizza.
The encore was a delicious dinner tonight consisting of spaghetti, curry potato salad, lightly stirfried vegetables, and fastelavnsboller. This is a bun filled with custard and topped with chocolate sauce, rather like a custard donut. It is eaten during fastelavn, which is similar to Carnival celebrated in Roman Catholic countries. But since Denmark went Protestant, it's a more general celebration.(I think I'll write more about Fastelavn later).
I think I know what study abroad returnees mean when they say they gained weight during their time abroad!