Last Legs Carrot and Beet Soup

My carrots are on their last legs. I purchased them on sale, reduced in price, destined for the bin.

My beets are alive and doing fine. They probably didn’t know that they soon would be joined together with my last leg carrots!

Beet and carrot soup is on the menu for today. My co-workers will have guessed it before I say anything. “Beets on the menu today?” My reddish hands have given it away, although they won’t have guessed the last leg carrots, being very quiet in their downfall.

An hour before work and the soup is simmering on the induction stove top. Soup is the ultimate meal. Easy to make, tasty and economical, warming body and soul.

My daughter won’t eat carrots without a crunch in them, or bananas with spots for that matter. I know that both of them still have their merits, being able to be used in cooking until the last gasps of life are silenced.

Don’t grieve my carrots, as they have attained a higher level of consciousness.

Soup is such a noble endeavor!

 

Advertisements

Swimming in the intoxicating lake, Akvavit

Here’s a trip for the person who likes to combine swimming with mountain fun.

The high Mountain Lake, Akvavit, is a gem of a lake located in the jeweled crown of the Northern Alps. You’ll want to take your swimsuit along on this one, but be prepared for an intoxicating experience.

Akvavit, is an old name, older than the hills. Some sources say that it is derived from the root, “akward viktor” which is a rather clumsy, thick-headed bird found only along the shores of this lake. Others would say that it comes from the ancient Danish number system, with “Ak” meaning 37 and “vavit” meaning ½. No one knows what 37½ means today, but that’s for the historians to fight about, and not us.

The trail to this lake starts on the Western side of the Northern Portion of the Eastern Axis of the Range. Many people find this description confusing and have taken to dropping bread crumbs along the highway, in order to find their way home again.

I would suggest that you start in Aalborg, a quaint city of some 125000 residents, who have gazed upon the Danish Alps in awe, and have worshiped them as their gods. This would explain in part why they have erected statues of Thor, Loke and Odin who are said to protect the city from fire, brimstone and falling space stations. The highway, well marked at the start with these finely honed statues, in pure aluminum, becomes narrower as it climbs up the steep mountain road. Expect to return by the same route, as cross-country roads are hazardous at best, unless of course you possess a Jutland Jeep, which can traverse any and all roads found in the Danish Alps!

The trail begins in a well developed forest of Danish Spruce Trees finely spaced in equal rows, as if they were planted that way. This is where Mother Nature really shows her stuff. As you thread your way through the dense forest, try to think about how the early settlers found this area. Their visions of sand-buried churches and sweeping sand dunes have made their way into the lore of the Country. What an imagination they must have had, while praying to their myriad of Gods, the most famous being: Luthero, Paveo and  Jehoveo.

At the fork in the trail you must follow the signs that point to Lake Akvavit, and not Lake Aknavit. It might seem confusing, and added to that, some pranksters have been known to change the letters to resemble each other, which doesn’t make things easier to understand. The best way to choose the best direction lies in your knowledge of reading the moss on the trees. If the moss is lime green, with frilly edges, usually found on the Northwestern side of the local Spruces, then that is the wrong trail to take. If, on the other hand, you choose the brownish, rather smelly moss, resembling last week’s dinner, which you forgot to throw away, then that is the trail to take.

The trail begins to wind down towards the lake, passing numerous campsites with charred fire rings. Camping used to be permitted here until the local population waving pitchforks, shovels and holding fiery torches, demanded that the monstrous motor homes, and electrically charged campers be run out of town, or out of the forest, as it were. It might take some time before it is returned to its pristine state, but be assured, it will happen as sure as there will come German tourists to Denmark in the Summertime!

Finally arriving at the lake, you’ll see why the trip was worth the trouble. Herblike bushes dot the shoreline, sending scents of Danish Girls in the Summertime, of Golden Blue Flag Beaches and clear, cold Snaps served on the veranda. I can tell you, that my first meeting with this lake was an unforgettable one. Well, it was almost unforgettable, as I found myself drinking the lake water more, than I was swimming in it. Intoxicating, Mind-boggling, Hangover city are some of the colorful terms used to describe the feelings that this lake have produced. I found myself singing a silly song, and dreaming about a girl I used to know, before I fell asleep on the sandy shore, with pleasant dreams on the wait.

