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Officer Norway’s Corner – Change of seasons brings memories

By SRO Kjell Michelsen

I love the arrival of more seasonal temperatures, albeit a few weeks late, but better late than never. Fall in Northern Norway during my childhood years was always special. I remember in early fall, which that far north usually arrives in mid to late August, the whole family would go up into the northern marshlands and pick Cloudberries that we would either make into jam or freeze to be used throughout the winter months for Sunday dessert mixed in with whipped cream.

Fall was also the hunting season for many. People would make up teams of around five people, be given a specific area to hunt in, and walk into the woods Moose hunting, usually accompanied by a Norwegian Elkhound, which also is the national dog breed of Norway.

I would join my Dad in the fall during the reindeer slaughter season, and we would drive up into the mountains and purchase reindeer meat directly from the Sami people, who are the native people of northern Scandinavia and western Russia. We would also buy pigs blood, and I remember my Mom would use it to make blood pancakes with pieces of raisins and pigs fat in them.

Touching on food, most days in a fishing village we had some form of seafood for dinner. One day we could have steamed cod, the next day, fried fish cakes or baked fish pudding. Needless to say, we had plenty of fresh seafood, and with fresh I mean right from the fishing boats and to the table.

Often when we had leftovers, one would mix fish, potatoes, and carrots and make it into a fish stew of sort. We usually had a dessert after dinner. Often we had a sweet macaroni soup, which was regular elbow macaroni cooked with milk and sugar. Saturdays was almost always a pancake or rice porridge day, and Sundays was always a meat day.

I remember I was in my early teens when I had my first banana and one Christmas my Dad brought home a coconut; I think most of the kids on our street showed up to have a taste of that. So far north, back then exotic fruits like that were hard to come by. Apples and oranges were usually what the stores had and around Christmas time we could get grapes and mandarins.

I guess some of you by now have started to see a pattern in my column. I figured that I could not just write about issues touching on school safety and the SADD club. It would rather quickly, I thought, be somewhat bland for many. So, alternating between my years in Norway, sharing a little of my upbringing and Norwegian culture and customs, is what I ended up doing.

Until next time, be safe, be warm and be happy.