I’ve been trying to mix in some culture to my Jterm class on Iceland. The 2nd Thursday of the class, we watched a few TV shows & an Icelandic movie (all available instantly on Netflix, in case you’re interested):
- Anthony Bourdain, “No Reservations” Collection 1, Episode 2: Iceland — for some reason they filmed this in Iceland in the winter, so it was an American’s view on non-tourist season Iceland; long & short of it: Icelanders drink quite a bit, like to weight-lift, and eat things that completely grossed out my students
- “Destination Truth” Season 2, Episode 12: Issie & Icelandic Elves — this was a bit over the top on the “ghost-hunting” side, but gave some decent background on cultural beliefs in Iceland
- our Icelandic movie (with subtitles) was “Jar City” & is based on the book of the same name by Baltasar Kormakur; long & short of it: Icelanders eat icky things (this was actually worse than Bourdain!), Icelanders seem to know who you’re talking about even if you just use first names, there is an Icelandic genetic database & few enough people live in the country that weird connections can be made, and the Icelandic prison system seems fairly lax
On the third Thursday of the month, we gathered in my house to cook some traditional Icelandic dishes. There was a strong push due to the TV-watching of the previous week to go vegetarian, so I managed to cobble together a set of non-meat dishes. The main resource I found was a cooking blog entitled Icelandic cooking, recipes, and food. What we ended up making:
- Rauðkál (pickled red cabbage)
- Brúnaðar kartöflur (caramelized potatoes)
- Soðnar rófur og rófustappa (we did the mashed rutabagas — students had never seen one before, so there was some fun cutting it up)
- Flatbrauð (Icelandic flat rye bread)
- creamy mushroom soup (no Icelandic name given…)
- Siggakökur – Siggi’s cookies (which are simply chocolate chip)
- Kanilsnúðar (cinnamon cookies — we made the version w/out hartshorn)
- Hrísgrjónagrautur (rice pudding)
the flatbread was cooked in my cast iron pan (no fat / oil / Pam used) instead of directly on the cooktop due to the fact I have an electric stove. The flatbread was not the most flavorful item, but it did a good job at sopping up the pickled cabbage juice & the soup.
the only hard part with the “veggies” was figuring out how to chop & peel the rutabaga.
of the “lunch” portion, the potatoes were probably the best thing.
after lunch, we made two sets of cookies + rice pudding. The rice pudding was too bland for the crowd, but Siggi’s cookies were well appreciated. The snails could have used icing according to my class and then they would have been like cinnamon rolls.
the snails have to go in the fridge for an hour before you can bake them, so we watched part of the NOVA: The Vikings while waiting.
the students were wonderful about cleaning up after the cooking, with Amy taking over the dishwashing corner.
all of the non-geology students got a huge laugh out of Sam whipping out his handlens to look at my genuine Gore Mt garnet cheeseboard:
All in all, it was a good day. Everyone claimed to be stuffed by the time they tumbled back out into the freezing cold. Hopefully all the butter gave us a bit of padding to survive the negative temperatures 🙂