Pretty sophisticated huh? Deux?
Anyway, last time we saw a recipe card from Alice Hafen. Alice's recipes are often referenced as being from the pioneer tradition, and as an example of the Sanpete Valley's Danish food tradition. PLEASE CLICK HERE if you'd like to participate in a survey about your family's Scandinavian food traditions. Alice's recipe is transcribed as follows:
"Quick Danish Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1 qt. water
2 tb chicken soup base
1 tb. beef soup base
1 qt. water [error?]
6 carrots, diced
4 potatoes diced
1 onion chopped
2 stalks celerey sliced
1 8 0z can tomato sauce
2 tb parsely minced
1 ts salt
1 ts. M.S.G. accent
1/4 ts. pepper
Drop crumbled raw meat into 1 qt. lightly boiling water, seasoned with chicken base & beef base. Cook 10 minutes (or until meat is brown). Cool skim off fat. Add 1 more qt water, vegetables, tomatoe sauce & seasonings. Cook just until vegetables are tender. (still firm) Add water to taste. Reheat yield 12 servings."
Some of the questions I had after seeing this were, "How much does this recipe reflect the foods of Alice's Danish pioneer ancestors? How much has this recipe changed over four generations removed from Denmark?" My friend Stephen Shepherd took one look at the recipe and said, "Not pioneer, not Danish." After all, MSG, canned tomato sauce, instant processed soup base?
I first turned to The Internet (DUN Dun dun!), that definitive source of all things authoratative, and found a modern recipe for a Danish soup called "gronkaal." Gronkaal (green kale?) apparently means "green & curly things" like cabbage, kale, or spinach. The recipe I found is for a kale soup, and the recipe called for tomato sauce. Maybe modern Danish cooking has embraced a few foreign ingredients. I have a different recipe for gronkall from 1973 which doesn't call for tomato sauce or hamburger, but does call for a ham bone or ham hocks.
My oldest gronkall recipe comes from a second generation Danish immigrant, whose mother came to Utah from Denmark in 1868. I believe the recipe was transcribed in the 1930s. This one calls for 8 different kinds of greens beyond spinach as the base. It also calls for 2 quarts beef stock and pre-cooked meatballs (frickadeller)dropped into the broth. No tomato sauce, no MSG.
It looks like some elements of Alice's Danish soup maintained integrity to the original Danish tradition, and she adapted other elements to meet her tastes and needs. It seems that integrity to the original Danish formula was not the highest priority. Instead, the value was Danish identity. For whatever reason, Alice considered this dish as a reinforcement of her Danish heritage. I think that's the important idea.
As modern Mormons we don't follow the same religious behaviors as our pioneer ancestors. We place emphasis on different parts of the religion today to reinforce our identity as Mormons. And we adapt the theology to fit our needs. I don't think anyone would expect anything different. I think this is the same approach Alice Hafen took to her identity as a daughter of Danish pioneers.
Events: Masters of Social Gastronomy, The Soda of a Nation
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