In Cod We Trust

In Cod We Trust

Living the Norwegian Dream

Book - 2008
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Eric Dregni's great-grandfather Ellef fled Norway in 1893 when it was the poorest country in Europe. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson traveled back to find that--mostly due to oil and natural gas discoveries--it is now the richest. The circumstances of his return were serendipitous, as the notice that Dregni won a Fulbright Fellowship to go there arrived the same week as the knowledge that his wife Katy was pregnant. Braving a birth abroad and benefiting from a remarkably generous health care system, the Dregnis' family came full circle when their son Eilif was born in Norway.
In this cross-cultural memoir, Dregni tells the hair-raising, hilarious, and sometimes poignant stories of his family's yearlong Norwegian experiment. Among the exploits he details are staying warm in a remote grass-roofed hytte (hut), surviving a dinner of rakfisk (fermented fish) thanks to 80-proof aquavit, and identifying his great-grandfather's house in the Lusterfjord only to find out it had been crushed by a boulder and then swept away by a river. To subsist on a student stipend, he rides the meat bus to Sweden for cheap salami with a busload of knitting pensioners. A week later, he and his wife travel to the Lofoten Islands and gnaw on klippefisk (dried cod) while cats follow them through the streets.
Dregni's Scandinavian roots do little to prepare him and his family for the year in Trondheim eating herring cakes, obeying the conformist Janteloven (Jante's law), and enduring the mørketid (dark time). In Cod We Trust is one Minnesota family's spirited excursion into Scandinavian life. The land of the midnight sun is far stranger than they previously thought, and their encounters show that there is much we can learn from its unique and surprising culture.
Publisher: Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, c2008
ISBN: 9780816656233
0816656231
9780816656240
081665624X
Characteristics: 195 p. : map ; 23 cm

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evazewdie
May 15, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. The author grew up in Minneapolis and goes to Norway to explore his heritage. I loved the insight into Norwegian (and Norwegian-American) culture. His wife gave birth to their first child during their stay, which sheds light in that aspect of life in Norway. Minnesotans who like Peter Mayle or Bringing up Bebe should read this!

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