Would you like fish or fish?
I remember traveling with my 13 year old son to Hamburg, Germany. He told me that he wanted to get a hamburger in Hamburg—we were at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant. It still makes me laugh.
So I was thinking of that moment as I entered the hotel’s breakfast room this morning, hoping to find danish sweet rolls. No such luck. The choices were ham, salami, cheese, bread, hard boiled eggs, cereal and yogurt. I had what I usually eat for breakfast at home in Milan: cereal with yogurt instead of milk. It’s probably better in the long run because sweets for breakfast usually give me that instant sugar spike, then by 10AM, comes the crash and I find myself starving hours before lunch.
Speaking of lunch, yesterday I asked the person at reception where I could go for authentic Danish food. Happily, the place was very close. I just had to walk past the erotica shops again (see Open Heavens over Copenhagen)—walking faster than my usual hurried American gait. The lunch menu had lots of choices, most of them fish. So I went for the herring assortment. I’ve never had herring before, so I didn’t know what to expect.
The assortment was picked herring, curried herring, marinated herring, and the restaurant’s specialty: creamed herring in akvavit sauce (like a brandy). The waitress was pleased to instruct me on what I was eating and how to eat it—by smearing pork fat on a piece of nutty dark bread. I declined the pork fat, using butter instead.
The waitress also assured me that the usual Danish thing was to wash it down with akvavit. I declined and just had a beer instead—a Danish beer. The herrings were pretty good. I think I liked the mild curry sauce the best, though they were all good.
So over breakfast I was thinking about Denmark. The coffee shop I had gone to yesterday morning hadn’t had danish either—at least not in their pastry display. So there you have it: another myth busted! Lots of fish, but no danish in Denmark.
By the way, here in the land of real blue-eyed blondes, my bleached hair sticks out more than blue hair ever did. The difference is that people here are way too polite to say anything about it.