A word to the wise. I should warn you to take a designated driver with you on this trip as the intoxicating effects of this lake are hazardous at best, when you need to drive back once again. Many a hapless driver has fallen victim to the lake’s intoxicating, almost alcohol-like effect on the central nervous system and might just end up sleeping off its effects in one of Aalborg’s many fine detention centers.

Take someone with you who means the world, and you might just find yourself falling in love again.

Next Blog on the Danish Alps – Traversing the Glaciers, of the North Col.

I knew it, 3-bean chili reception at work.

When I announced that I had 3-bean chili with me today, my colleague at work asked, “BEANS! How am I going to deal with that today?

Beans are so misunderstood. I grew up in Southern California, home of Mexican Food which by the way does contain beans! We were always eating beans of some sort. My Father liked his Chili con carne (there was no such thing as Vegans back then in the 60s), while my Mother frequently used String Beans (called Haricort Vert in Denmark).

I admit, it was later on in time that I began to make my own 3-bean chili. I’ve also made my own fresh-cut salsa, which can be just a spicy, or spicier!

I almost feel that I need to hang some sort of sign on my back, when in the possession of beans. Something like, “Beans on my lunch menu today”, on the front side and “Today is not the day to kick me” on the back side. A lot of people think that flatulence is to be had, when eating beans. “I am flatulent, because I am”, could be something to tattoo on my thigh, that is if I ever would get a tattoo. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life eating beans!”, or something that, which would then catch on and be made into a bumper sticker, or a Hallmark Card.

When I did eat today’s lunch, it went by without a hitch. Some of the others, who always have a comment on this and that, would have commented on my lack of meat, but today I didn’t have to defend my latent Vegan tendencies, and was allowed to eat my beans in peace.

I have enough beans for the next 2 days, so there will be ample opportunity for comments and accusations. There is also room for positive input, “Wow, they look great, how do they taste?”. I know, I know. It’s like thinking that some day I’ll hit the lottery, or that a whopping raise in pay is just around the corner (when my Boss discovers how invaluable, I really am), but until then I’ll just be satisfied with my own bean enjoyment.

Don’t take my word for it, try them for yourself.

I’m not just full of beans…..

 

3-Bean Chili, a Conversation Piece

Today I have an excess of beans. You might also have that problem at home?

I cooked up a whole pot of Chick Peas, and one of Black-Eyed Beans to use in soup. I still have a whole slew of them leftover, which reminded me of 3-Bean Chili.

I used the first recipe, I found, after typing 3 bean and veg—. It didn’t need to be veg—, but as I didn’t have any meat and it wasn’t to be cooked, then it fit best that way.

In the back of my mind, I am preparing myself for the comments at work. “Where is the meat?” “You never eat meat!” “Are you some sort of VEGAN?”. No, I am not a VEGAN, but I do have those kind of tendencies. It should not be a crime to eat something that doesn’t contain meat!

I’ve tried the scientific approach and told them about the protein contained in beans. Beans also count for 1 green/vegetable, which in Denmark would be 1 of 6 in the daily requirement for an adult. One glass of juice would also count as one.

Alas, I guess, I am destined to be the torch holder for the non-meat coalition, at least at work. I have tried to set an example by doing, living the healthy life, but not everyone sees things that way.

It doesn’t matter. I do what I want to, regardless of the others.

Cumin, Chili, Red Wine Vinegar and Olive Oil. I am in good company at best.

I can just catch a glass of orange juice before work.

Beans and juice, what a combination.

And some people would call me a fanatic. Who can figure?

I am looking for a Bakery in Greece

I know the word, Bakery. English. Bageri in Danish. In German Bäckerei.

I am on foot, on the Greek Island of Zakynthos. I am looking for a Bakery. Kalimera means Good Morning. I say it to some Greeks as I pass, “Kalimera”. They reply “Mera”.

No everyone speaks English, even though I am in a place with a lot of tourists. “Bakery”. “Where is the Bakery?” No reply. I admit, I didn’t invest in a Greek-English dictionary, which would have made things a lot easier.

I am on foot, heading up a hill. The Greek Sun has not yet crested the top of a nearby mountain. It is cool with few people on the streets. Bakery. How hard could it be, Bakery in Greek?

Finally, I find the Bakery. My finger pointing at the pastries, the money speaking for me, the transaction is completed.

“Excuse me, what is Bakery called in Greek?”

Furnos (of course). Through Latin.

