The Man who couldn’t read (pumpkin not-cake)

It’s not exactly pumpkin season so maybe you can’t find pumpkin puree. Or maybe you’re like me and live in a country where you can’t buy it so you make your own and freeze it. Maybe I’m the only one who found a random kilo of pumpkin puree to use during a COVID-lockdown-freezer-cleaning-binge, but in these chaotic times of kitchen creativity, I wanted to share this little story:

My boyfriend cannot read.

Admittedly, he knows what the newspapers say, he does peruse his textbooks, and he understands signs as well as can be expected. But when it really counts — like when buying the

(Kidding – love you very much)

Anyway… due to a random coincidence that has nothing with the aforementioned anything to do, I have — on two separate occasions become the happy owner of unexpected whole-wheat flour after sending Aksel out to buy groceries. Now, I actually do use wholewheat in my baking, I think a little bit gives good texture. I also think that too much can result in a cannon ball to the gut, but drastic times call for drastic measures, and I leave no flour behind.

So a healthier flour for a healthier cake. Maybe a bread? I had to explain to my distressed Danish boyfriend that I was not planning to make a bread with banana — or pumpkin, as the case may be– in it. I then also explained my theory that people call it “bread” so that they can eat cake in the morning without a guilty conscience. But, hey, bake it in a bread tin loaf pan, it’s a bread, right?

Anyway, armed with my whole wheat flour, pumpkin puree and my maple syrup (what else?) I set about to make the bread that wasn’t a bread by making a cake that wasn’t quite sweet enough to be a cake. Whatever it is, it tastes great toasted, buttered, accompanying your afternoon coffee. If you know what pålægchocolade is and have any of it, you could definitely use it here. Since we can’t all be that lucky you could also simply add chocolate chips to the batter.

Recipe

As I said when I sent this recipe to a friend, I adapted this from my mom’s old recipe for pumpkin muffins, so the measurements aren’t super-precise (not really sorry)!

Start by browning 120 g butter (half a cup plus a little bit) in a small saucepan so that it can cool down before you add it to the rest of the batter. You can skip this step, but it adds a nice depth of flavour. Honestly, I just wanted to experiment and feel fancy. I came very close to burning it.

Next move onto the dry ingredients and mix together in a large bowl

220 g AP flour (1 3/4 cup)
160 g whole wheat flour (1 1/4 cup)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon and mixed spices (cardamon, muskatnød, nutmeg — whatever you want)

In a separate medium bowl combine:

The not burned butter from before
175 ml maple syrup (about ~3/4 cup, I think)
4 eggs
500 ml pumpkin puree

Add wet into dry in batches. If you add it all at once like I did, you will hate yourself because it will clump together and you will probably end up over-working the batter. If you’re going to add chocolate chips do it at the same time that you incorporate the last batch of dry ingredients.

Finally, pour the batter into a tin that you definitely remembered to prepare and place it in an oven that you definitely remembered to preheat. Bake for 50-60 min at 180/350, or until a toothpick comes out clean and there are lovely cracks on top.


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The Danish Pastry (Hello)

So much of my kitchen and recipe knowledge comes from my mom. So many of the things I do in the kitchen I do simply because she does it like that too. She made fresh meals for her family of six every day and continues to make food for us long after we have all moved away from home. If it hadn’t been for her endlessly refilled freezer containers of chili and soup, I would have lived on cereal all through university. I know that one of the things she wondered about was how I was going to survive once we lived on different continents. Trust me, the thought occurred to me, too.

My mom makes from scratch look so easy and effortless, and if it weren’t for my parents’ efforts in the kitchen, my siblings and I would not have the appreciation for Danish food that we have — honestly, knowing how much of Danish culture is food — we probably wouldn’t have much of a connection to the country at all.

But while there was homemade rye-bread and picked herring; picked beets, cucumber salad, home-butchered pork of several varieties; and the best home-baked white bread, cookies, and cakes that anyone could ask for, even my mom had her limits. She would not make wienerbrød Danish pastry. The time investment was simply not one that she was willing to make. So we all had to suffer without the one thing Denmark is probably most known for while living in Canada, then beg the local bakeries to take our money as soon as we arrived back in Dk on holiday.

