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9 posts categorized "Ask the Scandies"

April 24, 2014

How to be more Danish, in ten easy steps.

We asked the good people on Twitter how to be a Dane in 10 steps…

 Here are some of the top replies:


1. Wear black. And only black.



2. Eat open sandwiches. Preferably topped with cheese and jam. Yes, jam.



3. Throw the word "hygge" randomly into sentences, then pretend to try really hard to find an English translation. Yet again.



4. Never use the word please, with the excuse that “but we don’t HAVE a word for please in Danish”.



5. Test ANY non-Dane on whether they like salty liquorice and laugh when they don't.



6. Have an awkward sense of humour and laugh at jokes such as “Do you know how to save a Swede from drowning? No? Good!” HarHarHarHar... See also: making fun of everything Swedish. And Norwegian. And Icelandic. And German.#hilarious



7. Have a flagpole in your garden and raise the Danish flag at every opportunity (Sundays, public holidays, birthdays, popping to the shops…)



8.  If someone asks you how you are, be sure to really explain to them how you are feeling. 


9. Top most food groups with a dollop of remoulade. Especially chips, beef, fish and hotdogs. And salami. And meatballs. 



10. Always have one white sock over one trouser leg (or roll one trouser leg up, if not wanting to wear white socks over your all-black outfit). You never know when you might be going cycling. This way, you can be ready in a flash.


November 22, 2012

Disney Channel looking for new Nordic talent


Disney Channel Nordic is looking for new talent.

If you are living in London or the surrounding area and speak fluent Swedish, Danish or Norwegian, you could audition to appear on Disney Channel.  If it's good enough for Britney and Justin...

Disney Channel is looking for talented teens and young adults with loads of energy and confidence for our future TV productions. If this is you or someone you know please get in touch with them.

Make a video and tell them about yourself in your native language. Let them know why you would make a great personality on Disney Channel.

E-mail it with a short letter and photo to the address below. They will call successful applicants to an audition. If you are cast in a production you would get paid for the job.

Amount of work will depend on the programme’s size and the role cast. If you are under 16 please ask your parent to contact us on your behalf.

Please send your video and info by January 2 2013 to: matthew.eriksson@disney.com

November 10, 2012

Meet Trine Hahnemann & Signe Johansen at Scandi Kitchen on Thu 15th Nov 2012


UPDATE 13th NOVEMBER:  This event will also be attended by the wonderful Patrick Kingsley, author of the book "How to be Danish'.  Patrick will be on hand to sign books, chit chat about Denmark and his thoughts on what makes people Danish.

We adore both Trine and Signe's books and we have stocked all of their books for years.  From the first Scandilicious book to the The Scandinavian Cookbook and The Nordic Diet, we have read and loved them all.

We're super pleased to be able to invite you all to an evening of Meet the Authors at the cafe on Great Titchfield Street.

When:            Thursday 15th november 2012

Time:            18:00 (for a few hours)

What:         Signing of books, mugs of mulled wine, all your questions about Scandinavian cooking and baking answered by the experts. 

Cost:        Free.  

Bye for now

The Kitchen People

PS - Signed copies of some books available now in store and online 




June 19, 2012

'Små grodorna' is a French song. Shock, horror.

The Swedish song 'Små grodorna', sung at every Midsummer event and much loved by all Swedes across the world, is French.

The song is originally a French march called The Onion March (yes, really).  The Brits made a parody of the song and changed some of the lyrics to "Au pas, grenouilles!" ("I takt, små grodor! / March, Little Frogs).   And so, the swedes took the song and made it all about little frogs with no ears and no tail. 

Don't believe us?  Then listen to it here

And don't say we never teach you anything.

February 22, 2011

Ask the Scandies: What is Icelandic beer day? Why?

Imagine a world without Carlsberg:  Probably the scariest thing in the world to imagine for some people. 

That's just what life was life on Iceland up until 1989.  You think that is a long time ago?  It's not:  it was the year of the first poll tax, Batman was in the cinemas and the Berlin Wall fell.  That's when Iceland legalised beer. 

The Icelandic prohibition started in 1915 and while most of the prohibited stuff was legalised in 1935, beer remained prohibited until 1 March 1989 (since then, known as Beer Day).

