Food Culture and Tradition

Food, People and Culture Resources

Danish Food Glossary and Food Terms


Aebleskiver: a round dimpled skillet used especially for cooking puffed apple-filled cakes of the same name. Often served with a dusting of cinnamon or icing sugar.

Aeggestand: baked custard of eggs and cream (usually in individual molds); the classic accompaniment to Smorrebrod fish or mushroom dishes.

Akvavit: clear potent liquor of Scandinavian countries, brewed from either grains or potatoes, always served icy cold – sometimes frozen dramatically in a block of ice, bottle and all – made in Aalborg, Denmark. Taken from a tall narrow glass in one smooth sip, often washed down with beer. Akvavit is called “aquavit” in English.

Brod: bread.

Buttermilk Soup: cold soup made by whipping raw eggs into chilled fresh buttermilk, lightly touched with lemon. Served with molded mounds of sugary, buttery toasted oatmeal.

Flaeskeaeggekage: traditional Danish thin omelet of bacon and eggs, garnished with a sprinkling of fresh chives.

Frikadeller: juicy Danish meatballs of minced veal and pork, browned in butter. Present at almost every Smorrebrod, and eaten at least once a day.

Frokost: lunch.

Gammel Dansk Bitter: the Danish solution to head and stomach troubles, a medicinal brew of probable alcoholic content.

Glogg: a festive hot spiced wine punch popular in winter, especially during Christmas entertaining.

Gule Aerter: a thick soup made from dried yellow peas.

Hakkebof: refers to minced or ground beef, but often means any ground meat. Danish ground meats are much finer-ground than those usually sold in North America.

Hartshorn Salt: used instead of baking powder to give cookies light crisp texture. Called ammonium carbonate in Canada and the United States, available in drugstores.

Kaernemaelkskoldskal: buttermilk soup.

Klukfaske: carafe for wine, used in all Scandinavian countries, so named because its dimpled sides cause the wine to come out with a hluh-hluh sound.

Koldt Bord: the array of cold dishes (meats, fish, cheeses, pates, salads) used to make up one’s own Smorrebrod.

Konditorier: fancy cake and pastry shop where goodies are purchased especially for festive occasions.

Konditorkager: special name used to differentiate the fancy cakes purchased from the Konditorier from those that are home-baked. (An example of Danish honesty.)

Middag: evening meal, or dinner.

Morgenkaffe: breakfast.

Mycella: blue-veined Danish cheese, creamier and smoother than the famed Danablu. (Some other Danish cheeses: Danbo, Elbo, Havarti, Samso, Tybo.)

Natmad: lest Danish guests travel home the least bit hungry, this specially named late night sandwich snack is served just before guests depart.

011ebrod: soup that is strong both in taste and smell, made from stale rye crusts and beer. A very old traditional country dish.

Pandekager: Danish pancakes eaten with powdered sugar, lingonberry preserves, or sometimes ice cream. Black coffee accompanies.

Risengrod: traditional rice pudding rich with eggs and cream and hiding a single lucky almond, served everywhere in Scandinavian countries on Christmas Eve. It is one of the few appearances of rice on the Danish table.

Rodgrod Med Flode: a favored dessert pudding of fresh fruits, usually berries, cooked with a little water and sugar and thickened with corn or potato starch, served with fresh cream.

Skal or Skoal: a formidable Scandinavian tradition begun when the host “eyes” a male guest, lifts his glass of Akvavit, and still eyeing his “partner,” downs the icy brew, bows his head, and lowers his eyes. “Formidable tradition” because Akvavit is potent and because there is no end to Skal. Questionable whether this tradition is based on hospitality, fortitude, or the Dane’s unquenchable thirst. (Women are usually exempt from the obligation to Skal.)

Smaretter: name given to several tasty hot dishes, such as creamed mushrooms, Frikadeller, that usually accompany the Smorrebrod.

Smorre or Smorrebrod: butter. Smorrebrod literally means “bread and butter,” but Danish understatement makes whole lunches into just “bread and butter.” It is an elaborate buffet of fishes, meats, cheeses, salads, breads, and usually a few hot dishes as well.

Snaps: common Danish name for Akvavit.

Snifter: miniature versions of Smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches) served as appetizers.

Suppe: soup.

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