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9.08.2014

YOU MIGHT BE SCANDINAVIAN IF YOUR FOOD MATCHES YOUR SKIN


I live in a very Scandinavian community - Swedes and Finnes mostly. Since most of us don't know world geography well, there are 5 countries (give or take one in debate) that comprise Scandinavia. They are; Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Norway, Sweden and Denmark share similar languages. The Finnish language is likewise similar to them. Whereas the Icelandic language is what the Vikings used to speak.  A pop quiz will be given later.  

 
It would seem post World War II, at the height of the manufacturing boom across parts of America, Scandinavians flocked to this community for their highly sought after trade skills. Though it seems an odd sort of place to emigrate to, I'm told it was a very progressive area and gave many the chance to earn significantly more money than they could have in Scandinavia. Those big shifts in ethnic moves from across the world created a very marked Scandinavian community here.
 
We have a Swedish-American health system, a Swedish-American hospital, several Swedish-American retirement homes, just to name a few. There is a look here - a distinct dividing line of all those Scandinavian and the rest of us who are not from that specific region of the world.
 
I love cemeteries. They are tranquil places to me that tell a story. Not far from my house is a very large cemetery -Scandinavia Cemetery. I walk in it quite regularly. Its big trees, plant life and great care of the resting place of the deceased strike a chord of harmony and peace for me. I escape real life there, but only temporarily unlike its inhabitants!  The Scandinavia touch is not only apparent by the name of the cemetery (though it was not originally named that or owned by Scandinavians), but clearly evident if you take a walk through the cemetery by many of the last names adorning the headstones.
 
We are all something. Our people group is not the defining thing about us, but more a directional marker of certain things about us. Those things are sometimes physical characteristics, names, skin color or tones, body builds, belief systems and even places we migrate to live. Communities take certain characteristics of those groups on as well - as evidenced here with the Scandinavians. Or similarly like where I grew up - in the heart of the Amish and Mennonites.

The Scandinavia region gives host to a definitive look. Here, though not geographically close to that originating region, you can clearly see the pale, translucent smooth skinned Scandinavian gene pool! It could be that skin is a result of the hundreds of years of living where it's cold and without sun for large parts of the year! They tend to have lean bodies, beautiful unwrinkled skin, and a certain bone structure to their faces. The aging men all seem to have white well manicured beards. They appear highly creative, structured, hard working and intellectual.  In saying that I sound like I have them locked  in a laboratory observing and documenting their behaviors for research.  No Scandinavians are being held against their will!  I am though a people scientist and find it very interesting as an outsider here.
 
I was also totally unfamiliar with what those from Scandinavia ate until moving here. Absolut Vodka is made in Sweden. I thanked them for my glass over the weekend. Yet another reason I have come to love the Scandinavians and their contribution to the world! 

A lot of their traditional food is white or pale colored; potatoes, turnips, cabbage, pancakes, pickled fish, bread, dumplings, pastries, milk. Though I like all those things, I prefer vivid colors of vegetables and have a lactose intolerance.  Probably would let my fellow Scandies down (if I were one) with my preference for food.  I am presently seeking a whole people group to align myself with that does not allow the consumption of raisins as part of their ethnic fare.
 
There are several Scandinavian restaurants here as well if you have a hankering for mostly pale colored foods and pickled odds and ends. I haven't had that hankering yet! I'm checking YELP's review of them right now.
 

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