So far, so fair.  What most don't know is that the reason the initial part of the ban was lifted in the twenties was because Spain refused to buy the Icelandic fish unless they could sell their wines in Iceland.    The reason the Icelandic government only legaliszed spirits in 1935 and not beer was out of the argument that "beer costs than spirits and people will drink more, thus leaving to more depravity".

Quite.  A pint in iceland will set you back around £4-5.  Best stay off the spirits.

Join Iceland on a rúntur (pub crawl) on 1 March. 

Got a question for the Scandies?  Mail us

February 01, 2011

Ask the Scandies: Why is Schlager so popular in Sweden?

Eurovision season is well underway in the Nordic lands right now.

Norway, Iceland and Finland are all set for the final rounds of their selection process, while Denmark will be having just one night of fun later this month. However, there’s one country where the event is taken more seriously than anywhere else: Sweden.

You won’t find Melodifestivalen, the festival that celebrates schlager, mentioned in any guidebooks. But it’s an integral part of Swedish culture. For six weeks a year (starting this coming Saturday), a huge part of the nation gathers around its TV screens to watch the phenomenon known as ‘schlager’ unfold. Schlager is pop music – but better. Schlager is shameless. And always involves a key change.

Melodifestivalen is the World Cup, the Olympic Games of schlager.

Everyone wants to be involved. Everyone.

Schlager is not cheesy [writer's opinion.  ed]

The biggest schlager star of all is Carola Häggkvist. The next time you come into Scandinavian Kitchen, ask your Swedish server to sing you a song. We guarantee she or he will sing this:

Carola is a schlager icon. You may remember her from her Eurovision appearance. Or the other appearance. Or the other one. Three times.

This is how special she is.

Another schlager icon is Kikki Danielsson. Here is Kikki. She gets good vibrations.

Here is Shirley Clamp. Shirley is schlager.

Now you know what schlager is, you will have a deeper understanding of the Swedish psyche. For, despite jantelag and liberalism, there is a special place for schlager. Even in Jonas. He just likes to keep it hidden.

Today, a Swedish journalist is arguing in Svenska Dagblad that many schlager stars feel a sense of shame, which is why so many people love them. They share that shame.

This is, of course, nonsense. We love schlager because of the key change. No shame there.

However, there’s another, even deeper reason. Melodifestivalen happens in winter, when it’s dark. So, you see, schlager brings light. It harks back to the pagan days of waiting for the spring to arrive.

That’s how important schlager is.

Is that the smell of Västerbotten...?

Post by David Jorgensen.  Read more about Eurovision and schlager here on Schlagerfiasko

January 25, 2011

Ask the Scandies: Why do the Danes call a small hill a mountain?

Norway has its fjords. Sweden has a few peaks. But Denmark is flat. If Denmark were a woman, Trinny and Susannah would have nothing much to grope. Which is why everyone is very proud of Himmelbjerget - The Heaven Mountain.

To be honest, if you tried to get to Heaven on top of Himmelbjerget, you may as well be stood in the Thames Estuary, as it’s only 147 metres above sea level. But, as T&S would agree, you’ve gotta make the best of what you got. So the Danish people proclaimed it as their highest point in all the land.

Now, you can see where Hans Christian Andersen got his ideas from, because Himmelbjerget was pipped to the post of the title by Møllehøj, which is 170.86 metres above sea level. But Møllehøj doesn’t look like a mountain, really. Just an ever-increasing gradient. So everyone prefers Himmelbjerget. Well, actually, that doesn’t look like a mountain, either. The Emperor has nothing on at all!

Anyway, the point of the story is this: My great-grandfather, Lauritz Ludvig Kronholm, decided to leave Denmark in the early 20th century to live in the UK. We’re still trying to establish why, because while we were having fun under Mrs Thatcher, everything was wonderful back in the homeland (ahem). Lauritz was 168cm tall. That’s about 5 foot 6 inches. That is exactly the same as me, David Frederik Kronholm. In other words, we missed out on the great growth spurt that the rest of the family enjoyed later on. So, for both of us, Himmelbjerget is a mountain. It’s very high indeed and we’re both keen to continue to believe that, because it makes us feel better about our height.

Post by Mr David Jørgensen, 5 foot 6 inches tall.

  Himmelbjerget_2005Photo by Thomas Bredol.  Photo taken in view so that it almost even looks like a mountain. 

January 18, 2011

Ask the Scandies: Which Norse God is coolest?

