Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Foray Into Baking in Iceland and a Potluck

Last night was our very successful potluck with all ten residents as well as several local residents who sit on the board of the NES Artist's Residency, including the mayor of 26 years (and star of Porrablot's show), the director, Hrafnhildur, and several Swedes visiting to learn about establishing a program such as this one. Due to critical acclaim in the states, I thought I'd try my chocolate chip cookies out abroad to see how they were received by an international audience. Jeehee had informed me that we already had in the house several key baking ingredients such as flour and sugar, however, other important components such as baking soda were missing. Fortunately, eggs look and are packaged almost the same no matter where you are. I identified butter long ago. And locating chocolate chips is a pretty intuitive thing in a grocery store. Baking soda, on the other hand proved to be quite the culprit. I sat for some time yesterday morning going back and forth between the kitchen and my computer Google'ing items I had found in my cabinet to see if any of them came up as baking soda, but to no avail. Some of the women in the grocery don't speak English well and they already look at all of us like we have a third eyeball in the middle of our heads, so I wasn't really enthusiastic about trying to explain that I needed baking soda. The baking powder they carry in the supermarket is from England, so its clearly labeled, but of course the one I need is not. The internet proved to be totally unhelpful so I decided in advance my tactic for describing baking soda... I would take the box of baking powder to the counter and say... I need the other one....I arrived at the grocery store having forgotten my list, but fortunately the ingredients needed for cookies are few, so I retrieved all necessary items, save baking soda, and braced for my exchange with the woman at the counter. I hadn't seen her before, but she quickly started speaking to me in English and happily lead me to baking soda. Part I of my challenge was complete. Next I had to make the conversion of all of my measurements from cups to deciliters and grams and from Fahrenheit to Celsius but thanks to my iphone this didn't prove to be quite as tricky as I'd thought it would be, though 2.36 deciliters to a cup is a hard measurement to make when scooping flour... It took about ten minutes to figure out how to use the oven (just as it took about 15 minutes to figure out how to use the stove which has an invisible touchscreen on the surface?) but then I got it preheated and made what tasted like a successful batch of cookie dough. Four batches in the oven, and 80 cookies later I was already for the potluck where my cookies were so well received that one of the Swedes insisted that I email her the recipe....

1 comment:

  1. I came upon this blog entry while searching the internet for the same problem you describe above. What is the name of baking soda in Icelandic?
    My best guess is Matarsodi, but when I showed the container to the grocery store clerk he didn't know the translation to English. Thank you!