A Sweet Slice of Nostalgia at The American Pie Company in Copenhagen

Authentic Americana and Apple Pie in the heart of Copenhagen
ALMOST TASTES LIKE HOME

Care to share a sweet slice of authentic Americana right in the middle of Copenhagen? It’s as easy as pie. Except that I had yet to try. Until yesterday, when I finally succumbed to step inside The American Pie Company in the center of the city, which has been charming locals and garnering nominations for the City’s Best (Byens Bedste) Awards since it flung open its button-cute café in 2015. What took me so long you might ask? Wouldn’t a nice piece of pumpkin, pecan or key lime pie be the perfect palliative for any potential bout of pining for home? Yer darn tootin’ it could be. However, I’ve resisted. Until now. Continue reading “A Sweet Slice of Nostalgia at The American Pie Company in Copenhagen”

HOW TO INVITE DANES TO A PARTY | Tips to Help Understand the Cultural Rules around Celebrations in Denmark | via Oregon Girl Around the World

How to Invite Danes to a Party

Tillykke med fødselsdagen! Happy Birthday!

How to Celebrate in Denmark | Etiquette and Cultural Misunderstandings

Tillykke med fødselsdagen! Congratulations with your birthday! That’s how you say “Happy Birthday” in Denmark. And there are certain ways to celebrate it here. Like most everything you encounter when moving abroad, no matter where that may be, you quickly find there are distinct rituals and customs about how to do things. Those little, unspoken rules that are blanketly accepted by that society. The “rules” that no one tells you about until you do something incorrectly. Didn’t you know? That’s how we do it here. We all knew. Why don’t you? It was in the manual. Continue reading “How to Invite Danes to a Party”

At the end of the emotional parenthesis – living in Expat Limbo

What happens when there is no end in sight.
Where do you see yourself in five years?

My father-in-law always asks us the same question when we see him. It’s part of the ritual. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? It’s not the first question. Usually. And it doesn’t necessarily come at the beginning of a visit. It may even take a few days to come up. But then, unsuspecting, when you’re in a brief moment of reverie after the kids have left the table and you linger in the quiet space – BAM. There it is. Soooo, where do you guys see yourself in five years? Guh. I don’t know? I don’t even know where I see myself next year. Continue reading “At the end of the emotional parenthesis – living in Expat Limbo”

Grateful for 2016

Welcome 2017!

Cheers to you! Skål from Copenhagen.

Exactly one year ago January 1st, 2016 woke up with the same high hopes and gleaming fresh faced eagerness – ready to take on the new year. Much like today, the brand newness of that turn on the calendar encouraged us with possibilities and opportunity.

For many 2016 hobbled to a close last night dragging, sagging, clumsy and scarred. As a society, we have been bombarded with images, videos, news, tweets and the like that have all kicked 2016 to the curb. It was the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. Or so it may seem.

But I can’t toss 2016 out of bed for eating crackers. Yes, I will concur. Sleeping with some of those crumbs from last year may not be so pleasant. But I’m afraid many are around to stay. For awhile. So instead. Today. At the beginning of this very brand new year, once again chock full of promises for opportunities and possibility, I have to look back and see what 2016 DID give us. Give me. Give our family.

You may have toasted good riddance last night, but these are the 12 things that 2016 afforded us. And for that I am grateful.

12 Reasons we are Grateful for 2016

  1. ANOTHER YEAR IN COPENHAGEN

  2. A ROMAN HOLIDAY AND THE BEST LITTLE HILL TOWN IN ITALY

    The Most Charming Hill Town in Italy - Orvieto - www.oregongirlaroundtheworld.com

  3. TRIP THROUGH THE TULIPS IN THE NETHERLANDS

  4. EIFFEL TOWER TOUR FOR A 10th BIRTHDAY IN PARIS

    Take your tween to Paris : So many reasons it is right | Oregon Girl Around the World

  5. CHEERING DANISH NATIONAL LACROSSE TEAM IN MANCHESTER

  6. PUFFINS, COCKLES AND MAGPIES

    Farne Islands Northumberland UK Seabirds

  7. AMERICAN REUNIONS IN OREGON AND CALIFORNIA

  8. FAMILY SURF LESSONS IN SANTA BARBARA

  9. NEW FAMILY MEMBERS BORN

  10. SCUBA DIVING AS A FAMILY IN CROATIA

    Discover Scuba Diving with Blue Planet Diving Center, Dubrovnik Croatia | Oregon Girl Around the World

  11. SWEDISH EXCURSIONS FOR CHRISTMAS
  12. A HEALTHY GROWING EXPLORING TESTING CHILDREN

2016 – you were a good year. I will remember you fondly. Thank you. Tak for sidst. Thanks for the last time. Taking my gratitude and turning towards 2017 with an open heart and a shit ton of patience. To you and yours, with love from Denmark. xoxo, Erin

All about Danish Christmas porridge | Risengrød | Where to Try it in Copenhagen by Oregon Girl Around the World

Where to try Risengrød | Get Danish Christmas Porridge at Grød

Try the classic Danish porridge this Christmas.
It’s not just for breakfast in Denmark.

When I say porridge – you say? Grød! No, no, no. Not grod. Grød. Listen.

When I say porridge – you say? Grød! At least the Danes do. Grød is porridge. To me, the word porridge conjures up visions of huge kettles of oatmeal that has been sitting out way too long at the breakfast buffet of your hotel when on a long weekend away with your son’s lacrosse team. Oh sorry. Just me? Maybe the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? I always steer clear. Of the “porridge.” Goopy. Soupy. Snotty. Oatmeal. Don’t get me wrong. I love oatmeal. But it isn’t porridge to me. It is oatmeal. And that stuff in the kettle? That is not oatmeal.

