The Norwegian WWII Cranberry Traffic

Cranberries pickers

It has never been picked as much berries in Norway as during the German occupation during WWII. The cranberry traffic by trains, busses and lorries was legendary. It was strictly regulated by date and it resulted in regular migrations when the traffic took place. Inspectors, jokingly called “cranberry police” made sure that there were no false starts. And if you were caught red handed, your berries were ruthlessly confiscated and you were fined.

More cranberries pickers

This is not just a story of hard times, rationing and food shortages. It is also a story about Norwegians’ deep love for cranberry jam. Whatever they managed to get hold of for Christmas dinner during the war, they would at least see to it that there was cranberry jam on the table.

Cranberry trafficA lorry about to take off for the cranberry picking and as you
can see from the pictures it was mainly a man’s job.

It was just Cranberry that were submitted to date regulation. you could pick  all other berries when it suited you. Cloudberries were obviously the very jewel in the crown. It could not be date regulated because it matured at different times. But picking unmatured cloudberries was totally forbidden then as now. Stories sirculated about people that allegedly went out on the cloudberry marshes with a scythe cutting down the cloudberry bushes and cleaning them for unmatured cloudberries. It did hardly ever happen, but such stories were still told with horror and disgust.

All cloudberry pickers, then as now, amateurs as professionals pickers, know that there is no point in picking unmatured berries all you are left with are useless hard seeds.

 

Cloudberry pickersProfessional cloudberry pickers

Just as surely as autumn came, came stories about bears having been seen on the cloudberry marshes. As a rule, these storries were a pack of lies and merely intended to intimidate people from embarking on the marshes to pick cloudberries. Such fantasy animals was usually called “Cloudberry Bear”.

The History of Fast Food

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The concept of ready-cooked food for sale is closely connected with urban development. In Ancient Rome, cities had street stands – a large counter with a receptacle in the middle from which food or drink would have been served. It was during post-WWII American economic boom that Americans began to spend more and buy more as the economy boomed and a culture of consumerism bloomed.

As a result of this new desire to have it all, coupled with the strides made by women while the men were away, both members of the household began to work outside the home. Eating out, which had previously been considered a luxury, became a common occurrence, and then a necessity. Workers, and working families, needed quick service and inexpensive food for both lunch and dinner.

This need is what drove the phenomenal success of the early fast food giants, which catered to the family on the go (Franklin A. Jacobs). Fast food became an easy option for a busy family, as is the case for many families today.

Pre-modern Europe

fastfood_02_thumb[2]In the cities of Roman antiquity, much of the urban population living in insulae, multi-story apartment blocks, depended on food vendors for much of their meals. In the mornings, bread soaked in wine was eaten as a quick snack and cooked vegetables and stews later in popina, a simple type of eating establishment.

fastfood_03_thumb[2]In the Middle Ages, large towns and major urban areas such as London and Paris supported numerous vendors that sold dishes such as pies, pasties, flans, waffles, wafers, pancakes and cooked meats. As in Roman cities during antiquity, many of these establishments catered to those who did not have means to cook their own food, particularly single households. Unlike richer town dwellers, many often could not afford housing with kitchen facilities and thus relied on fast food. Travellers, as well, such as pilgrims en route to a holy site, were among the customers.

United Kingdom

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In areas with access to coastal or tidal waters, ‘fast food’ frequently included local shellfish or seafood, such as oysters or, as in London, eels. Often this seafood was cooked directly on the quay or close by. The development of trawler fishing in the mid-nineteenth century led fastfood_06_thumb[2]to the development of a British favourite, fish and chips, and the first shop in 1860. A blue plaque at Oldham’s Tommyfield Market marks the origin of the fish and chip shop and fast food industries in Britain.

British fast food had considerable regional variation. Sometimes the regionality of a dish became part of the culture of its respective area, such as the Cornish pasty and deep-fried Mars bar.

The content of fast food pies has varied, with poultry (such as chickens) or wildfowl commonly being used. Since the Second World War, turkey has been used more frequently in fast food.

The UK has adopted fast food from other cultures as well, such as pizza, kebab, and curry. More recently, healthier alternatives to conventional fast food have also emerged.

United States

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As automobiles became popular and more affordable following World War I, drive-in restaurants were introduced. The American company White Castle, founded by Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, is generally credited with opening the second fast food outlet and first hamburger chain, selling hamburgers for five cents each. Walter Anderson had built the first White Castle restaurant in Wichita in 1916, introducing the limited menu, high-volume, low-cost, high-speed hamburger restaurant.

Among its innovations, the company allowed customers to see the food being prepared. White Castle was successful from its inception and spawned numerous competitors.

fastfood_09_thumb[2]Franchising was introduced in 1921 by A&W Root Beer, which franchised its distinctive syrup. Howard Johnson’s first franchised the restaurant concept in the mid-1930s, formally standardizing menus, signage and advertising.