And while I do love those buttery bites, and have often ranted about the subpar nature of the “slop most Canadians call Danishes”, I agree with my mom. My time and money are better spent eating pastry than making it. I promise to only share the experiments that end well, but I cannot promise pastry.

The end and a start

After a long wait…2017 is over…. and I have blogged again. I’ve been having internet problems. Yeah, that’s it. Internet problems for the last several months…..

But, seriously.

I was going to post thing last week– in keeping with the year in review theme of the year’s outset– alas, computer problems.

In saying goodbye to 2017, I said goodbye to the very first place I called my home in Denmark and the place I met one of the most important people my Danish life brought me; I said good-bye to my student status and have gotten used to thes fact that #adulting is not just a hashtag. But with these finished chapters and the realisations they bring, I want to look back, not over the last year, but to almost four years ago, to the first four things I learned in my first four Danish weeks:

1. Packing one’s life into a suitcase is easy. How many pairs of socks is good for

forever, you think? How many pairs of underwear—assuming you change them

everyday and never forget? Don’t forget: the one in your hand luggage counts too.

It’s nice to be able to change if you get stuck somewhere overnight, mom said. It’s

nice to be able to change if you’re stuck somewhere. It’s nice if it’s only overnight.

It’s actually easy to pack it all away; boxes and bags hold memories that I decide

will not overwhelm me—they will not show their fangs, their toothy grins, their

green eyes, their tamely gained battle scars. But what to do with all the pieces that

shouldn’t get lost? In the clutter of my desk a favourite necklace sits in three

instead of one. It was a favourite but the last time I wore it was the night I met

him and the night I kissed him (I’m not exactly proud of that timeline) It was a

favourite and after tasting his taste of smoke and beer, and wiping the sleep and

dreamlessness away from my eyes it fell apart. Don’t worry about packing

toothpaste and floss, mom said, they have that over there. Are you sure? Have you

seen their teeth? It’s easy to smile at all the pieces of my life that clutter my desk

and fill spaces under my bed. I throw my mistake(s) into a box with books, old

perfume, and several locks and keys that do not fit together. Probable eternal loose

ends that are easy to push away because they have no place inside the military

precision that is my suitcase

 

2. The mosquitoes are assholes. Generally (see above for exception) the people are

not. A helping hand is at the ready for those who ask. Those who don’t suffer at

their own peril—which means that I am allowed to just be one of the many mice

furiously navigating the extremely bureaucratic maze. Sometimes a girl waiting for

a train is just waiting for a train. Speaking of trains, did you know that because I

have “reduced physical capabilities I get my transit for half price? Speaking of

half price: beer. Speaking of things that are delicious: strawberries that taste like

sunshine. Speaking of sunshine: there’s been a lot of it, which is weird. Speaking

of things that are weird: there are spiders and flies and wasps everywhere. My feet

are swollen from bites. The mosquitoes are assholes.

 

3. The best way to confuse a Danish person is to use a Canadian passport as

ID but speak Danish to the person receiving it. Yes, that is a maple leaf. Rødgrød

med fløde? Pretty tasty stuff. Commas go in front of hvad—I need to know, what

your name is. Hvor—and also, where you live. Hvornår—lastly, tell me, when you

came here. Hvordan—I just don’t understand, how you learned to speak so well.

Hvem—oh, thankyou. You want to now, who I am? As it turns out those marks are

optional, but, everybody, does, it. Grammatical peer pressure is alive and well. I

know, that you would like to know, who I am. How nice. If you figure it out by the

answers you jotted down on that piece of paper to be filed away under those 10

personal numbers I get to call all mine, let me know. It’s been a somewhat lengthy

process so some neat formula, x= would be nice.

 

 4. Turns out that utter freedom (within the bars of the dollar $ign) is kind of

terrifying. Now I can pretend that I’m ke$ha and brush my teeth with a bottle of

jack. In theory. but that might actually be really gross. So much is good in theory. I

am plan-less. Plain lost. A bird let out of a cage with its wings oddly clipped.

