Such is the Norwegians Christmas menu on Christmas Eve

Pork ribs still most popular at ChristmasPork ribs still most popular at Christmas.Photo: Gorm Kallestad

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Christmas is strongly influenced by traditions, which is also reflected in the Christmas menu in Norwegian homes. Nearly half of Norwegians eat pork ribs on Christmas Eve.

According to a recent survey done by YouGov on behalf of Matprat – the communication concept for the Information Office for eggs and meat.

In the survey, 47 percent said they ate svineribbe (pork ribs) as a main course on Christmas Eve last year. 38 per cent replied black pinnekjøtt (stick meat), while 7 per cent black kalkun (turkey). 3 percent ate vegetarian food as a main course, while the same number also applies to lutefish and torsk (codfish).

Riskrem (rice cream) is still the Norwegians big dessert favorite this Christmas, and 37 per cent say they have riskrem as Christmas dessert. Then comes multekrem (cloudberries with whipped cream and sugar) and karamellpudding (caramel pudding), with 17 and 10 percent respectively.

Big geographical differences
Pinnekjøtt dominates traditionally in Western Norway, while svineribbe are a major favorite in the rest of the country, especially in Eastern Norway. In the Matprat survey, 74 per cent of Westerners responded that they ate pinnekjøtt on Christmas Eve last year, compared to only 21 per cent who answered svineribbe. In comparison, 65 percent of Easterners responded that they ate svineribbe, while 20 percent had pinnekjøtt on the menu.

Although the Christmas menu is tied to where in the country you live, this has changed somewhat over the last 30-40 years.

– The Christmas menu has evolved a little across the geographical divisions. In the 1980s, pinnekjøtt was almost impossible to farm in Eastern Norway, while many Easterners now have this as their regular Christmas dinner, says food researcher Annechen Bahr Bugge at the Oslo Met to NTB.

There are many possible reasons for such geographical changes in the Christmas menu, according to Bugge.

– One thing is migration patterns, another is increased prosperity and an increasing interest in Norwegian traditional food beyond the 2000s, says the food researcher.

High expectations for Christmas Eve meal
The Christmas month is strongly influenced by food. According to Virke, groceries will be traded for NOK 25 billion this month, an increase of 2 per cent from last year.

On average, every Norwegian will shop for food and beverages for NOK 4,690 this Christmas.

– There are very high expectations for the Christmas Eve meal itself. That is why we see that young people often fail to cook, and it is often good adult women who are the typical Christmas manager. That’s because the Christmas Eve meal is such a huge responsibility, there’s no room to fail, Bugge explains.

– That is why NRK every year goes into great detail on how to succeed with the Christmas food. It has even been a “ribbetelefon” in the past, like a kind of emergency phone, she laughs.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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