Welcome to Outside Oslo, a Scandinavian food blog by Daytona Strong

DaytonaOutside Oslo began one summer evening in 2009 when the sun began to shine again over my grief. My grandmother Agny had died suddenly two months before, just as I was preparing to ask her to start telling me her stories about life in Norway. Grandma’s death punched me in the heart in a way I didn’t know how to handle. I sought comfort in the shared heritage—especially its food. As I began cooking my way through Scandinavian recipes, as rich with butter as the stories written in between their fading lines, I was cooking food that Grandma would have known in Norway, and it helped me understand more about her and about where we came from. Outside Oslo became a place where I could record what I was learning.

To my delight, my other grandmother, Adeline–also Norwegian, by way of North Dakota–was a willing participant in my journey and taught me how to make lefse, krumkaker, sandbakkelse, and many other confections. She passed away this past summer after an extended decline, leaving me to carry on the traditions that all four of my Norwegian grandparents had worked so hard to preserve. I’m still processing the loss and things may continue to be quiet around here as I heal. But I hope the recipes and the stories touch you in some way, whether they point you to your own Scandinavian heritage or simply remind you of how wonderful it is to share a meal with someone dear. – December 2017

About me:

I’ve always been a writer, but there’s part of me that belongs in the kitchen as much as at the desk.

Trained as a journalist in college, I began my career as a writer and producer for a morning television newscast in Seattle. Churning out story after story about house fires and wacky weather until the sun rose high, I’d go home in the morning and unwind in the kitchen, leisurely mixing up homemade treats to occasionally bring to the newsroom for the next day’s editorial meeting. Until the news director—my mentor—advised me to stop.

You’re going to be known as the newsroom Martha Stewart, he warned me one day. That’s no way for a young, blonde, and cute woman with an unusual name to gain credibility as a serious journalist, he said. And of course, young and ambitious, I listened.

Now I look back at that time and see how it all makes sense. I had no idea back then, as an aspiring reporter and anchorwoman, that I’d find a way to combine my passions. I’ve since traded breaking news for food writing and am recognized as a source on Scandinavian cooking. I’m the food editor for The Norwegian American and my work appears in a number of regional and national publications including Costco Connection, The Oregonian, and Edible Seattle. I’ve also taught cooking and baking classes at Seattle’s Nordic Heritage Museum. As obvious as a career in food writing seems now, it would take me a few years to figure it out. And I took some detours along the way.

When I first left TV news, I became the communications manager for a theater company. The job was a perfect fit, as I’d find out one morning when I woke up to learn that the theater had been the latest target of a serial arsonist who had had the neighborhood on alert for weeks. My journalism skills proved helpful as I worked with the media to help turn what could have been simply a story of arson into months-long coverage complete with a silver lining as the theater reopened.

My love for storytelling also led me to start writing a novel about a present-day woman uncovering secrets of her grandmother’s past in wartime Norway. I didn’t realize it at the time, but its roots were my own experience. I put fiction on the backburner after I realized I had my own story to tell.

When I was a teenager, Grandma Agny used to dream of me becoming an anchorwoman. I’m not sure I would have otherwise thought to pursue that career, but I think she was onto something. By pursuing a career as a journalist, I was nurturing reporting skills that would come in handy when I started researching my family history and heritage. I never ended up anchoring the nightly news. But I think that Grandma Agny would be even more pleased, knowing that I cherish the love she shared and the heritage she worked so hard to preserve.

23 thoughts on “Welcome to Outside Oslo, a Scandinavian food blog by Daytona Strong

  1. Your blog is really nice! I am enjoying seeing your recipes and insight into Norway. I’ve been living in Stavanger, on the west coast, and am now in Ballard, Seattle – it’s been interesting making that transition. I can tell you that there is a lot to love about Norway, but it can be a real struggle to get through the winters. Anyway, I’m enjoying reading your experiences!

  2. Hello there!
    Just found your blog. Very interesting stuff! I love Norwegian food, it was one of the great surprises for me when I moved here a couple of years ago, all the local specialities I had never heard of. I love trying new stuff, so I’ve definitely come to the right country. I even like lutefisk believe it or not!!!! Well, with enough bacon I do 😉
    Anyway, keep up the good work, I’ll certainly try some of the recipes… those lefser do look good!
    And check this out… A very funny video on lutefisk. Won’t convince you to eat it, but it sure made me giggle! Best
    Marie
    http://www.elusivemoose.eu/2009/11/never-tasted-lutefisk-dont-watch-this/

  3. As a Norwegian; My admire for a great blog – readable, informative and representative for Norway, our culture, traditions and habits.

    As a local, it’s great to see my country through you’re eyes!

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  4. I was searching “brandy glaze” and your blog came up in Google! I am a first-generation Guatemalan-American, newly married to a first-generation Norwegian-American. Just this summer, we went to visit his folks in Norway. Our “home base” was Asker, from which we went various places including Lillehammer and Oslo. Scandinavian culture couldn’t be more different than Latin-American… and that’s just the way I like it! Vive la difference!