Quicksand comfort zone, but at least a hyena fighting for its life knows what its

role is. A prisoner knows just how straight and narrow to walk. A wild bird doesn’t

even know not to eat the rice that makes it explode. But at least no one said I had

to land unscathed. Some marks, bumps and bruises are badges. They tell stories

and mark roads. Take the one lined by delicate flowers so that you can surpass

them and take the hard steps. A hard landing just means that your bruises beg you

to tread lightly. Good thing I don’t really tread. I don’t really think, because then I

might wonder better or worse. Safe and sorry. It’s hard enough to move that it’s

impossible to stop but that’s only good. Don’t hold back from handshakes; make

sure you’re firm when you return them. Meet eyes when you clink glasses. Smile

when they smile back. Let those hands, eyes, smiles collect you when you start to

unravel. Don’t worry too much about loose ends and loosing all sense. You’ll pick

more up along the way. Not all necklaces need mending, because then they lose

their charm. Not all kisses lead to happy endings, because some have to be toads.

Not all locks have keys, because how dull would that actually be. But chasing stray

threads as long as you keep your head can lead you down the best of roads.

 

I know that in the almost four years that have passed since I wrote these words, I have grown much more than I thought I could. The times that have passed have been far from roses and sunshine, but the road has been a good one, despite the rough patches, and as we look down a fresh stretch into a shiny and new year, I hope the best for all of you, my friends.

Tales om

Jeg er en af de svage
De udsatte, de uheldige, uhelbredelige, ulykkelige
Mit triste, ynkelige, sølle liv
slipper jeg ikke levende fra
i modsætning til dig og dit
selvfølgelig

For jeg er den der tales om
Når du hæver din stemme og siger
på høfligste vis
til ham der står ved siden
af min siddende form
at hun skal…sikres som et barn…ikke hans kæreste
og hun skal…parkers som en bil…ikke et menneske

Og jeg lukker ned og lader det ske
for hvis det er mig der lukker munden op
så er det mig
der fornedrer hende, der ville bare
gøre det rigtige.

Så er det mig, der er bare
en anden spasser,
der laver trutmund
når jeg ikke får min vilje

Jeg skal jo ikke tro jeg er noget.
Slet ikke.
For du har jo glemt det allerede:
manden og den kørestol han stod ved siden af
Men du tog mine ord med to af dine

Jeg var en siddende form
lykkelige over blot at få love til at blive luftet
lykkelige over at I passer på mig
lykkelige over at leve mit
triste, ynkelige, sølle
i et samfund hvor I tager jer af mig
liv

dem der behandles handler ikke.
Dem, der sørges for, Vi
Skal bare være lykkelige over at
I
taler om os.

 

 

Starten

For almost two years I have been studying my masters of literature. That means that I am currently writing my thesis (read: procrastinating) but even though I have gotten to spend my day reading, I have missed writing and this is the first step to fixing that.

I have blogged before and I thank all the people  who have read those pages and especially to those who have remained loyal in spite of the times that I have lost hope and decided that I didn’t have anything to say anyway.

But the truth is, everyone has things to say — the challenge is making people listen. And it’s not because people don’t want to listen, but it’s impossible to hear everything, just ask your SO.

My cousin told me that I was probably the only person in Denmark who wore though a pair of shoes a week, and he’s probably right.

There was my angle.

I never wanted to be a blogger on wheels, mostly because I never thought of myself as being part of the “disability community”. I never wanted to shine a spotlight on my life, because I have always felt that that’s actually counter-intuitive to living a “normal” life. While I still believe that to be true, to an extent, I  have realized that flying completely under the radar, being swept along with the masses, is just not an option I have. So I might as well embrace the fact that people are almost always going to take a second look at me, and I don’t have control over that.

I also don’t have control over what people think when they see me holding a shopping bag in my mouth, climbing up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or falling because I hit a rouge cobblestone. I don’t actually know what people think, but I can see people writing a story about me with everything they see me do – or not do.

So instead of giving that power away, I’m going to take it back, and hopefully show that the ground my shoes have walked on, and been worn down by, isn’t so different from where you stand.