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Thread: The New Nordic Food Movement

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    The New Nordic Food Movement

    Contrary to what IKEA would have us believe, Scandinavian cuisine is so much more than meatballs and strawberry jam.

    It’s also having a major moment thanks to a little behemoth movement called the New Nordic.

    Never heard of it? Well, you might have heard of the award-winning restaurant, Noma.

    In 2003, Noma-head chefs Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer led the makings of the movement with their book, a manifesto dedicated to improving food culture in Nordic countries through making use of ingredients from the local region.

    Within two years of being released, the book saw governments and businesses taking leadership in their approach to changing food habits across Scandinavia with the ultimate goal of eating more sustainably.

    It saw a new wave of restaurants pop up where the focus was on seasonality (veggies weren’t simply an afterthought, either) and change was present right down through to the school cafeteria.

    New SBS foodie series, “Destination Flavour” explores the vast effect of the New Nordic Movement, as host Adam Liaw spends two months eating his way through Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

    “Eating organic is huge over there but it’s not out of snobbery, it’s completely affordable. In Malung, Sweden, they are trying to make 100 percent of the food that children eat in schools organic by 2020,” Adam Liaw told The Huffington Post Australia.

    Something they believe is fully achievable -- and just another example of how they are changing behaviours through food advocacy (evidently, it’s not that hard).

    Here, HuffPost Australia asks Adam Liaw to sum up the top three things we can take from the New Nordic Movement.

    The movement itself isn’t preachy

    “You never actually here Claus Meyer say ‘this is bad’ -- whether it’s gluten, sugar or meat. In Australia, sadly it always starts with that. In this model of food advocacy however, it’s ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could do this as well,’” Liaw said.

    While you can’t lump all of the Nordic countries together, Liaw said there’s not really as much backlash to eating organic as there is in Australia. “Organic food in Australia is much more expensive, so there is a skepticism around it and it almost becomes like this class struggle based around food -- that doesn’t happen in Scandinavia,” Liaw said.

    It’s all about what’s in season

    “The Nordic way of thinking looks at what they produce locally, and what they can do with it -- whether it’s carrots, artichokes or brown crabs -- and they aren’t afraid to see a potato as the hero of their dish!”

    Vegetables are celebrated

    “It’s not so much about being vegetarian -- I hardly met any vegetarians over there -- but a lot of the meals were vegetable and seafood driven. There was less of focus on meat -- of course it was still there -- but the cuisine was very vegetable focused.

    “Really, veggies should be the main aspect of our diet health wise, sustainability wise and flavour wise,” Liaw said.

    The New Nordic Food manifesto has an innovative approach to traditional foods combined with a strong focus on health and an ethical production philosophy.

    The Nordic cuisine should create and inspire the joy of food, taste and variety, nationally and internationally, according to the initial vision:

    ”As Nordic chefs we find that the time has now come for us to create a New Nordic Kitchen, which in virtue of its good taste and special character compares favorable with the standard of the greatest kitchens of the world”, the Manifesto states.

    The aims of the New Nordic Kitchen are:
    • To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics we wish to associate to our region.
    • To reflect the changes of the seasons in the meal we make.
    • To base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly in our climates, lanscapes and waters.
    • To combine the demand for good taste with modrn knowledge of health and well-being.
    • To promote Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers - and to spread the word about their underlying cultures.
    • To promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild.
    • To develop potentially new applications of traditional Nordic food products.
    • To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad.
    • To combine local self-suffiency with regional sharing of high-quality products.
    • To join forces with consumer representatives, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, fishing, food, retail and wholesales industries, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this project for the benefit and advantage of everyone in the Nordic countries.

    Nordic Children's Kitchen Manifesto

    In 2013 New Nordic Food also launched the Nordic Children's Kitchen Manifesto, stating that ”Every Nordic child has the right to learn how to cook good healthy food”. The Nordic Children’s Kitchen Manifesto is based on the new Nordic kitchen Manifesto and is an initiative of the project”Children and Food in the Nordic Region” (New Nordic Food II).

    • Children’s food is nutritious and tasty
    • Children’s food is prepared from pure, local ingredients according to season and tradition
    • Children’s food is ethical and fair
    • Children’s meals are regular
    • Children’s meals have variety
    • Children’s meals activate all the senses
    • Children are surrounded by examples of good food and meals
    • Children are involved in the meal preparation – children can!
    • Children learn different skills and obtain knowledge through shared meals
    • Children have the right to their own tastes and positive experiences with the Nordic food treasures

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