Greenland food isn’t about fine-dining, it is about living off the land. However, Anne Nivíka Grødem is leading a Greeland food revolution
Greenland food is changing rapidly.
In the past, eating has been a major part of survival in this hard a barren climate. Something you endured as opposed to enjoyed. However, all of that is changing. Greenland food as a new face.
Greenland food – what does it mean to you?
“Everyone here in Greenland knows how to make a reindeer stew. I wanted to show that you can eat vegetables in Greenland… even if it’s frozen and it doesn’t have to be boring,” says Grødem.
She has partnered with Brugseni, a local supermarket chain, to develop a brand of frozen vegetables in order to get people cooking with more varied ingredients.
She is adamant that there is a balance between health and taste, history and the future.
“Sometimes [Greenlanders are] just so stuck in our traditions that we’re not going anywhere.”
Traditional Greenland food
Anne Nivíka learned to hunt and fish at a very young age, going out with her father and she even showed us a picture of her at age 8, with her first hunted grouse. And while using local meat is a staple of the diet in Greenland, the food blogger and mother now sees opportunity to bridge the gap between intrenched traditions and modern cuisine.
“I think [we] have to be humble with the traditions when it comes to food because it’s such a big part of our history and our culture and our traditions… [I] have to take small steps.”
“There are some Greenlandic people who might think that [what I’m doing] is too modern or that’s not the way to cook.”
Her goal is to create an accessible, healthy food community in Nuuk (and beyond) and it got me thinking; how does this exist in our culture?
We, in Canada and most of the Western world, have the luxury of finding any ingredient we need at the grocery store, no matter the time of year. We have access to very fresh vegetables and fruits wherever we look. This makes finding a recipe online and making it somewhat simple
More often than not, we’re not even cooking: rather buying prepared foods that are quick, easy and lack nutrients. It also means we can buy single serving meals, eat them alone and toss out the evidence.
A different way to look at food
I’m currently finishing up a 30 day “program” called the Whole30, which has really changed the way I look at food.
It’s forced me to cook every meal, most of the time from scratch and ideally, use seasonal ingredients to do so. While this has been trying at times (all I want is a doughnut), and a time, money and energy commitment, it has also been incredibly rewarding.
I’ve developed a loving relationship with food and a ritual of preparing and cooking food that is good for me.
What Anne Nivíka is doing is making it easier for Greenlanders to be a part of a community that care about what they’re putting in their body.
Greenland food recipes that go up on the blog are based on what Anne Nivíka has seen at the super market that week, sometimes even highlighting what’s on sale.
There is a strong sense of community in Greenland, with gatherings like the Kaffemik, bringing people together. The kaffemik is a strong tradition; a celebration where neighbours open their doors to welcome whomever appears with coffee, treats and conversation.
Now, Anne Nivíka is bringing together the Greenland food culture and a “modern way of looking at food and health.”
She is working with the government to create a healthy food festival for kids and plans on creating a community space where families can come together to cook; to try new recipes and then eat together.
While she is slowly doing so with her recipes (things like Red Fish from the Fjord, fried leeks, edamame, mushrooms, potatoes with basil hollandaise and date balsamico – YUM), Anne Nivíka is quickly becoming and important figure for the modern population of Greenland.