Noun

furnus m ‎(genitive furnī); second declension

oven, bakery (source: Wikipedia)

I’m thinking furnace, which is hot, like a bakery in Greece.

Language is a funny thing. A funny construction of words.

Discover where the word, Bakery comes from in your language.

Language is funny!

Mr Frost Pays Denmark a Visit

Well, Mr Frost has finally decided to pay Denmark a visit, here late in November.

It could be my Canadian Connection, cranny.wordpress.com, had something to do with it, but he has been here judging by the whitish rooftops in our neighborhood.

According to the Weather Bureau, his visit might just be short-lived as a warm front is heading towards us in the coming week. The Danish Island of Zealand, home to Copenhagen, is expecting a mini-snowstorm tonight and tomorrow, but other than that the rest of the Country will have to be satisfied with clear, cold sunny days, and thoughts of a Winter, seemingly far far away.

I know his visit is a brief interlude, as he hasn’t unpacked his suitcases, leaving most of his chilly attire deep down in the bottom of his Winter case.

Instead of wallowing in a state of disappointment of his brief visit, I’ve decided to venture outside in order to enjoy his company in the frozen shadows of the north-facing roofs. I am though afraid that his visit means an end to my super greenhouse spinach, which has been living in its Summer Dreams long into November, denying the coming Winter.

On a last note: my Niece in Northern Washington State had a visit by Mr Frost, one day before me, which was rather disappointing.

I guess it just shows, how he doesn’t play favorites…

The Upside-Down Caves

I didn’t believe it until I saw it. The Upside Down Caves in the heart of the Danish Alps really do exist!

Yet another success for the Danish Alps. A real spelunkers paradise. I’ve never spelunked myself, but I’m told that once you try it, you’ll never want to stop doing it. I planned my trip one August day when the sun was shining and the birds were singing. Images of topless women lying about on Danish beaches, eating classic red hot dogs and sipping cold Tuborg Beer should have tempted me toward the coastline instead of the Mountains, but the Upside Down Caves can beat all of that anytime!

I checked my gear, before I left this world for another. I had the customary flashlights, water and first aid kit, and of course a good length of rope in case the unthinkable were ‘subjunctive’ to happen. I then checked my map, it seemed to act like the Marauder’s Map in Harry Potter, in which secret rooms were not shown at all. I could see the pathway up to the edge of the Mountain Face, but the lines disappeared after that. I was greeted by a sign at the door, which said, “Remember to stand on your head when entering the Caverns”. That was strange.

I guess, I needed my up side down, or my down side up which ever way you want to phrase it, but I thought it difficult, no matter how I thought about it.

The entrance was dark and foreboding, but I continued on all the same. An eerie light was ahead and when I rounded the corner, I was greeted by the following sight:

upside down2

This was too crazy to be true! It seemed to me, that I was on top of the highest peaks, but really on the bottom. I couldn’t say at this point in time, if I did indeed stand on my head, or if the Mountains did. I felt as giddy as if I were at a Danish Christmas Party, after having drunk my good share of snaps. I couldn’t contain myself anymore, “Skål” (Cheers) I yelled, and remembered to look into the faces of all the others, making sure that they too were enjoying themselves on the most certain route to Hangover City…

Wait a minute, I was alone down here. I picked up the bottle at my feet, empty and no deposit mark on it. Just my luck. Where were the other guests? Probably dropping their pants in the true tradition of a Danish Christmas Party, where green kale and creamy white cabbage were vying for attention at the overfilled table. Drinking snaps alters time, at least for me. I’ve been to a few Christmas Parties where I can remember arriving, drinking snaps, then getting ready to leave again. Stay away from the Grain, at all costs.

Where was the toilet? It sure seems dark down here, and why are the Mountains all Topsy-turvy? I guess, the Party is over for me. I had the desire pay my respects to the Limfjord, like any other citizen of Aalborg, an Aalborggenser, after a wet tour of Aalborg’s night life. There just wasn’t any fjord to be found. I decided to millimeter my way back towards the doorway in search of my Party-Buds, who were probably standing at the bar at this instant, hoping to evade the dance crazy women at the party.

Whoa, I must really have a stick on my head, or in my ear – as the Danes say. I fell down, or was it up and ended on my feet. I looked around. Wait a minute, I’ve come out of the Caves. There wasn’t a party going on, just an occasional bird or squirrel looking wryly at me, as I tried to get my bearings once again.

