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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Traveling – Hellerup, Denmark

In 1996 while we were on our nine-week grand tour of Europe, we made a side trip from Copenhagen to the town of Skovshoved Denmark to look up where some of our family ancestors originated.  We had to train to the town of Hellerup and then we walked to Skovshoved and back.

Before we returned to Copenhagen, we decided to have some lunch in Hellerup, and we saw a small café with outdoor seating with quite a few people eating there, so we decided to eat at that establishment.  We were seating at some nice seats on the terrace and then we had to have the waiter interpret the menu for us as it was all in Danish.

We skipped on the herring dishes; I chose smoked salmon with eggs, my wife a chicken salad and our son a hamburger.  When the food arrived, we were all very surprised.  The chicken salad was very small but fine to eat.  The hamburger was dark red inside, so we asked to have it cooked a little longer, but when it came back, the meat was still red inside.  We found out later, that in some places in Denmark, they add saltpeter to the meat so it will stay red.  No wonder they have a declining birthrate.

Having lived in the Northwest for all my life, and our family used to salmon fish it seems like every weekend, I have eaten my share of smoked salmon.  It is usually a thick fillet of meat that has been soaked in brine and then smoked for six to eight hours over a smoky fire.

My dish was smoked salmon with some scrambled eggs on top.  I asked the waiter why the salmon was raw, and I was told that it was cold smoked – that’s the way they smoke it.  Oh!  At least the hot eggs had cooked a portion of the salmon under were they sat, so some of the salmon had the texture that I expected.  I have eaten sushi before (I usually use it as bait to catch other fish) and I went ahead and ate the entire meal.  It wasn’t bad, but the uncooked texture of the salmon was a little unnerving.

I’m sure that the waiter was thought that we were silly Americans, and he could be correct.  There are a wide range of ways to prepare the same food depending on the country and region of the world, none of the ways are right or wrong, it's just what you're used to.  We look back on the experience and have a good laugh; it didn’t kill us and gives us a great story.  The picture pretty much tells it all.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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