December 29, 2008
It is interesting how people in different areas of the world adapt their cuisine depending on the climate. The winters in Denmark, although perhaps not very cold, are still cold enough, dark and windy and the Danish cuisine can be defined as heavy and hardy. Especially the cooking done in winter is renowned for its high energy content (or fat content) to keep the Scandinavians warm and strong.
In the old times, the main culinary problem with the long winters was the lack of vegetables for extended period of time. In Denmark people found a marvelous source of vitamins in a very interesting plant called "grønkål". It can be translated as "green cabbage". It is a cabbage like plant, with spinach like leaves, high in vitamins (A, B and C) and very hardy, surviving easily the cold winters this far up north. It is very undemanding and can grow anywhere, even on the sandy beaches around the North Sea. This interesting plant can additionally grow new leaves in the winter, if the weather turns slightly milder during a few days. In the past, people that could grow the “grønkål” would have significantly lower rate of diseases.
The cabbage is still today sold in stores, mostly frozen and precooked. It can be served as addition to other meals or as a dish on its own, so called "grønlangkål", where the finely chopped vegetable has been mixed with spices, salt, sugar and milk. It resembles a hardy, stew liked soup and tastes excellent when served with sausages and/or potatoes.
Grønlangkål is definitely one of my favorite meals comes winter.