Thursday, 15 April 2021


I grew up without a toaster. In Scotland in the 70s, you just used the grill in your cooker. Often this was at eye-level so why would you ever want a toaster? Of course, I secretly wanted a toaster because I thought they were ever so classy and exciting! But then someone invented extractor fans and the grills moved into the oven. After a few years of backache, most people gave in and bought a toaster, and it turned out they weren't half as exciting as I'd imagined. We still used the grill for toasted cheese or toasting a baguette, but the toaster became the norm for toasting bread.

When we moved to Denmark, we brought our Scottish toaster, but Thomas complained time and again that he missed having a toaster - something he'd never mentioned in 15 years together. I didn't get what the issue was till he finally bought what he, as a Dane, considers to be a real toaster! It is this weird two-bar heater thing that operates basically as an upside-down grill and that Danes use to toast their morning rolls. Now we have one, he uses it all the time, and I guess it is slowly becoming a kind of toaster in my head too. Who knew?


Friday, 9 April 2021


Now here's a weird one... When you are brought up in Scotland, you are taught nothing about Greenland. You know it's a snowy place with the odd igloo, and possibly some seals, full stop. You have no idea what goes on there and you have almost certainly never met a Greelander or even someone who has been there. My old office mate, a keen climber and mountaineer, once went on a hiking tour of eastern Greenland. She came back with some of the most spectacular photos I have ever seen in my life, so I really felt I knew much more about it than your average middle-aged Scottish woman!

Greenland is currently an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, so here the topic of Greenland crops up all the time. For example, if you go on the local job page here, there are currently no fewer than 135 jobs on offer in Greenland! And the last week's evening news has been dominated by the general election and shift in power there, bet you didn't know about that!

You also meet a number of Greenlanders in your travels here. My new dentist is from Greenland - a lovely woman, married to an Irishman from Cork who runs the local Irish pub! Léon has Greenlandic classmates and a couple of years ago when we were looking to buy a house, we viewed at least one where the decor was entirely Greenlandic and all the photos dotted around the house included people in reindeer skins against snowy backdrops. It's quite fascinating!

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Liquorice revisited

After my experience with the ice lollies, I started to look out for liquorice. It is everywhere! Whereas in a UK shop maybe 3-5% of confectionery may be liquorice flavoured, here it is often more than 50% and sometimes as high as 75%. As a liquorice loather, I often wonder why they need so many types? Surely one sweet, one salty should cover all bases? These same supermarkets only stock one type of fresh chilli, when I want a choice of ten, but they have space for 47 different sweets that are all the same in my book! Supermarkets all stock tubs of liquorice ice cream, though you might struggle to find something like raspberry ripple or peach melba! And Haribo has a whole liquorice range! Who knew?! Small children are given liquorice from birth just so that they get used to that flavour from early on. Danes actively seem to try building up a liquorice tolerance in their kids in much the same way as I did with my kids with scotch bonnets! Just last week, my 7 year old (Danish) niece was munching on liquorice sweets and looked aghast when both my Danish daughters refused one. She had clearly never met a child who didn't like liquorice before, let alone two!

But the most spectacular encounter I have had so far was on a trip at the end of 2019 to the wonderful restaurant Fiskehuset in Bogense. My mother was visiting and we went for a fish buffet. Never in my life had I tasted such wonderful lobster soup and I was happily tasting my way through the fishy delicacies, when I noticed the next table were slightly further on in their meal. The kids were ordering some ice creams but the dad opted for a cheeseboard. I looked on in interest, given that cheese is probably my favourite thing in the whole world to eat... They brought out delicious-looking rustic crackers and a large selection of hard and soft cheeses, some blue, some creamy coloured. Suddenly in the centre of the board I noticed a jet black lump, cheddary in consistency but with a dark, matt sheen. As my brain questioned what it could possibly be, I heard the man's wife exclaim in glee - Oh look darling, they've got that yummy liquorice cheese, you love! Liquorice cheese? LIQUORICE CHEESE??? Seriously? What is wrong with these people?! 

If I had been less in shock, I would have wandered over and asked to photograph it, but that'll need to wait till Covid is over with, I guess.

And just to prove they do make the stuff, though this isn't the same colour as the one I saw, here's a picture!

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Easter eggs

In Scotland, when I was a child there were very few supermarkets and the ones we did have were small, Aldi-sized. You could buy mainly white eggs and on a really exotic day brown were also available.

Over the years that changed. Supermarkets mushroomed to the size of Silverburn Tesco (the Danish equivalent is probably Bilka Odense). Strangely though, the egg selection shrank till all you could get from battery, to barn, to free range were brown eggs. Occasionally Newton Mearns Waitrose had some pale duck-egg blue coloured ones if you had recently won the lotto, but otherwise all eggs were brown. 

This made no difference all year round, except at Easter. If you want to colour brown eggs, you end up with shitty-coloured Easter eggs. For about five years we got round this by buying white eggs in our local Polish corner shop but that solution left with its owners when Brexit forced it into liquidation and its lovely staff onto the first plane home.

In Denmark, however, we have no such problem. Here all standard supermarket eggs are white and if we were to need a brown one for anything, our neighbour's brood often leave us little brown ones around the garden!😁

Weird Danish traditions

What are you doing for your copper anniversary, we were asked recently. This struck me as an odd question. Firstly we were married in Februa...