So…this past weekend, there was a parade in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn celebrating Norway Day, which I have read commemorates the signing of the Constitution of Norway (…and which established the nation as an independent entity). Norway also apparently just won the Eurovision song contest — so I guess it was a good weekend to be Norwegian.
I went to the parade with a J-school colleague (and Bay Ridge native) who also has Norwegian roots. (Although I should note it’s not entirely clear *how* Norwegian I actually am. My paternal grandmother was said to be 100% Norwegian…but as her mother got knocked up on the ship over from Norway, she never knew her actual father. Her mom said he was a Norwegian sailor, but because she never had the extremely fair complexion that the rest of us are known for, my aunt suspects her mother’s father was actually from somewhere in the Mediterranean. So…long story short, I’m anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4 Norwegian. Which still makes me a legit parade-goer, I hope.)
When I lived in Alaska, I met a woman from Norway who had met her Alaskan husband while studying at the University of Sussex — which, as you’ll recall, is my alma mater. She told me that it is very popular for Americans to go back to Norway, searching for long-lost relatives. And as my paternal great-grandmother was one of, like, a dozen children, it’s entirely possible that I still have family there.
It really would be great to go to Oslo someday, but in the meantime, I’ll have to settle for Bay Ridge. It was a very happy parade — my friend bought Norwegian flags and it was kind of cute how everyone in the parade got excited when they saw *our* flags and waved *their* flags. (And then Creepy Pants on the Subway tried to use my new flag as an excuse to talk.)
After the parade, we headed to a Norwegian deli that was serving a special May 17 menu that included hot dogs (which sounds authentic! At least for kids!) as well as a stew and what my friend referred to as the Norwegian equivalent of White Castle (some sort of patty on bread with tomato and lettuce) and a potato dumpling thing with some kind of meat in it (pork? Beef? Could have been either). I wish I could remember the names…the potato dumpling was especially a kind of stick-to-your-ribs-type dish…which my friend mused must be because it’s so darn cold up there that you need calorie-heavy food to fuel your whatevers. And I tried to think of some sort of Alaskan equivalent…but failed. (I had a roommate at Sussex who was from Finland…and from her, I learned that the Finns don’t like the Swedes [in part because everyone always asks them if they are Swedish] and that Finland looks a lot like Alaska.)
And, speaking of hot dogs…I hate myself for admitting this on a number of levels, but after watching Jillian’s debut as the Bachelorette, I’m sorta jonesing for hot dogs now. (It could also be because I ran into some folks from the Luxury Spot in Williamsburg this weekend and we all went to a nearby watering hole and there was free BBQ that included veggie dogs…which sort of whet my hot dog whistle, I guess.)