definitely a big part of every culture. The authentic foods you can find in
different countries usually reflect the habits and lifestyle of that particular
culture. I’d like to devote this week’s blog to Danish food. Danish cuisine is
not as exotic and different as various kinds of Asian and Middle Eastern foods
that I have had before. What people regularly eat here is not very special at
first sight. However, there are many typical Danish dishes that I have
discovered to be quite specific to this country.
First of all, one of my first pleasant surprises here was that the food served in the
University cafeterias is a lot better than what we have back at home. In place
of the pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers that we get in the US, there is a variety
of more healthy, well prepared food. It is possible to have a very good, tasty
meal even just at the University campus, which reflects the fact that the Danes
take their food seriously.
This relates to something else I noticed about Danes in relation to food. I rarely
see anybody in the kitchen eating pasta for dinner every single day. It seems
that all the Danish students are very comfortable with cooking large, elaborate
dishes. Some people go as far as making their own bread to go with their meals.
So, there is always a wonderful aroma of really good food in the kitchen at
As I said, what fish, rice, vegetables - just like anywhere else in Europe. There are, however,
smaller things that are Danish specialty. For example, the grocery stores
always have a wide selection of marinated herring
(marineret sild). Most people
have never heard of this dish, and then only reason I know about it is because
there is a similar dish in Russia. Herring is a type of fish. Here, in Denmark,
it is sold in jars, marinated in different kinds of sauces like curry or
pickled beet. It is eaten cold and goes well with Danish dark rye bread (rugbrød).
The dark, dense
bread is also something that is specific toDenmark. There are many varieties
of this bread. I happen to really like it, and so I have never bought white
bread here because the dark one is a lot cheaper and tastier, in my opinion. This
sandwich. Though it is a sandwich, it is eaten with a fork and knife, and is
often served hot. Basically, it is Danish bread with a wide variety of
toppings. The toppings can include herring, cheese, meat, vegetables, salads,
and pretty much anything else you can wish for.
topping is something called leverpostej. It is spreadable liver paste. It can
be eaten hot or cold, and it often served topped with mushrooms and bacon. Although
this might sound disgusting to some of you, I think it is actually pretty good.
dishes, but I know many
international students who would disagree with me. I guess it’s just a matter
of taste. Many of the foods here are similar to Russian food. So, it might just
be that I acquired the taste for them when I was growing up in Russia.
I am sure there
are many other types of salads, and other dishes that are also very Danish. However,
I have not had that much experience with this type Danish food here. These
typical dishes are mostly eaten on special occasions and holidays. For example,
during the Christmas season (now) the Danes like to hold many “Christmas
lunches” – where they prepare and enjoy these typical dishes. I will participate
in one of these lunches tomorrow along with my hallmates. I am actually signed up to prepare some sort
of Danish sweet potatoes, although I have no idea what I am supposed to do. So,
I am looking forward to learning more about cooking from the Danish students in
Starting college can be a big transition. You’re moving to a new place, starting a new school and classes, and faced with making new friends in an unfamiliar environment. And, of course, there’s that whole “becoming an adult” thing. But, you’re also leaving a lot behind. Every new beginning means that an old chapter must come to an end. Leaving behind our friends at home may seem difficult, especially if they’re going to be a long distance away from you during the school year. Something I made sure to do was to spend a lot of time with them during the summer after high school. Of course, going to college doesn’t mean you’ll never see your friends again, or that you will no longer be friends with them. Good friendships will last if you put effort into them. It may seem hard initially. Coming into Caltech, it’s a sharp adjustment and many are caught up in the excitement of Orientation, Rotation, and starting classes. It may be hard to remember to check your phone frequently and to make time for phone calls and such. Rest assured that if you have other friends going to college, they’re probably going to go through similar things you will. In this transition period, it can feel like you’re going to immediately lose touch with people that mean a lot to you.
Let’s face it: the US loves being just a little different from everyone else. The obvious example? Units of measurement. As an international student from Canada, even I have no clue what’s going on half the time when my friends talk to me and use these weird nonsensical units. And I’ve literally lived on the border between Canada and the States for all my life. After a year here, I’ve finally got a sense of how the two systems of measurement compare and how you can more easily get your bearings with these weird units.
After a year spent in “soft-lockdown” at home in Atlanta, and as Caltech students prepared to finally return to campus, I was aboard an eight hour flight towards Edinburgh, Scotland. Since my junior year plans were interrupted by the virus who shall not be named, I’m spending my first term of senior year studying abroad through the Caltech - Edinburgh University International Exchange program. I’ve only been here just over a week yet have been exposed to so many new people, perspectives, foods, and classes.
When the announcement was first made that fall term was going to be online, I started talking to friends and looking for places to live. We were debating locations around the country: California, Florida, New York, etc.. there were plenty of options. Then it suddenly hit me, what is stopping us from going to Hawaii, covid numbers were better and a two week quarentine would ensure that numbers stayed down… I proposed this to my friend and we agreed it would be an amazing experience, but we didn’t want to get out hopes up. A month or so later we still haven’t decided where to live, Hawaii seemed too far and too difficult to plan. But we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads. We spent some time looking into plane tickets, places to stay, etc… and it actually didn’t seem so impossible after all. A couple weeks later and we were arriving here on the big island!