Back in Copenhagen

I’m back in Copenhagen, for a little while anyway, and I’m feeling just a smidgen of post-vacation letdown. There was a good feeling of camaraderie on that little oceanographic research island.

Towards the later part of the week, Christian the Ph.D. student would repeatedly remind me that “we have rules here in Denmark!”. Mostly he was referring to my choice of socks, but when it was lunch time he was usually talking about my methods of sandwich-making. You see, a great staple of Danish food is the smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich on buttered dark rye, and there are shops and cafeteria lines filled with nothing but a seemingly endless variety of them. It only seems endless, though – there are apparently a number of rules that I never guessed at before I built a week’s worth of smørrebrød under the careful eye of a group of climatologists. You don’t mix your meats. Pickled fish hogs most of the available taste in a sandwich, and should not be accompanied by very many things at all (exactly which things can be safely put with fish I’m still hazy about). Remoulade (a yellow relish) goes only on fish and french fries; you should not pair it with cheese or eggs. And so on and so forth. This contradicts everything I’ve been taught about what a sandwich should be (pile on everything in the fridge that’s not mouldy!) but it’s also completely fascinating.

Another food-related observation that fell out of this week’s trip: everything you eat can be put on a continuum from fish to brownies. Chicken, for example, is much more like a fish than a brownie. Most fruits are closer to brownies than fish, except for lychee, which is a bit fishy. Mushrooms, as a group, span the middle, and one must carefully balance the mushroom’s earthy brown flavors against its stringy texture to see where it fits. With a little bit of stubbornness, this theory can explain everything, but I’m not quite sure how to transform it into a successful fad diet. Any ideas?

Oh, and in my access logs today I saw a Lloydie. Hello, Lloydie! Won’t you please identify yourself? It might make things more fun.

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