Making Smørrebrød, lunch of Danish Champions.

Hanging out with my Airbnb hosts one day, we got into a conversation surrounding food — they had just gotten a new grill that we were testing out, and we had each purchased our own ingredients to grill, then eat together. The differences in our respective choices got us to talking about national foods and how our countries are represented by what we eat. This all of course digressed into us cooking meals for one another (because at heart we really just want to eat all the time): me making something traditionally American for them, them making something traditionally Danish for me.

We both put a lot of thought into what we thought best represented our respective countries. I couldn’t think of anything easily produceable that was truly American and not already available for sale in a restaurant somewhere in Denmark. Hamburgers? No — too many restaurants sell them. Hot Dogs? No — every single country I've been in has their own special variation on the hot dog. Apple Pie? No — as much as i want it to be, pie is not dinner. In the end, what I decided on wasn't even really important (for the insatiably curious, I went with my personal best recipe of my Mom's curry recipe, rather than an actually American food. Gah, what a cop-out). Their contribution to this exchange dwarfed my own.

My hosts decided on smørrebrød, the decidedly traditional open-faced rye bread sandwiches that Danes eat every day for lunch. These two never do anything half-assed, so they created a tasting menu of five different classic varieties, all of which they collected the ingredients for and helped me assemble for myself in what was one of the major highlights of my trip. So passing on my learning experience to you, here’s a rough summary of this selection of smørrebrød:

  Step 1:   Prep the ingredients. Many of these can only be found in Denmark, so if you want to try this at home you are shit out of luck. Maybe you can have a friend to ship them to you? Or in reality, you can probably substitute some of these  with a similar ingredient, and make a sort of fusion sandwich.

Step 1: Prep the ingredients. Many of these can only be found in Denmark, so if you want to try this at home you are shit out of luck. Maybe you can have a friend to ship them to you? Or in reality, you can probably substitute some of these  with a similar ingredient, and make a sort of fusion sandwich.

  Step 2 (Optional):   Acquire adorable puppy to watch you cook. And a beautifully styled Danish kitchen. And a Danish flag for a little patriotism.

Step 2 (Optional): Acquire adorable puppy to watch you cook. And a beautifully styled Danish kitchen. And a Danish flag for a little patriotism.

   S    tep 3:  Layer, layer, layer all of the things!

Step 3: Layer, layer, layer all of the things!

Start with Rugbrød (Rye Bread) base for all of them, buttered all the way to the edges — don't skimp on the butter.

  1. Roast Beef, remoulade, fried onions, horseradish, baby green garnish
  2. Karrysild (Curried Pickled Herring), tomatoes, red onions, microgreen garnish
  3. Soft boiled egg, mayonnaise, Crawfish (shrimp also acceptable), lemon, radish slices, baby green garnish
  4. Lettuce leaf, Rullepølse (Rolled Sausage), red onion, pepper, microgreen garnish
  5. Leverpostej (Pork Liver Spread), bacon, mushrooms, cucumber slides, chives
  Step 4:  Instagram your masterpiece, and get  hyggelig  all up in that bitch. AKA devour with relish. According to my hosts, you’re supposed to start with the biggest animal and move to the smallest when eating (which in this case I think would be Roast Beef, Leverpostej,  Rullepølse , Karrysild, then Crawfish). However, I am all for the just doing what looks good. Which is pretty much what we did. HOMG.

Step 4: Instagram your masterpiece, and get hyggelig all up in that bitch. AKA devour with relish. According to my hosts, you’re supposed to start with the biggest animal and move to the smallest when eating (which in this case I think would be Roast Beef, Leverpostej, Rullepølse, Karrysild, then Crawfish). However, I am all for the just doing what looks good. Which is pretty much what we did. HOMG.

  Final step:  If you know what you're doing, you'll follow up that delicious lunch with some  Koldskål , a dessert made with special Danish yogurt-like dairy product, lemons, some other stuff, and served with biscuits (aka cookies). My Airbnb hosts made me this, but with their own special recipe created without the use of measuring devices, as every person who creates it has their own recipe for this dish.

Final step: If you know what you're doing, you'll follow up that delicious lunch with some Koldskål, a dessert made with special Danish yogurt-like dairy product, lemons, some other stuff, and served with biscuits (aka cookies). My Airbnb hosts made me this, but with their own special recipe created without the use of measuring devices, as every person who creates it has their own recipe for this dish.