Back in "the old days" Denmark was primarily a nation of farmers and fishermen and the Danish food traditions still reflect a culture of hard working people with a need for food with high levels of energy and nutrition. Typically for Danish people there are 3 main meals on a day:
The influence from (especially) the US has changed our habits over the years, since "fast food" has become more and more dominant in our every day lives, but the in-between meals - like a trip to a McDonalds - is still considered a "treat for the kids" and not yet a huge part of our daily meals.
"The cold table" is a special type of Danish food arrangement - usually served at lunch time. The cold table may be a buffet arrangement prepared away from the dining table, or more likely it will consist of the many and varied items being brought to the dining table and passed around family-style. The first course is the a variety of Herring (sild pronounced: seel')
accompanied by cold beer and ice cold Snaps
Danes have a saying, that "the herring needs the snaps to be able to swim!" And "you can't have just one snaps, you need two; one for each leg."
There will be various types of herring served:
The heering is served with dark rye bread, cold butter, onion rings and karry salat, which is dressing made from a mix of mayonaise, sour creme, curry powder, cucumber, tiny bits of macaroni and salt & pepper.
Along with the first course of herring you might also see a serving of fried fish filets with remoulade and sometimes even specialties like kippers, which is a cold-smoked, dry salted kind of herring.
Some of these sandwiches have names, such as...
(Danish: a shooting star)
- and topped with shrimp, mayonaise, dill, a slice of lemon and tomato
(Danish: The veterinarian's midnight snack)
Topped with slices of meat aspic, a slice of cucumber, onion rings and kress.
Let me give you a few hints on, what kind of Danish food you might encounter when you visit a traditional Danish house at dinner time. I will give you my own family recipes for some of them as well, so you can try them out.
These recipes are very tradional dinners; the kind of food the average family will have for dinner on week days.
Bon appetite! Velbekomme!