Like the Scots and the Irish, Scandinavians became dependent upon the potato as a major food source in the 18th century.
In Norway, the tuber (native to America) was introduced in the 1760s by Potato Pastors -- clergymen who hoped that the "ubiquitous" potato would end hunger permanently in Norway.
It seemed like a good idea at the time: the population doubled. Then, in 1847, the same potato blight that decimated Ireland hit Scandinavia prompting a mass migration to America and its... unaffected potato fields.
The potato is still so beloved by Norwegians that they have a saying about a multi-talented individual: Er litt som poteten; kan brukes til det meste ("He is like a potato -- good at everything."). Here are four Scandinavian ways to enjoy this most versatile of root vegetables.
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Named after the Stockholm restaurant that first introduced them, Hasselback potatoes have been adopted widely by other European cuisines. Known as “accordion potatoes” in Ireland’s version of the dish.
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Swedish hash, pytt i panna, is a great way to use up leftover potatoes and meats. For best results, try to dice the potatoes, onion, and leftover meat into uniform 1/4-inch pieces. The potatoes should be drained of any water and patted dry before cooking.
03 of 03Perhaps no food is more beloved by Norwegians than potato lefse. Prepared on special lefse griddles and turned with a long lefse stick, this paper-thin potato bread is best served warm with butter and sugar.