    I look forward to exploring your blog. God dag and felicitaciones from Chicago!

  5. Hi, do you have the Nordstrom recipe for coconut macaroons? It uses white chocolate . . . if so, could you e-mail it to me? Thanks!

  6. Hi – love your blog. Spent a lot of time in Scandinavia, so all these posts are bringing back great memories. I also remember eating (and drinking) very well in Oslo, althought not so sure that my wallet would agree (I have vague memories of NOK 500 for a bottle of wine somewhere…(!).

    Thanks for the link on your blogroll too!

    Keep on cookin’

  7. I found your blog by accident trying to find a recipe similar to my mother’s butter cookies. Similar to you, my fathers family moved to Utah from Norway just a few years before he was born. My mother moved to Utah from Norway when she was 23 then found and married my dad. So, we had a very traditional Norwegian upbringing. In fact, my brother and I spoke Norwegian as our first language but before we started school, we learned English and I lost most of my Norsk. However, the saddest loss was losing our parents, most recently our mother and her recipe book.
    My sister-in-law sat down with my mother and wrote down her recipes. So, although the photo with the for criss-cross pattern looks exactly like my mother’s, the recipes are extremely different. The only ingredients in my mom’s cookies are butter, sugar, egg, flour, and corn starch. No salt (butter is salted), no vanilla, no almond flavoring.

    I look forward to your posts. Oh – I live on Redmond Ridge. I didn’t realize until just now that you are a Seattleite. Another think in common is I moved into a new townhouse just a month before you moved into your new place.

    If you ever want to come by and bake…how about some lompe, let me know 🙂

  8. I love stumbling across other Oslo / Norway blogs when I’m looking for something completely different! Great to find your blog and keep up the great writing 🙂

  9. Nice to meet you! I am a true Belgian & love all things scandinavian! I love the North & have been to Sweden, Norway & Finland! I love it all! Greetings from a foodie from Belgium! 🙂

  10. Hi Daytona,
    I live to the North in Petersburg, Alaska. I am a second generation American, with Norwegian and Swedish grandparents. I was just trying to adapt a recipe from the Norwegian National Recipes cookbook and I found your blog when I googled ‘fromage Norway.’ I love your recipes. Some are staples here in our little village. We have a 4 day Syttende Mai celebration. You should come and check it out. I did a couple of blog posts this year….
    http://runnstitch.blogspot.com/2014/05/norwegian-constitution-day-syttende-mai.html
    http://runnstitch.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-bunad.html
    http://runnstitch.blogspot.com/2014/05/friday-may-16-2014.html

    It’s great to meet you and follow your blog!
    Kathi

  11. Love your blog – discovered it when I was looking for a recipe for Rommegrat. Didn’t realize there were so many Scandinavians in the Seattle Area! I am a lifelong Minnesotan – and we always think we are the Scandinavian epicenter (outside of Scandinavia!!). If you ever make it to the Midwest, every summer Decorah, Iowa hosts NordicFest – an all-out celebration of all things Scandinavian (especially Norwegian!).

  12. Thank you for the delicious classic brownie recipe in the August 28th issue of the “Norwegian American Weekly.” It took a very long time to bake the brownies at 325 degrees and I wonder if that temperature was a misprint? Perhaps the recipe should call for a temperature of 350 degrees. Please advise me on that matter.
    Thank you.

  13. Daytona, My daughter found your blog and, like you, I am also a native to Seattle and 1st generation Norwegian-American on my mother’s side, and my father was 1/2 Norwegian, Half Danish/Swedish…and I grew up with a fantastic Norwegian baking/Christmas traditions galore! So fun to be reminded of these recipes. I have several Norwegian cookbooks and my mother’s Norwegian recipes including this Mor Monson, which was a year round favorite! I must make it…along with my peppernuts and krum kake and Jule Kake! God Jul and happy baking!

  14. Hello, my name is Leianne, I am looking for Sami recipes for our summer camp. our Sons of Norway lodges have created an amazing Norwegian Language, Arts and Culture camp, we lovingly call ” Trollhaugen” . There we teach children and adults. Some of our classes are Hardanger,Rosemaling, chip carving, dance, ethnic cooking Swedish weaving, Just a few of what we offer. Each year we choose a theme, this year is the sami people. I have been looking for basic recipes that the kids can do. I am looking for a salad and a cookie recipes. We will, if we have to, use a Norwegian recipe, but if there are any true Sami Recipes we would love to use them. We do try hard to keep things as authentic as possible. If you can help , guide me to them would be greatly appreciated.
    You can check out Trollhaugen camp at
    Trollhaugen.ca

  15. as a Norwegian myself grew up in Stavanger Norway glad to see this looking to get more recipes when I left there I was just 20 and didn’t care that much but as I get older I want to teach my grand kids all about food from Norway

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