The big dreams we have appear daunting because we can’t picture how to get from point A to point Z. This is certainly how I felt, but I still made the commitment to write a cookbook! I had so many thoughts and ideas and concepts and scenes I imagined in my head – all swirling around in a fury of energy. Over time, some swirls started to align themselves. A plan was made, food development began, people were enrolled, concepts became realities, ideas were being challenged, recipes were tested – some successful, some not. It felt good. And it felt bad. How could that be?
Last week an image of my struggle came to me: it feels like I’m skateboarding to China. I now have a visual that seems daunting yet makes me smile at the same time. And isn’t that how it should be? A wonderfully difficult challenge that also makes me happy. I started taking notes on “Life Lessons on the Way to Writing My Cookbook.” Periodically through this blog I will give you a taste of what I’m learning about myself and others by undertaking something so completely insurmountable. Like skateboarding to China.
Life Lesson #1
How to Be Danish in America
I have always loved the fact that I am of Danish heritage. Despite moving to America when I was not even a year old, I feel a strong connection to Denmark. My parents, who are so dear to me, held on to Danish tradition as they raised their family. I suspect that most of this was unknowingly done. As with most family traditions, food is at the heart. For me and for my two siblings, there was a great familiarity with how our parents prepared meals and held celebrations. In Denmark, the presentation of meals is as much about the hyggelig as it is about the food itself. I didn’t realize until I was well into my adulthood that the meals included not only certain flavors, smells and colors but also flickering candles and stunning porcelain. Meal time has to be about people feeling embraced by comfort, security and ease – and, of course, enjoying delicious food.
So I embarked on a mission to bring hyggelig to America through one of the most traditional Danish fares: the open-faced sandwich, a seemingly quirky concept. How can a sandwich do all that? Well, the truth is it can, but it isn’t simple. Thus begins my skateboarding journey to China. Follow my trek as I figure out how to be Danish in America and watch how this teaches me some of my most precious lessons.