Norway’s national dish to change

Fårikål will soon be getting a rest, as Norwegians vote on a new dish to replace it

Photo: Whitney Love Kjøttkaker, Norway’s answer to the Swedish meatball.

Photo: Whitney Love
Kjøttkaker, Norway’s answer to the Swedish meatball.

Whitney Love
Stavanger, Norway

In celebration of the bicentenary of the signing of the Norwegian constitution, Food and Agriculture Minister Sylvi Listhaug wants Norwegians to think deeply about their national dish, fårikål, as well as their regional specialties. Listhaug launched a contest in January to find out what the Norwegian population considers to be its new national dish and find out which dish each region of Norway celebrates the most. Entries into the contest must be sourced from ingredients produced in Norway. Norwegians have been celebrating fårikål, a dish comprising boiled cabbage and lamb meat, as the Norwegian national dish since 1972.

Photos: Whitney Love Lapskaus, a meaty stew, usually with potatoes and carrots, has no set recipe but is popular throughout Norway.

Photos: Whitney Love
Lapskaus, a meaty stew, usually with potatoes and carrots, has no set recipe but is popular throughout Norway.

The contest, which has its own Facebook page called Norges nasjonalrett 2014, started no less than a fire storm, with some asking for Listhaug’s resignation instead of updating their beloved national dish. While the controversy has died down since the contest was first announced, some have started to wonder if the new national dish will also reflect the more recent immigrant groups in Norway. According to the contest rules, although more international submissions would be allowed, they would be disqualified as ingredients in the dish must come from Norway. So far, dishes like Norwegian meatballs in brown sauce, lapskaus, fiskeboller in white sauce, and poached salmon among others have been gaining ground as the new national dish in Norway.

Whitney Love is a cookbook author and blogger. She hails from Tucson, Arizona and is currently living in Stavanger, Norway. She runs the English language blog Thanks For The Food where she documents her love affair with Norway through the lens of traditional and modern Norwegian gastronomy. Find her online at thanksforthefood.com.

This article originally appeared in the May 23, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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