I did not make these.

Welp, friends, it’s Fastelavn in Denmark (just google it, okay?), and I figured that since we’ve been here for three years I’d try making the fabled fastelavns boller (a sweet bun) that drive the normally peaceloving Danish children to make violent demands of their elders and beat us with sticks.

In true Danish fashion, they sing a happy little song that is full of darkness: “Fastelavn er mit navn, boller vil jeg have, hvis jeg ingen boller få, så laver jeg ballade.” That’s right. You read that right.

“But what does it MEAN?” you ask. …


Friends, when you leave your home to live on foreign soils, you must anticipate a fair number of strange food encounters. Some of them will be highly disappointing, especially if you live in Denmark. Soon you learn that expectations are everything.

Take Tortilla Flats, a Mexican restaurant located in Vejle, a city not far from us. The first time I dined there, I left in anger over their mishandling of the cilantro plant and its various components (seeds vs. leaves). The second time I dined there, I had adjusted my goals for the evening away from having a satisfying Mexican…


Yesterday on my way to pick up my children from their quintessentially Danish forest kindergarten, where they spend their days frolicking in the woods and playing nonchalantly near fire, I found myself without lunch in my gullet. Having been out shopping after a rehearsal that morning, I was in Vejle, an actual city — a small city, but a city nonetheless — and I saw an American fast food restaurant along the road. Normally I don’t eat at these places because of imagined echoes of imprisoned, tortured animals that start ringing through my mind at the sight of one. But…


(an online petition)

goal: 1200 signatures

Almost every morning, my younger son screams at me to get him some toast. Sometimes by “toast” he just means “bread with butter.” But whatever form it takes, Finn’s toast is ruining our lives.

Sometimes the bread with butter falls apart after Finn has walked around with it for a minute. Then he becomes so filled with rage that he begins screaming “my toast is breaking!” at full volume, for anywhere from five minutes to an hour. Sometimes he may alternate between “My toast is breaking,” and “Fix it.”

I, his mother, have told…


Part 2: False Cognates I Have Loved

(In case you missed it, you can find Part 1: Faking It Grocery Style here.)

The bright lining of my very dark and humbling “I suck at Danish” cloud is that I have the pleasure of continuing to be amused by the sometimes strange and unfortunate false cognates that exist between Danish and English. So, while I am attempting (and presently failing) to become Danish literate, I still get to see things that I cannot unsee. Like, before I really knew Spanish, I’d see the word “yo,” and think “Yo! (greeting).” Now I just think, “Ah, the first person singular…


Part 1: Faking It, Grocery Style

This is how I feel.

Here we are, nine months into traipsing our way through Denmark, and I can speak pretty much NO DANISH whatsoever. I still can’t even understand the woman in the checkout line at the grocery. This is a transaction I do probably two or three times per week, and the script doesn’t really alter much from visit to visit. Every time, I think okay, after the groceries are scanned, the cashier is going to tell me a price — so listen for a NUMBER — listen!! — and then she will ask me if I’d like a receipt: a “kvittering”(cute!). (I…


Readers, let me educate you about breasts.

Prepare to be squirted in the face, little baby.

Anyone who has ever nursed a baby knows that feeling of what is termed “let down,” which is not the same “let down” as when you show up at a Mexican restaurant in Europe and are disappointed to be served marinara sauce instead of salsa with your chips. A let down, in breastfeeding terms, is when the milk speeds forward from all regions of the breast, nether and otherwise, to the nipple, where it will then squirt out, sometimes on its own, given enough encouragement and/or back pressure. …


There is a little LEGO man in our playroom who sends my heart aflutter whenever I encounter him. He is ruggedly handsome, clad in denim overalls, with a knowing, somewhat come-hither, half smile on his face. I am pretty sure he is flirting with me but I try to play it casual when we meet, not giving him too much encouragement, because why even go there? I am married and he is a tiny plastic toy. Nothing in this scenario could ever result in any good outcomes:

Dreamy.

There is another LEGO man whom I also kind of have a crush…


This note was for my own therapy; it began with a kalamata under the arrow, followed by some shredded carrots, and finally, as you see, ended with the curly parsley. (I did not leave it for the staff — it was for ME and for me only, as I’m not quite ready to stop being so polite.)

Sigh.

It’s fine. It’s fine.

I wasn’t angry this time, when I left the restaurant. Which is perhaps the best I could have hoped for. The first time I ate at Tortilla Flats, I left in a huff of indignation, swimming in a sea of ruminations about the importance of at LEAST understanding the proper flavor profile of the ethnic cuisine one purports to be cooking. When you walk into a restaurant so lush with fancy lamps and phallic soap holders in the bathrooms, and the faint sound of the theme from “Cops” being sung by the karaoke party on…


Friends, let me share a little story with you.

When I was maybe ten years old, my mom fried up some fish in the kitchen. I had never been a big fan, but on that evening, I found the odor of frying fish to be particularly disgusting. So I went upstairs to my bedroom and stuffed towels under the door in an effort to prevent further penetration of the fish smell into my room. I opened both windows as far as I could and propped a box fan in one of them to draw outside air in. In this way…

Kara Lochridge

Monkeys throwing things.

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