At my home university, I study Economics and Computer Science, but here at DIS, I’m studying Nordic Culinary Culture for Session 2! I was worried initially about the course because it was out of my field of study, but the class has been truly phenomenal. I don’t regret being experimental when I chose my courses for the summer. Speaking with my classmates, they share a similar sentiment; many of them are also studying different subjects back home.
I learned about traditional Nordic cuisine, such as the history of smørrebrøds, rye bread, and fermentation, and New Nordic Cuisine, which is the modern revival of classical Nordic dishes. Unlike other sociology or anthropology courses, this class utilizes food to analyze broad cultural trends. For example, people used to eat six-seven meals per day due to the labor intensive nature of their work, but as society became more industrialized, we gradually shifted to a three meal structure. Although I’ve studied about industrialization before, I never focused on the related dietary patterns. I appreciate how the course teaches me new material but also re-contextualizes past knowledge.
To augment our lectures and readings, our class went to the Faroe Islands. For those of you who don’t know where that is (which is a rather common occurrence – in fact, only one other DIS student in my kollegium knew where it was), it is an archipelago of 18 islands, located in the Northern Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and the United Kingdom, and is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Faroe Islands is in the fore front of a culinary movement; its currently a mecca for gastro-tourists (i.e. “foodies”). Not only will I get to try some amazing cuisine, but I learned about the traditions of Faroese food. Due to the unpredictable weather on the islands, growing crops is very difficult so historically, people relied on farming fish and sheep, but they could only do this in the summer, thus the leftover was preserved, fermented, and dried for later consumption.
Other than trying fermented food for the first time, I also got to bond with my instructor and fellow classmates. On our first day, we all sat in a small cafe by the Faroese countryside, sharing a scrumptious carrot cake. It was refreshing to spend time with all of my peers outside of the classroom. I’m very excited to eat with the group at Koks, which is the Faroe Islands’ only Michelin star restaurant (it was recently awarded its second star this past May), and try the tasting menu. I also appreciate how approachable, yet professional the DIS staff on the trip are! Not only are they knowledgeable, but they’re willing to have fun with us.
My expectations for the course was exceeded in every regard so far. The material is engaging, and the Study Tour complements it perfectly. My peers and instructor are a blast to hang out with. And the class ties in current and global events. I simply can’t wait to see what the rest of Session 2 and my Study Tour holds.