Things were rather upside-down in those Caves. I guess, you need to be a real Dane to be able to spelunk with the best of them. I just wasn’t made for that kind of activity.

  • Another adventure in the glorious Alps!

I am on an Airplane, traveling to Germany

I am on an Airplane from Washington DC to Germany. My Destination is Denmark. Lufthansa is the Airline. I am offered newspapers in German or English. People are speaking German. I only understand English. I feel very small and unknown.

The year is 1988.

The window shades are closed. The Movie runs its course. Sleep, if you can. The sound of pressurized air fills my ears, my seat is uncomfortable, I cannot sleep. I have never traveled so far in my life, outside of the USA. I am surrounded by Foreigners. It is exciting in a way. The other people in the plane are in the company of a Foreigner from the United States. It’s all in the way, you look at things, who is who.

…arrival in Germany….

Culture Shock. People in Turbans, yelling at each other in German.

Security Guards. Soldiers with guns. The International Airport in Frankfurt. I am waiting for a flight to Copenhagen, Denmark.

There is some sort of Security Issue. A Person or Persons unknown to me are being tried in a Court in Germany. Security is necessary. I keep to myself, and try to think of something else.

I am thinking in English. I know that for certain, as I have never learned another Foreign Language. A little Spanish and a little Danish. My thoughts have not prepared me for this trip.

My experience is limited, traveling abroad.


I live in Denmark. I study German, French, and sometimes Spanish. I speak Danish on a daily basis.

My experiences have widened. My thoughts are many.

Living in Denmark…

Telephone Call for Mr Frost

I’ve been calling Mr Frost, but he doesn’t answer. I also tried to call him last year about the same time, but I guess he is busy up North somewhere?

Real Winter Weather has been playing hide-and-seek with Denmark. Last Winter didn’t really come until January this Year, and it was brief at that.

This weekend is supposed to be the first visit of Mr Frost to Denmark. The Meteorologists are predicting that the “Winter Weather” will last around one week, then give way to warmer temperatures once again.

It won’t be time to dig out the snow shovels, or throw the kids and their snow sleds into the car, and hit the local hills for sledding fun, as the forecast hints more of “chance of” and “mixture of sleet” which doesn’t translate to snow up to one’s shoulder blades!

So, if any of you have seen Mr Frost, or know his number, then I’d encourage you to drop me a line, so I can ask him, just when he is planning his next visit to Denmark, and if he knows how long, he’ll be our guest this Winter………

Here is a small graphic illustration of next week’s forecast.prognoseborrowed from DMI, Danmarks Meterological Institute.

 

I am on a bus, traveling towards Germany

I am on a bus. I am in Denmark. The bus is traveling towards Germany. The tour guide is making jokes. “We are all Danes on this bus”, he says. “Not my husband” a woman replies. “He is from Fünen”. Danish humor. Fünen is a Danish island. Everyone laughs. I am not a Dane. I say nothing.

We cross the border. All the passports are controlled. We are in the EEC. That does not exist anymore. Some might have nostalgia for the EEC, now it is the EU. Not many have the same nostalgia.

We have money with us. The Mark. The Deutsche Mark. Denmark has the Kroner. Denmark still has the Kroner. Germany has the Euro. Some things change. Some don’t.

Lübeck is on the agenda. It is close to East Germany. East Germany disappeared 3 years before then. Lübeck is famous for Marzipan. I tasted Marzipan when I was a child. Marzipan is used a lot in Denmark. Some things never change.

The next day we are on a bus towards the old border. We cross into East Germany, DDR. The buildings are drab. There are no colors, there are concrete buildings, dreary, and lifeless. We cross the border again. There are no borders, no Guard towers, no guards. We are in the EEC.

I purchase a calendar. It is in Russian. A Russian Calendar in the BRD. Purchased with Deutsche Marks.

We are in a gift shop. Everyone speaks German. I ask in English. No one replies. “Wie viele kostet es?” I get a reply. In German. I purchase a glass ornament. In Germany, West. In the EEC. With Deutsche Mark.

I am on a bus, traveling toward Denmark. There is passport control at the border. I am now in Denmark. In the EEC. I have Danish Kroner. I still have Danish Kroner.

It is not 1993 any longer. There is not GDR any longer. There are not Deutsche Marks any longer. I am in Denmark. In the EU.

I am not a Dane. Some things never change.