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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sandwich Day Scandinavian Style

Life is a sandwich: many joys, with some sorrow between

Let the sorrows fly way up to the sky, down to the ground and all around the world. Instead, indulge yourself the way the Scandinavians do, with an open faced sandwich. Open faced sandwiches are very popular in Scandinavia but Denmark claims to have elevated them into a fine art.  

Although there are many traditional variations associated with the Danish open sandwich, the sandwich usually consists of one piece of buttered rugbrød — the Danish hard, whole-grain rye bread, topped with any of a variety of meats, including various cold cuts, bacon, herring, fish fillets, eggs and certain kinds of paté (Danish, leverpostej), a vegetable layer is neatly pack on top (for example, thinly sliced cucumber, tomato wedges or pickled beets) and topped with a dressing  or condiment, such as mayonnaise, or toasted onion bits. A woman who is trained in making traditional combinations is called a smørrebrødsjomfru (literally, "smørrebrød maid").

Smørrebrød actually means "butter and bread" Smørrebrød dates back to the 19th century when, for many agricultural workers, lunch was the main meal of the day. It began when bread was used to wipe the plates clean of any remaining food, eventually, the food was placed on the bread in stead as topping. Open-faced sandwiches are also a staple of the Norwegian diet, stemming from when Denmark ruled Norway in the 19th Century. In the United States, an open faced sandwich generally refers to a slice of bread topped with warm slices of roasted meat and gravy, or bread topped with Welsh rarebit. Although, technically a half bagel with cream cheese and lox is an open sandwich. Usually served as snacks for cocktail parties, canapes may also be considered open-faced sandwiches.

A Little history: Before the Renaissance and the invention of the fork, any object that moved between plate and mouth, lifting cooked food and its sauce without spills was a necessary utensil. From the Dark Ages to the Renaissance, bread was an integral part of a table setting. Thick slices of bread, called trenchers, were set on wooden plates (also called trenchers) to soak up the sauces accompanying pieces of meat. (source)

While there's an endless variety of good breads used to make open-faced sandwiches, the Danes usually make them with dark Rye Bread. Chefs prefer wholegrain breads for their firmness so that they can cut the slices as thin as possible. When they use white bread, they usually toast it.

Resources: 
1. Smørrebrød
2. wikipedia
3. Norwegian Smorbrod
4. Recipes
5. Sandwiches from Copenhagen
6. Danish Sushi?
7. New Wave Designs
8. A List
9. Norwegian Suggestions
10. "The King"
11.Canapé Party Menu

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Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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