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FOOD & DRINK

More foods pulled from supermarket shelves in Norway due to toxic substance

Everyday food items, including chicken nuggets, potato salad and mayonnaise, on Thursday joined the list of products being recalled in Norway.  

More foods pulled from supermarket shelves in Norway due to toxic substance
A supermarket aisle. Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

This week, several foods joined the large list of items being hooked from shops in Norway because they are contaminated with the banned carcinogenic and toxic substance ethylene oxide. 

On Wednesday, food producer Nortura issued a recall order on batches of various pies and breaded goods. Earlier this week, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority also announced it was pulling everyday food items ranging from chicken nuggets to potato salad from shelves.

The products have been pulled because ethylene oxide is banned in food products in the EU and European Economic Area, or EEA, (EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).

These items join other household staples such as ice cream, liver pâté and sardines, which were withdrawn earlier this summer as they also contained the same toxic pesticide as the latest wave of products being recalled. 

READ MORE: Why are certain foods in Norway being pulled from shelves? 

You can take a look at the complete list of items that have been recalled here. If you find any of the affected products in your fridge or cupboards, then the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has advised that you throw them away or take them to a supermarket for a refund. 

If you have eaten any products being withdrawn from shops and supermarkets, it shouldn’t pose an immediate health risk, and the substance can only contribute to the risk of developing cancer if consumed over a long period of time. 

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FOOD & DRINK

The traditional Norwegian Christmas delicacies you should know about

Some of the most popular delicacies and foods served in Norway during the holidays will have you heading back for seconds. 

Pictured is a table set for Christmas.
Here's everything you need to know about Norway's Christmas foods. Pictured is a table set for Christmas. Photo by Anthony Cantin on Unsplash

 Pinnekjøtt

Pinnekjøtt (or ‘stick meat’) is a Norwegian favourite for families to enjoy on the juleaften (the evening of the 24th of December). A helpful hint, if you know you’re going to be eating pinnekjøtt for dinner in the evening, drink plenty of water throughout the day. The heavily salted lamb meat that is dried and then cooked again by being mounted on sticks in a bath of hot water is perhaps the saltiest tasting food in all Norwegian cuisine. 

Ribbe 

Ribbe, or “pork belly”, is often characterized by its rind. The crispier and crunchier the better. If you’re not hearing a local raving over how delightful pinnekjøtt is to eat on Christmas, it’s likely because they are raving over how delicious ribbe is. These two Christmas meals are arguably the most popular and often go head to head. 

It may sound like an odd question to pose, but it is completely normal to ask a Norwegian co-worker or friend if they are team pinnekjøtt or team ribbe. You’ll likely be asked as well. So get a taste of both so you can pick your side and join in on the light-hearted battle. 

Medisterkaker

Medisterkaker can be the star of your dinner plate or work well as a side dish. The recipes vary. Though traditionally, this hearty pork-based dish (typically in the shape of slightly flattened meatballs) is made with at least 25 percent pork fat. What makes them so Christmasy is the festive spice blend of added ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. 

Kokt torsk 

Kokt torsk or “boiled cod” is a traditional Christmas meal for households situated along the coastline. A firm line has been drawn between lovers and haters of kokt torsk. You’ll find very few Norwegians who claim this is their favourite Christmas meal. If you do find someone, the odds are that they grew up near the coastline, especially in the south of Norway. Traditionally, the mild-tasting fish is served with a clear butter sauce and boiled potatoes. 

Lutefisk 

Lutefisk or  “Cod fish” is fisk preserved in “lye” or lut.  The dish that can best be described as fishy in its taste and odour is considered a traditional holiday dish. However, you’ll likely meet less than a handful of Norwegians that incorporate this meal into their Christmas dinner lineup. Instead, lutefisk is more popular with the older Scandinavians who immigrated to the United States. In fact, more lutefisk is consumed annually in the state of Minnesota than in Norway. 

Pepperkake everywhere

During the month of December, you’ll likely spot pepperkake everywhere! The crispy gingerbread cookie is available to grab on shop counters, passed out as gifts, and used to decorate windows. You can make your own. Though typically, it’s the store-bought versions that litter all offices and parities. Some Norwegians claim pepperkake is the ultimate taste of Christmas. But since it is so easy to find and eat often, many locals are relieved when pepperkake takes an 11-month hiatus after the new year. 

What about the sides? 

If you find yourself more excited by the sides of your main dish rather than the main protein, you might be disappointed during Christmas dinner. Norwegian Christmas side dishes are typically not the stars of the meal. In fact, one can go so far as to call them bland. You can expect peeled and boiled potatoes, boxed sauerkraut, spoonfuls of tyttebær sauce or “lingonberry” sauce, and more boiled potatoes. But that’s ok. Many find they are a nice equalizer next to the traditional Christmas foods that are fatty, salty, and have very distinct tastes.

On the beverage table

Aquavit – Aquavit is a Nordic favourite. The slightly spicy tasting spirit is distilled from grain and potatoes. Sipping on the strong liquid during Christmas dinner is a wonderful way to clear the palette from the extra fat and salt the meal contains. 

Gløgg – Gløgg, Norway’s take on mulled wine, is served both as an alcoholic cocktail and a non-alcoholic beverage. The warm drink is slightly spicy in taste. And the aroma that exudes from the kitchen while gløgg is being heated up on the stove could melt even Scrooge’s heart. 

Juleøl – Juleøl, or “Christmas beer”, is typically darker and fuller in taste than this pilsner loving country is used to drinking. As a result, you will find that the beer aisle has been taken over with famous nordic beer brands, such as Hansa and Ringnes, and their Christmas beers around the holidays. 

Don’t forget to hunt for the almond

If you’re celebrating in a more traditional Norwegian household, you’ll likely find a cake in the spectacular shape of a small tower on the dessert table. This is Kransekake, and it is a traditional dessert both in Denmark and Norway. Kransekake is typically served on special occasions. Weddings, the 17th of May, and yes, Christmas. In addition to seeing kransekake served in all its glory as a towering cake, you can also find smaller bites of kransekake sold in the shops and bakeries during the holidays. 

Kransekake aside, perhaps the most popular dessert served after Christmas dinner is riskremRiskrem or “rice porridge” is a creamy dessert served cold with a fruit-based coulis drizzled on top. What makes this dessert extra fun is the game traditionally played with it. A shaved almond is often hidden in the serving bowl filled with riskrem. And whoever discovers the almond in their bowl receives a traditional pig made out of marzipan as their prize.  

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