Curb service was introduced in the late 1920s and was mobilized in the 1940s when carhops strapped on roller skates.

fastfood_10_thumb[2]The United States has the largest fast food industry in the world, and American fast food restaurants are located in over 100 countries. Approximately 4.7 million U.S. workers are employed in the areas of food preparation and food servicing, including fast food in the USA. Worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses have inspired many local government officials in the United States to propose to limit or regulate fast-food restaurants. Yet, US adults are unwilling to change their fast food consumption even in the face of rising costs and unemployment characterized by the great recession, suggesting an inelastic demand. However, some areas are more affected than others. In Los Angeles County, for example, about 45% of the restaurants in South Central Los Angeles are fast-food chains or restaurants with minimal seating. By comparison, only 16% of those on the Westside are such restaurants.

Text from Wikipedia

How To Make Perfect Tea Without Teabags

From an article in The Guardian

Why don’t more of us use loose-leaf tea when it makes a better cuppa and is better for the environment?

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Economist, environmental campaigner and wife-of-the-governor-of-the-Bank-of-England Diana Fox Carney has taken some stick for getting exercised over the environmental cost of teabags. It may sound trivial to some, but she makes a good point on the waste involved – we use about 55bn teabags in the UK each year – that’s about 370,000 tonnes of waste that mostly end up in landfill.

Even Unilever, maker of a little brand called PG Tips, deems sustainability an important enough issue to tackle, asking people whether they will compost or recycle used bags

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But the question should be, why do we need any kind of bag when loose leaves make better tea? In 1968, only 3% of households in Britain used teabags – a foreign, American invention that went against our love of leaves. Loose leaf tea, on the other hand, has been made for around 3,000 years, and just requires one brilliant bit of kit – a teapot.

I have never understood why so many of us think it’s a real hassle to make proper tea, but happily use a cafeterie for coffee. You get better flavour when you allow the leaves room to unfurl as they infuse. No chemicals, no waste and it’s really not complicated.

And the waste isn’t just limited to the bags. If you’re using good tea leaves, you’ll find they can be infused several times. Each time you brew the tea, different subtleties of the delicate flavours will be released. In China it is widely believed that the second or third brew of fine tea is the best.

The trick is not to leave the tea leaves to stew once they have been brewed to the desired strength. Straining the tea completely will prevent the leaves from becoming bitter and allow a second and third brew.

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Making a perfect cup of tea

Measure out a cup of water and a teaspoon of tea for each person, with one for the pot if you like it strong.

Pour the water from the freshly boiled kettle into the teacup first and then into the teapot – this way the proportions will be perfect – once the tea is brewed all the liquid is poured out so the leaves won’t stew and will be in perfect condition for a second or third infusion. It will also cool the water to the right temperature – for proper tea, an ideal temperature is around 85 C.

Remember, leaf teas need a little longer to infuse than teabags. Teabags give up their paltry flavour in an instant. A tealeaf has so much more to offer and takes its time.

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White and green teas don’t really work with milk but with black tea, anything goes. It’s entirely a matter of taste. The great thing about proper leaf tea is that it’s delicious on its own or with milk.

Milk in first or second? It’s up to you. I put it in second so I can tell how strong the tea will be by the colour. No doubt there will be some who disagree – do share your tea rituals.

Linie Aquavit

From an article on Saveur

177_linje aquavitLinie is the smoothest, richest aquavit we’ve ever sipped. Distilled from potatoes, with a robust caraway flavour, it’s aged, per Norwegian law, in oak. But the Oslo-based makers of Linie take it even farther—literally—by sending their casks off in the holds of ships, on a 19-week voyage that crosses the equator twice.

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Along the way, the spirit sloshes around with the movement of the waves, and the barrels—formerly used to store sherry—swell and contract in extremes of heat and humidity, imparting the character of the wood and polishing the flavour, so that the gold-hued liquor tastes rounder and nuttier. While many aquavits overwhelm in cocktails, Linie mixes beautifully, providing a layer of deep, warm, woodsy spice.

Linie Aquavit, $27.99 for a 750 ml bottle on DrinkUpNY

177_linje aquavit3Note to the picture: The illustration indicates that Norwegian serve Linie and other aquavit straight from the freezer but this is not so. Real aquavit lovers, like myself, always drink it at room temperature. Serving it freezing cold robs the liquor of most of its marvellous rich flavours.

And another thing, aquavit is a snaps/shot kind of liquor most often enjoyed with a beer chaser, it rarely used in cocktails by Norwegians  – Ted

Brewing The Perfect Cup

144_tea time

Image found on Pinterest

I know this is not a typical Christmas post, but I drink 5 – 6, sometimes even more large cups of tea a day and that doesn’t stop just because it is Christmas. I know there are specially Christmas spiced tea, but I stick to my pure black teas as always. A dash of Demerara, no milk and delicious fragrant black tea. Perfect for Christmas cookies or sweets – Ted