All shook up: an American drink in Norway

Vanse celebrates American nostalgia with a milkshake contest judged by Andreas Viestad

Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons A soda jerk flips ice cream into malted milk shakes in Corpus Christi, Texas, in Feb. 1939. These shops were once everywhere and embody the particular brand of Americana celebrated at Vanse’s annual American Festival.

Photo: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
A soda jerk flips ice cream into malted milk shakes in Corpus Christi, Texas, in Feb. 1939. These shops were once everywhere and embody the particular brand of Americana celebrated at Vanse’s annual American Festival.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

There was a time when you could not walk down a block in New York without hitting a soda fountain. Ice cream parlors proliferated, as well as counters at Woolworth’s and candy stores (remember Doc’s in West Side Story?). At one time you could only get coke served from one of these silver servers.

These places featured the infamous egg cream (indigenous to New York City), ice cream sundaes, sodas, banana splits, and of course the refreshing milkshake. So I was delighted to see that there was to be a milkshake contest on June 25, 2016, at the American Festival in Vanse. This festival revels in the American nostalgia fondly remembered and celebrated in this area of Norway, known as Lista. In fact, the contest was held on Vanse’s Brooklyn Square.

Four contestants competed, waiting in anticipation for the well-known Norwegian chef Andreas Viestad, who hosts the “New Scandinavian Cooking” on public television in the U.S., to make his decision. The entries included strawberry, pistachio, and chocolate—so thick you had to eat it with a spoon. A local, Magnus Staalesen, told me that the latter received an extra point for that texture.

According to Viestad, the food contest at the American Festival “is great fun. We do it every year. [And he participates every year, if he is around.] The community comes out. There are some wild and crazy ideas. Cooking is a great way to experience culture—a meeting of Norway and America.”

The winner this year was Nina Eitland for her entry “All Shook Up,” an homage to Elvis. It contained bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate. The prize was worth about $600 to be used in the States.

I asked the star gourmand why he chose Nina’s entry: “She has participated several times. She’s been thinking conceptually for a long time. It is very Americana, embracing emblems of America.”

Which after all is what this festival is all about.

This article originally appeared in the July 1, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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