Wednesday, 14 March 2018

grøtmelet or the breakfast of champions

We enjoyed learning of the great Norwegian Porridge Feud of the mid-nineteenth century that was sparked by “scientific” thought encroaching on traditional foods. Domestic science—which did not always ascribe rigorously to the scientific method with opium and cocaine and sugar considered safe active ingredients or breakfast cereals promoted as a remedy against autoerotic excess and has a history of crazes, ulterior motives and a rather spotty reputation—sought to overhaul kitchen-witchery and folkways.
The first perceived assault came in the form of a cookbook that presumed to tell housewives that they’ve been making their porridge (grøt) and other staples wrong all along, authored by the well-meaning Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (under the pseudonym Clemens Bonifacius—the Gentle Helper). Would you have taken sides? This controversy, seen by many to be a grave insult to homemakers but alternately drew many to companion the new science, forwarded the debate between traditional wisdom and expert application in view of the evolving realities of the way we live and eat—both ushering in a greater variety for Scandinavian diets but also the ills of processed and refined foods.