In a cold climate, only certain grains could thrive namely

Science Was Wrong About How To Make Norway’s Traditional Porridge

buy canada goose jacket When you talk about traditional Scandinavian foods, you end up talking about porridge. In a cold climate, only certain grains could thrive namely barley and oats. Their warm mush was a building block of early Nordic foodways, and is still a staple. buy canada goose jacket

Now, an everyday bowl of plain old grain mush hardly sounds controversial. But in the middle of the 19th century, Norway was gripped with a series of public debates that later became known as the Norwegian Porridge Feud. Really.

«Porridge has been one of the fundaments of Scandinavian food culture from canada goose outlet edmonton prehistoric times until the 20th century,» writes Henry Notaker in his book Food Culture in Scandinavia. «In some areas it was served two or three times a day, eventually as a thinner soup, or gruel.»

Porridge was so important that there were special exemptions allowing people to cook it on religious holidays, even when other forms of work were banned.

Traditionally, Norwegians would take flour or grits of oats or barley (rice if they were fancier), and simmer it up with water to make a gruel. Then, at the end, cooks would canada goose outlet store calgary stir in an additional measure of flour to finish the pot. And when we’re talking Norwegian cooks, we’re talking about women.

But in 1864, Peter Christen Asbjrnsen, writing under the pleasant sounding pseudonum Clemens Bonifacius («the gentle helper»), published a cookbook called Fornuftig Madstel (Sensible Cookery) which argued that the flour stirred in at the end was a misguided waste. Asbjrnsen maintained this uncooked flour went straight through the body without canada goose outlet black friday sale being used. He saw this not only as a loss to the farmer, but a loss to the economy of the country as a whole.

Even before this bold claim was made, culinary ethnologists Astri Riddervold and Andreas Ropeid say there were rumblings about overhauling domestic practices. While most cookbooks and domestic guides of the time had been from women who cited their own home experience, a new genre of books was emerging, written by male doctors who sought to replace folk wisdom with instruction in the evolving field of domestic science. And mind you, this was most definitely still evolving opium and coca received the stamp of approval, and the jury was still out on whether whole grains helped or harmed.

canada goose uk outlet On the pages of these books, the sides were clearly being staked. In Fornuftig Madstel, Asbjrnsen wasn’t just suggesting a new breakfast recipe he was stating that generations of traditional practice were wrong. And these were fighting words. canada goose uk outlet

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Canada Goose Parka In the ensuing debate, many were on the side of European scientific progress. Others affirmed the thousands of years of porridge making tradition, and said Asbjrnsen’s entire book was an insult to the people of Norway. Canada Goose Parka

The most vocal of these voices was Eilert Sundt, a theologist and sociologist who founded the sociological journal Folkevennen. In a series of articles, Sundt argued that the problem wasn’t just canada goose outlet belgium Asbjrnsen’s science it was his entire approach of «porridge splaining,» instead of trusting the knowledge of women.

Riddervold and Ropeid say that canada goose coats uk Asbjrnsen ultimately had a canada goose outlet new york city significant impact on changes in the Norwegian diet both positive (an increase in vegetables and fruits, and fresh meat and fish), as well as negative (an overly enthusiastic embrace of coffee, sugar, syrup and refined flour).

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Canada Goose Coats On Sale Luckily, porridge itself survived the controversy. In fact, according to modern Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad, «Porridge is having a revival actually, with inspirational cookbooks, porridge bars and a willingness to innovate. And this leads to a deeper appreciation of some of the traditional recipes as well.» Canada Goose Coats On Sale

And as for the traditional recipes themselves?

canada goose clearance sale According to current scientists, despite Asbjrnsen’s «scientific» arguments, the traditional practice of stirring in flour yielded a perfectly healthy porridge. Dietitian nutritionist Amy Myrdal Miller says that there are numerous variables heat of the porridge, hydration ratios, grind size of the grain, etc. but essentially, traditional home cooks were making a fully digestible product. «Hydrating the starch with hot water is essentially cooking the flour,» Myrdal Miller canada goose outlet explains. canada goose clearance sale

And Stephen Scott Jones, director of Washington canada goose outlet winnipeg address State University ‘s Bread Lab, notes that not only would the stirred in flour have been digestible it may also have been necessary. Especially if porridge was made from cracked grains of questionable quality. Which, if you’re going back hundreds of years, was likely a safe canada goose outlet florida bet.

canada goose store «If the grains had been sprouted in the field [indicating a bad harvest year or years], the starches would have been converted to sugars prior to making the porridge canada goose shop uk and would never thicken,» Jones explains. canada goose store

Canada Goose Outlet He says the same goes for if the worst of grain was used, or if it was just a bad harvest year both of which could also yield grain with a poor starch to protein and chaff ratio, which wouldn’t thicken in the pot. But, Jones says, you could solve this problem of watery porridge by stirring in a last minute handful of flour as Norwegians had been doing for centuries Canada Goose Outlet.

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