As I mentioned in my last blog post, Spring is here with us and Summer is around the corner, meaning it is party time, parties and more parties. Last week, I attended one and went home hungry, I am a bit concerned, I am not sure whether I really want to attend another one. It all started at the beginning of this month, at the office reception there was a sign sheet, to sign against our names, those willing to attend on Friday, the 27th May.
“I haven´t seen your name on the sign sheet, come with me, you need to sign today before you forget, so no travelling for you on this weekend. It will be at the Odderøya park starting at 7.30pm,” said my colleague Oyvind.
Having attended Christmas parties at Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK in Kristiansand and in Oslo, I was so excited about this one. I left work early enough and went home to prepare myself for a great feast. Did I take lunch on this day? I am not sure or rather I can´t remember because I was quite hungry by 7pm as I headed for the party which was a few minutes walk from the apartment. At exactly 7.30pm, which was still very bright with sunshine and temperatures at 15 degrees, I made my way in into the venue and so were many of my colleagues where we were ushered in with a glass of wine or a soft drink.
This time round, the dress code was just casual smart hence only a few people were in suits. The ladies too had toned it down with several miniskirts as compared to the Christmas party where many were dressed really official.
After 10 to 15 minutes, the boss was ready to make opening remarks and welcomed us for the feast. The party was to be conducted in two different venues within the park. In the first venue, we served dinner and drinks and headed to the next venue for dessert. I am sitting in between two of my colleagues from the technical department, Oyvind and Sigtour and right in front of me, is a colleague from TV department. All these are Norwegians with great knowledge on Norwegian foods.
I am looking at the menu on the table and wondering, if there will be anything for me to eat on this night except for the bread, which seems to be the only thing I can peacefully manage. “This is a very special dinner, I am sure you will like it. Summer parties in Norway are mostly associated with sea foods, come on let’s go and serve.” Said Sigtour.
On the table, are serving plates full with all kinds of sea foods, bla skjell (blue muscles, they looked like snails), grav laks and roykelas (translated literally-burried salmond and smoked salmond fish) shrimps, prawns, crabs, king crabs, varieties of bread and a number of sauces.
“Very delicious meal, you will like it, enjoy your meal,” he said, then turned to concentrate on his plate. I am still watching as I realise I am not an expert in this. Having lived in Mombasa, which is famously known for sea food, I had never really given it a trial to experiment with sea foods apart from fish. There is really a great feast going on but for me, all I have done this far is just taken half , the slice of bread and the vegetable salad. If only I had known, then I should have eaten before I left the house!
Everyone seems to be working too hard and I am wondering, why are people using so much energy on already cooked food. Well, I thought it was a party, but now I actually need lessons on how to eat certain foods, mmmm!
“All these are cooked while alive. After catching them by the sea, you put them straight into boiling water and they die natural death. We love animals so much and normally, our concern is how they die, ironically we are still on the lead in whaling. That is a discussion for another day.” said another colleague.
I realise most people are already going for a second helping, while I am still staring. “I will show you how to eat shrimps, this is how you do it. You take a shrimp, cut off the head, the tail then spread it out and peel it off, it is very simple. During summer, we actually buy a half a kilo for each person, and we buy lots of beer and go for a boat trip. It is very interesting, especially with a big group. We are planning for a family trip and you are free to come with us in the summer we can eat lots of shrimps then,” said Sigtour.
This is basically a lot of work, the shrimps and the king crab. “It is a lot of fun, we love to peel them off and of course they are so delicious,” said Oyvind. I am trying but honestly, I lost my appetite long time ago especially after seeing the bla skjell which looked like a snail. Snails are some of my worst animals. I don´t like them at all, I had a great phobia for snails when I was young.
A few minutes later, it is time to go to the next room for dessert. Finally, I sigh a relief. Getting there, this is a beautiful place and a bit casual. There is cake, coffee, tea, varieties of wine and beer. Most people are indulging in whatever suits them best as we watch a few video clips. As usual after one, two, many, Norwegians become wild and of course now they can talk and make jokes.
Among the drinks is Karsk, which I am told it is famous for its recipe. “The recipe is very simple. Take a cup of coffee, put in a coin, add coffee until you can´t see then coin, then add liquor until you can see the coin again and you are sure it is good to go,” joked my boss Sigbjorn. “Nei takk, I am not ready to experiment, not tonight.” I reply.
While we are still laughing and discussing the Karsk recipe, Oyvind makes a great observation. “I always have a problem with
journalists, year in year out, something bores me greatly. Look around, finally they have regrouped themselves in small chat groups and guess what they are talking about, nothing but work. Journalists and work, this party was done miles away from the office, but still they carry their work to parties, journalists can be boring at times, look at you, you have been writing on your notebook since we stepped here,” ha ha ha ha, he said with a sneer on his face as he went to get himself another beer. Then finally, the dance floor was declared open and dancing we did.
That was NRK´s summer party, that I did attend and went back home hungry!!