All about Danish Christmas porridge | Risengrød | Where to Try it in Copenhagen by Oregon Girl Around the World
Piping hot with butter about to melt

Here the Danes love porridge. Specifically risengrød. Rice porridge. When presented with new foods, I instinctually scroll through my mental rolodex of experiences and tastes. As you do when trying to make connections with that strange dish placed in front of you. The closest thing to risengrød that I have tried before would probably be rice pudding. In the States, it is a salad bar staple, but often gelatinous or potentially chunky. Now before you judge, not all American rice pudding is bad, but many can be. We do love the Trader Joe’s rice pudding straight from the container. Especially when served cold with cinnamon and nutmeg. Wait. Cold? Nutmeg? Did you say NUTMEG?!?! Records screeching silent. Looks of disdain. Utter shock and horror. You do NOT put nutmeg on risengrød, says my Danish friend. Oh. Ok. Duly noted. Thanks for the tip.

When we moved here two years ago, we found a tube of risengrød at the local Netto, a local market that I can only describe as a cross between Safeway, Tesco and the Dollar Store shoved inside the space of a 7-11. But Netto is an institution here. And a shopping experience it is. You either love it or you hate it. Or you grow to love it. Nothing is ever in the same place. There are boxes everywhere and there is nary a concern for presentation or atmosphere. Of any kind. But the prices are good. Very good. For Danish prices. Before arriving, I had read a little about Danish Christmas and knew that this tube at Netto was potentially a key player. It said Risengrød. That was an important Danish dish. You can see our first attempts at testing it here. Oh what we didn’t know that we didn’t even know at that time.

In Denmark, grød is a staple. (You’re still trying to say it correctly aren’t you? Keep trying.) You can eat grød for breakfast, lunch AND even dinner. Risengrød gets elevated status as a special dish at Christmas time. Think about it. Rice doesn’t grow here in Denmark. It was imported. You had to buy it. So if you normally made your daily grød from commonly grown grains like oats or rye or barley, rice was special. A treat. As was the exotic cinnamon which topped it. A risengrød was for Christmas. And when served at the beginning of the rich Danish Christmas dinner people filled up and it helped meter the costs of the more expensive dishes like the Duck and Roast Pork. Today, when modern Danes serve risengrød to their families, they make connections to history and those cultural roots. Those roots set in early, as most children have grown up with porridge for breakfast. It is comfort food in a bowl. And my family was eating it all wrong.

It should be served piping hot. With a “knob” of butter. And covered in cinnamon sugar. COVERED. Let the butter melt, but don’t stir it all in. Nibble like a Nisse from the edges. What’s a Nisse you ask? Those mischievous little sprites that live in the forest and help at the farm, but only if you treat them well. In December they move inside. Modern children place nissedør (doors) in their homes to allow the Nisse access. Leave them a little risengrød and they might leave a present in your boot. But forget and they might hide the toaster. Or move your shoes. They’ll play tricks to remind you. I can’t help but think that the “Elf on the Shelf” tradition has some roots with the nisse. Nisse love risengrød.

And risengrød has to be the perfect consistency. Recipes allow for any short grain rice, but Danes only use grødris. Follow a recipe. Keep stirring and stirring. Don’t walk away or the milk will burn. The rice shouldn’t be al dente, but definitely not mush. You want to feel the grains when you chew. It needs some tooth. Too much to take in? Not interested in making your own risengrød? But you are intrigued by this Danish tradition? Don’t worry. You can try it. At GRØD.

Yes. There is a restaurant that serves only porridge. In bowls. Piping hot. In fact, GRØD loves to claim that they were “the world’s first porridge bar.” You can visit the mother ship in Nørrebro on charming Jæggersborgade or in the glass market at Torvehallerne. Lucky for me, my Danish friend loves GRØD and we have one right here in our Østerbro neighborhood.

Today, we met for a bowl of the klassisk risengrød. Served just how she taught me. It’s simple. But homey. And definitely not soupy. Just right. Let the butter melt. Don’t stir it in. Warm and filling. Do I need it everyday? Probably not. But I would not say no to another bowl of porridge served hot.

All about Danish Christmas porridge | Risengrød | Where to Try it in Copenhagen by Oregon Girl Around the World
Risengrød covered in cinnamon sugar with butter starting to melt.

GRØD serves many different kinds of porridge beyond the simple and traditional risengrød. They want to elevate what they believe a classic and elegant meal in a bowl. I will admit that last time I visited I enjoyed the curried lentil porridge. Been to GRØD? It is definitely worth seeking out. What did you try? This time of year – don’t miss the risengrød. Cozy Danish Christmas in a bowl.

WHERE TO FIND GRØD

Torvehallerne Glass Market

Hall 2, Stade 8A, Linnésgade 17
1362 Copenhagen K
Monday – Friday: 07.30-19-00
Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 to 18:00

NøRREBRO

Jægersborggade 50, kld. TV
DK-2200 Copenhagen N
Monday – Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 21:00
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 to 21:00

Østerbro

Nordre Frihavnsgade 55,
2100 Copenhagen Ø
Monday – Friday: 7:30 to 21:00
Saturday – Sunday: 9:00 to 21:00

Additional locations in Frederiksberg and on Jutland in Aarhus.

Need a recipe? Try this one and find more Danish Christmas food classics. Glædelig Jul from Denmark! Merry Christmas from Copenhagen, Erin.