After my success in hunting down Whigfield (we found her, she says hej), Bronte had another challenge for me. Apparently, someone wanted me to find the coolest Norse deity. “Sure,” I said. “That’s no problem. When’s my flight to Iceland booked for?”

“No,” said Bronte. “You can’t go to Iceland. You’ll just get drunk and we can’t afford to make semlor after paying your drinks bill.”

 “Oh,” I replied. “OK. Well, like Whigfield, some of them are bound to be on Twitter, so I can ask them.”

Unfortunately, the Norse gods are too cool for Twitter. They communicate on another plain of existence, so until their PR gets back to me with a few quotes, I’ll just have to make it up as I go along tell you what I know

Did you know that the gods gave us our weekdays? This is quite cool in itself. Obviously, Friday came from a female god, as you could never rely on a man to create a day that leads into the weekend. Freyja came up with Frjádagr, which we call Friday. So she’s cool. And she has a pal called Frigg, which is one of my favourite words. (Or they may have been the same god.)

Thor is obviously up there, too. Scandinavian Kitchen reckons Thor – or Þórr, more accurately – eats porridge for breakfast. Obviously, this is absurd. Thor would never be up before late afternoon after being out all night, and he’d probably prefer vodka for breakfast. Thor is a man’s god. He sorts out storms, lightning, oak trees and fertility. Basically, he’s a lover and a fighter, in a good way. This is cool. This is actually really cool, and so hot. Really, really hot.

But the coolest god of all is Freyr. He’s Freyja’s twin brother, and also takes a great interest in fertility. He likes sunlight, rain and peace. These are, of course, all wonderful things. He’s Thor without all the violence. The lover without the fighting. He’ll make you that porridge and bring it up to you with a cup of coffee, then go downstairs, wash up AND put away. Freyr also gets around in a cool fashion. He has a chariot, pulled by two boars. This is cool. He also avoids the congestion charge because no one dares to go near the boars. When he needs to go further afield, he has Skíðblaðnir, his ship. The ship goes directly to where he wants to be, over land, sea or in the air. This means that he never has to use TfL. Ever. This is cool. Even better, he doesn’t pay for on-street parking because the ship folds up into his pocket. This is really cool. Apparently, Freyr is the spiritual ancestor of the Swedish royal family. Crown Princess Victoria is cool, and now we see where she gets it from.

Here’s a little statuette of Freyr. Saucy.

So that’s the Norse gods dealt with. I’m sure the late, great Magnús Magnússon would be proud of me. I’d love to hear your own favourites – comment below, please.

Mr Jørgensen



January 12, 2011

Ask the Scandies: Where's Whigfield?

Where IS Whigfield?

Cast your mind back to 1994. So many momentous events occurred. Sweden joined the EU. Norway didn’t. Munch’s The Scream was stolen in Oslo, and in Stockholm, gay civil unions were legalised. Meanwhile, Denmark’s contribution to history that year was in the form of Sannie Charlotte Carlson, a singer from the small town of Skælskør.

For a while, Whigfield was the biggest star in the world (sort of).

She sold more records than Blur and Oasis. Combined. Dee-dee-na-na-na, Liam. Dee. Dee. Na. Na. Na.

Sadly – in Europe, at least, Whigfield’s star didn’t shine so brightly after Saturday night turned into Sunday morning. Another couple of singles didn’t do as well (a couple of number 7 singles these days means you’re in the musical dumper faster than you can say “Cheryl Cole is my mentor”). If you need a visual representation of Whigfield’s UK chart history, click here, but it isn’t comfortable viewing.

Happily, Whigfield was still big in South Africa. Triple-platinum big.

But then she vanished. So, where is Whigfield now?

She was spotted at London’s Gay Pride celebrations around 2002. “Hello London, I’m absolutely f****d!” she announced, before launching into Saturday Night.

But today, well, Whigfield doesn’t exist. This isn’t a sad tale, however. Sannie has left the rigours of chart scrutiny for the other side of the business, and is now writing music with the likes of Benny Benassi (he did that video with the models operating pneumatic drills.  You know the one.) and lots of other Eurostars.

And she's performing. Under the new name of Naan. As in the bread.

Naan. And she's 40 years old.

Anyway, that's Whigfield-Sannie-Naan. If you want to find out more, visit her fancy website at www.sanniecarlson.com ("It will take some seconds to load the website. Please be patient.")

Post by Mr David Jørgensen. 


Twitter Updates from Bronte