When you live abroad it is fun to make dishes from your home country. Bangers and Mash is popular in both Australia and the UK. Thick fresh sausages with home-made creamy mash potato with a river of gravy (in my case above – a moat). I don’t know why Norwegians haven’t cottoned onto this idea.
In Norway, I haven’t seen a real sausage. There are certainly enough pølser (which is often translated into ‘sausage’)but no fresh ‘snags’. Pølse is so unfresh that you don’t even need to cook it to eat it. It is the equivalent to what Australians call a ‘frankfurt’, or the smaller version, a cheerio – nasty little bundles of meat-scraps held together by glue. To an Australian, a real sausage is about fresh minced meat, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, flavoured with garlic, peppers, herbs, red wine and even curry. Making sausages is a real artform and butchers can build their reputation on them. But, when you live in Norway, pølser just has to do. I fry them up until they are on the crispy side with some onions for topping.
An odd realization when making Bangers and Mash while in Norway is that Norwegians don’t eat real mash potato. When we first met, Moose was perplexed as to why I would go to the trouble of making mash potato from scratch, with real potatoes, when you could just buy a powdered pack from the store. I was a little horrified. I had never in my life made packet mash potato. But for Norwegians, once a potato is boiled, they do nothing more but eat it. No roasting, no grilling, no frying, no mashing. What’s the point of cooking it again to get a crispy shell when the potato tastes perfectly fine without it? Double cooking, from boiling to roasting, is considered a little peculiar. (Farmor just smirked at me when I told her about my cooking method for perfect parma chicken – boil, crumb, fry, top and grill). In Norway, packet potato is expected when mash is on the menu. However, at the risk of being odd, I still like to make my own mash. But, every now and then, when my time is short, I reach into the back of the cupboard and whip out a packet of mash potato.
Compromising is part of the game in making dishes from your home country, but I sometimes dream about starting an Australian food import company just so I can have my creature comforts.