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Jeanine Fritz

OSLO, Norway -- In a park near where I live in Oslo, there's a statue of a nekkid girl, hands cupping her stomach as if she's in pain.

I understood that feeling yesterday, since I'd just seen a sign advertising a cheese-injected sausage, wrapped in a tight coil of bacon, stuffed into a bun and doused in condiments.

Apparently the little statue girl just ate one of those things.

Lately I've been in charge of foodstuffs, and I'll tell you, working your way through an English shopping list in a Norwegian grocery store is enough to get any girl clutching her stomach.

All I wanted was some ground beef. But at the meat counter, there were a dozen packages of what looked like ground beef but said wildly different things on the labels.

I could tell some contained water and salt, but what I really needed to know was what else was jammed into the package. I just picked the one that was reddest and crossed my fingers.

This wasn't the first time a Norwegian grocery store bested me. At Christmas during a visit here, I got the smart idea to make chicken enchiladas. Again, I tried finding chicken based on looks since the word kylling on all the packages just seemed a misspelled word for how the animal made it into the package in the first place.

I then accidentally snatched parsley instead of cilantro and started searching for the enchilada sauce. Of which there was none.


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In an area of Oslo preoccupied with food -- there's a restaurant or grocery store every couple of meters (and an abnormal amount of places to get your hair cut; more on that in another column) -- I figured if I went up the hill to Ringnes Park and wandered into the big-girl grocery store, I'd find enchilada sauce.

What I found were three shelves about two feet wide stuffed with Old El Paso products.

The Norwegian enchiladas probably had chicken in them, but they were definitely covered in taco sauce and parsley.

Meat in Norway -- or "kjøtt" (pronounced "shot") -- isn't as secondary to seafood as I'd imagined. I figured it'd be fiske, fiske, fiske.

But at a family dinner not long ago, we were served four kinds of pork. This little piggy was roasted. This little piggy was wrapped in bacon and broiled. This little piggy was stuffed into a peppery sausage (with a crude name for an angel's anatomy, I might add.) And this last little piggy was steamed in such a way it resembled hot, salty pudding.

Only about a 16th of the plate was pickled herring with tomato and onion -- everywhere else, it was Ham-mer time.

As I trudged home with a backpack full of what I hoped were the right foods, I passed the little statue girl again and walked right up to her. She wasn't holding her stomach after all, but a bird.

Guess she felt like chicken that night.

Boulder expatriate Jeanine Fritz's weekly musings on life and poultry in Norway appear in the Colorado Daily every Friday.