Norwegian 101: Pumpkins (Gresskar)

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch Pumpkins on display in Norway, complete with instructions on how to perform the strange American ritual of jack-o’-lantern carving.

Photo: Heidi Håvan Grosch
Pumpkins on display in Norway, complete with instructions on how to perform the strange American ritual of jack-o’-lantern carving.

Heidi Håvan Grosch
Sparbu, Norway

I am not embarrassed (jeg er ikke flau over) to say that I love pumpkins (jeg er veldig glad i gresskar). I love the orange color (den oransje fargen) that mirrors (som speiler) that of fall leaves (høstblader). I like the versatility (allsidigheten) for baking, although carving pumpkins (å skjære gresskar) into Halloween jack-o’-lanterns is fun too (er også moro).

We were just on a choir trip (på kortur) to Bavaria (Bayern), and I was amazed (overrasket) to see piles of pumpkins (hauger av gresskar) of all shapes and sizes (i alle former og størrelser) piled up (stablet opp) next to major intersections at country roads. They were “self-pick,” so customers selected what they wanted (kunder valgte hva de ønsket) and put their money in a box (la pengene sine i en boks). I have tried to grow (prøvd å dyrke) orange pumpkins with little success (med liten suksess), and the two I had this year (i år) were the size of a baseball (på størrelse med en baseball). Word on the street (det sies) is that I need to bury the seeds (å begrave frøene) in manure (i gjødsel), so it is a good thing we live in farming country (på bondelandet). Next year (neste år) I can experiment (eksperimentere). Horse (hest)? Chicken (kylling)? Pig (gris)? Cow (ku)? Alpaca (alpakka)? Analyzing (å analysere) which manure is most effective (mest effektive) for growing pumpkins is not the kind of research (er ikke den type forskning) I anticipated (jeg forventet) when I became an academic, but the lure of pumpkin pie eggs me on.

Halloween is a recent immigrant (en fersk innvandrer) to Norway, and as it gains in popularity (som det vinner i popularitet), the availability (tilgjengeligheten) of pumpkins in mid-October grows. This year, my mother and I made an excursion (en ekskursjon) out to Frosta, the farm belt of Trøndelag, as it lies close to (ligger nær) a fjord and has its own microclimate (mikroklima). Viken Midtre ( has become my new nirvana, my place of October happiness (oktoberlykke). As we approached the barn (låven), we saw crates and crates (kasse etter kasse) of pumpkins, more orange goodness than I had every seen in one place (som aldri hadde sett på ett og samme sted); the fact that it was in NORWAY made it even more magical (mer magisk) for me. I loaded up (lastet opp) my car, literally, strapping in the two largest pumpkins designated for family carving.

A week later (en uke senere), a group of teachers participating in a continuing education course (videreutdanning) in English at Nord University where I work came to our farm for a gathering (en samling). Most of them (de fleste av dem) had never carved pumpkins before (hadde aldri skåret gresskar før), so it was a bit like kids in a candy shop (barn i en godtebutikk). I was amazed (jeg ble overrasket) at how creative (over hvor kreative) they were, many opting for designs found in pictures on Facebook (i bilder på Facebook) instead of (i stedet for) the traditional two eyes (to øyne), a nose (en nese), and a mouth (en munn). I had also made pumpkin pie for them, also a first for many (første gang for mange).

I think the pumpkin craze (gresskarmani) in Norway for Halloween is here to stay (er kommet for å bli). In the last year or two even the grocery stores (matbutikker), the primary seller of this orange vegetable (grønnsak), has gotten on board. Most (de fleste) have sample carved pumpkins, and some even a sample of roasted pumpkin seeds. One grocery store even had a step-by-step (steg-for-steg) “how to” list for carving.

So I hold out hope (jeg holder ut håpet) that pumpkins in greater variety and for a longer period of time (en lengre periode) will be available. Meanwhile (i mellomtiden), I will continue to stock up mid October.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 18, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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