WHY TYPICAL NORWEGIAN?: Well, what does it really mean when we say that something is typical Norwegian (or typisk norsk in Norwegian) or for any other country for that matter? What makes something special for one country? Perhaps something so extraordinary that i can't be found in an other country? Or maybe something that was discovered in one country? Focussing on Norway I will try to name a few things that are, in my oppinion, typical Norwegian, because you'll only find it in Norway or it was discoverd in Norway or it is simply a common thing in Norway where it isn't in other countries. Based on the "typical Norwegian things" described here, you decide: typical Norwegian or not?!
MATPAKKE OG DIN EGEN KOPP KAFFE: What? Matpakke? Matpakke literally means "packed food". This is actually more a lifestyle than just food. It defines simplicity and practicality and in a way the style of Norwegian life. Basically matpakke consists of single slices of bread with cheese, liverpai, salmon or bananas on top of it, carefully separated with sheets of paper and wrapped. It is popular among Norwegians who take it to school, to the university, when they go on a hiking trip or to their job. Typical is than also to have your own cup of coffee. Literally! This means that nearly every Norwegian has their own cup with them and fills it with coffee at the gasstation while on the road. But also students stop at the gasstation to fill their cup. So no paper cups (which are available at the gasstations), but your own!
BRUNOST: Brunost (literally brown cheese) a brown Norwegian cheese. Due to the production process it cannot be called a real cheese. Brunost is made by boiling a mixture of milk, cream and whey carefully for several hours so that the water evaporates. The heat turns the milk sugar into caramel which gives the cheese its characteristic taste. It is ready for consumption as soon as it is packed in suitable sized blocks.
PØLSER: Rød Pølse (Danish for "red sausage") is a type of boiled sausage very common in Denmark and Norway. Since hot dog stands are very common in Denmark and you'll find the sausages at every gasstation in Norway, some people regard røde pølser as one of the national dishes. Their most noticeable aspect (never the fried ones) is that the skin often contains a traditional red dye (carmine) making it bright red. Røde pølser are commonly served with remoulade, mustard or ketchup, dried onions and pickled cucumber.
Rød pølse or red sausage
HYTTE: This is on of the most important aspects of Norwegian lifestyle. Norwegians love nature, their mountains, forests and the sea . Very popular among them is owning a simple, wooden cottage (called hytte) in the mountains, sometimes in very remote places, even without electricity (they have gas-driven refrigerators!). While driving through Norway you will see them standing everywhere, yet, in the middle of nowehere.
DUGNAD: Dugnad is a term used for voluntary work for the local community, usually in form of outdoor spring cleaning, gardening, building a barn or a playground for kids. The word "dugnad" was chosen as Norwegian national word in 2004.
BUNAD: Bunad is a traditional Norwegian clothing, typically of rural origin, closely connected to the Norway's traditional districts. The designs are typically elaborate, with embroidery, scarves, shawls and hand-made silver or gold jewelery. There are national dresses both for men and women, although women's bunads are more diverse and popular. Bunads are very precious to Norwegians, they are often inherited and can reach prices up to $10,000. Bunads are worn on the National Day (17th of May), but also on weddings, baptisms, confirmations and generally on solemn occasions.
17TH OF MAY: The 17th of May Norway celebrates its most important national holiday, the Constitution Day. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as syttende mai (meaning May Seventeenth) or Nasjonaldagen (The National Day). The Norwegian Constitution was signed on May 17 in the year 1814 and declared Norway to be an independent nation, ending its union with Sweden.
Det 17. mai
NORWEGIAN DISCOVERY, THE CHEESE SLICER: The cheese slicer (ostehøvelen in Norwegian) was invented and patented in 1925, production started in 1927. Mr Bjorklund noticed it was difficult to cut the cheese nicely when you used the knife, so he invented the razor on the basis of a common carpenter plane. Bjorklund patented his cheese slicer on 27 February 1925.
The cheese slicer can be used to cut hard cheeses, as well as the distinctive Norwegian brunost. The cheese slicer can be found in every Norwegian house and beyond! Verycommon in other countries as well this handy tool!
Ostehøvelen or cheese slicer
NORWEGIAN DISCOVERY, ENGANGSGRILL: The "engangsgrill" is a disposable grill (you can only use it once) which consists of a small aluminum box with grate on top and charcoal inside, which is lit with a match. This "device" burns only a short amount of time (usually 30-45 min) and can not be refilled or lit after shutdown. The grill is perfect for roasting hot dogs and other small things, but is not suitable for large cuts of meat. The grill is widely used by Norwegians on beaches, in parks and on short hiking tours. They care about their environment and nature, so burn out grills and all the waste goes into special bins.