Not everyone’s idea of fun activities but something I prefer to waltzing around museums looking at art. I’d rather go grocery shopping than visit, say, the Munch Museum. Oh sure art is dandy but getting out there with the natives and then fetching, and making, your victuals is, to me, more compelling than looking at some guy screaming in a painting, I’ll buy I calendar if I need to see that. Besides, I like to grocery shop and I love to cook. You can tell a lot about people by how they shop and what they shop for. For instance, in Norway they have the mayonnaise in the dairy cooler, some eggs are refrigerated but others are not (they are not in France) and there’s not much in the cracker department, mostly thick, dark, deeply-crisp, seeded things with names like Sløtso. As far as the meaning of all these weirdnesses goes, I haven’t a clue but I’m guessing that Munch’s iconic painting of The Scream had something to do someone trying to locate mayonnaise in the condiment aisle or finding anything like a Triscuit.
Family was coming in for our not-wedding and I made dinner, the shopping was just the beginning of the fun. Cooking without my familiar accoutrements is like camping. It’s not that the Royal Indian Mounted Food Control is without a broad selection of kitchen equipment (see below for an abbreviated glimpse of the available cookware). It’s that the equipment is unfamiliar and locating things like baking soda (which is called bakepulver in Norwegian and it is an unfamiliar container, and, yes, one might jump to the conclusion that it’s baking soda but it may just as well be fish paste for all one knows of this odd language and these odd, largely fish-eating people) or flour (The Royal Mounted Indian Food Control Police has many containers of various flour colored powders) is a challenge among many others. And so making a meal becomes an adventure and one I like having in a foreign land.
Dinner was pot roast, a concept I had a hard time explaining to the butcher, but we got through it and when he saw me the next day he smiled and proudly said “pot roast!” Dinner was served, along with a great deal of vodka, red and white wine, and aquavit (a rye bread or possibly cracker flavored liquor).
I did make it to the National Museum, FYI, The Scream is housed there not in the Munch Museum after all. Ida made us proud by insisting on posing next to it, something I imagine has never been done before.