Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shopping Carts

I know, it's a strange topic, however, it deserves to be mentioned.

A shopping cart is something you just never really study or think about - it just works, usually. Sure we've all had the cart with the bad wheel, or the string stuck in the wheel, but in general, you push, they go, you fill, you unload, you reload in bags, you unload again at the car, you return it to the proper place (maybe) and you're on your way. Never taking the time to stop and study the cart - or appreciate it's simplicity.

But then you arrive in a strange land, with strange shopping carts. You see, the first few times we went to the grocery store, I found the shopping carts impossible to control. They look the same, so what was it that was making these darn things so incredible difficult to manage? And why does every Dane pushing a shopping cart through the parking lot appear to be stuck in the middle of hurricane force winds? No one heads straight to their car with confidence. Everyone has an unseen force tilting the cart to a 35-40 degree angle from their legs, resulting in a throng of sideways leaning cart drivers attempting desperately not to clip the back end of every car they pass.

While it is quite windy in Denmark, the poor shopping cart driving ability of the danes cannot be blamed on wind alone. This was bothering me greatly. Until it hit me - American shopping carts have two wheels that swivel, and two that do not. For the life of me I cannot remember if it's the front wheels or the back wheels that do the driving, but I know that two of them point straight ahead at all times. A Danish shopping cart, on the other hand, has 4 swiveling wheels. What this means is that, in theory, you can spin yourself around and around in a very small turning radius. What it also means is that you can never point straight ahead - ever. The wheels take over, they posess the cart.. you try to move forward, but your cart is instead heading down the aisle beside you - perhaps it hears the chocolate calling from aisle 3.

In a country known world-wide for its functional design, I'm simply stumped as to why the Danes have not yet redesigned the shopping cart so that it can actually push forward in a straight line. But then again, if a Dane redesigned the shopping cart, it would then be made of wood and stainless steel, have a designer name on it, and be sold for more than the total value of the products one were to place within it. So I guess I have my answer.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving in Denmark

Thanksgiving is all American and attempting to recreate the festivities here in Denmark was quite a chore, but one that I'm quite pleased to have taken on.

I searched high and low for a turkey. This was not quite as easy as I had hoped. After finding that Bilka had chicken, duck, goose and assorted other birds, I felt sure there must be a turkey buried amongst the poultry somewhere. But, no.. I could have purchased turkey drumsticks (mysteriously sold in a package of 3... so I'm assuming there is now a one-legged turkey hopping around Denmark somewhere) and a turkey breast (minus the skin) and rebuilt the bird on my own, but that seemed a rather daunting task and it just wouldn't be the same. We asked the store clerks, but they advised us to call back and speak with Andre in the morning - something we, of course, forgot to do.

Ole stopped at our local Super Brugsen and lo and behold, a french turkey! Oui, oui! Said turkey was purchased on Monday and left to thaw in the refrigerator until today. Yesterday I put together my official recipe plan and headed off to Kvickly in search of the needed ingredients. As it turns out, the only pumpkin sold in Denmark is in a jar, and it's pickled.. since I can't quite imagine what a pickled pumpkin pie might taste like, the pie was out.

Next stop, produce. Denmark is a potato country. They eat potatoes religiously with every meal. They sell multiple varieties of said potatoes so you would assume that somewhere in that veritable plethora of potatoes that one would find sweet potatoes. You would be wrong. They don't exist. Sweet potato pie is now off the list.

However, I did have a Eureka moment in produce. There, sitting quietly amongst the kiwis and oranges, lay a pile of bags of dear old Ocean Spray cranberries! The real thing, fresh from the US of A. Cranberry sauce can remain on the menu !!

Today I am proud to say that I made homemade mashed potatoes, homemade celery and onion stuffing, fresh cranberry relish, creamed spinach, turkey gravy and of course, the french turkey. Ole's parents joined us for their first ever Thanksgiving dinner and it was wonderful.

Who says the Danes can't celebrate Thanksgiving? And now, since I'm just as stuffed as a bird on Thanksgiving, it's time to say... bring on Christmas! (I think I'll start my shopping tomorrow - minus the black friday crowds!)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

One year in Denmark...

One year in Denmark and the world's your pastry
The stores close early but the bakeries rule
You'll find some chocolate and it's very tasty
A little sweet, a little bit of drool
I can feel the weight gain and I think it's cruel

One year in Denmark makes a woman joyful
The folks are happy but the dansk is hard
One year in Denmark with the language module
Can't be too careful with your d's and r's
I just hope my engelsk doesn't get too scarred
Blog Widget by LinkWithin