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Tired out?  Brain fogged? Here’s what to eat when you’re feeling beat. Coffee and Danish are not the answer.  What the Danish people really eat for breakfast: Porridge made like their rye bread, thick and brown served up with butter or rich cream. At least that’s what my late husband’s Uncle Hans gave us for breakfast when we visited him. Of course, that’s was a few decades ago. I hope junk food has not replaced the healthy food we were served there. The theme for  every meal  we  ate in Denmark was much like a Paleo Diet meal–high in protein, low in carbs, but featuring dairy products from the milk of the brown cows we saw throughout the Jutland peninsula. Those cows’ bags were so full of milk that they had to wear bras.

A Paleo or caveman breakfast would contain a fruit, locally grown, of course, and for us northerners that would be an apple, a couple eggs if breakfasting in the spring when birds’ nests could be robbed, and meat. Grains before agriculture began would be scarce. A modernized Paleo breakfast, though, could contain a couple of eggs poached in tomato sauce, one slice of whole-grain toast buttered, or hash-brown potatoes, and herb tea or green tea.

A Danish lunch was typically smorrebrod. It’s an open-faced sandwich you eat with knife and fork.  When we visited cousins in Alborg, our hostess asked graciously, “Would you like to join  us for bread and butter?”

I thought that would be a very simple repast of bread with butter, just what they had on hand. But when she led us into the dining room, we found it covered with dishes offering stacks of the square slices of deep brown rye bread, butter, egg salad, potato salad, lettuce leaves, tomato slices, remoulade, mayonnaise, pickled herring, thin slices of roast beef, thin slices of ham, cheese, sweet pickles–a veritable smorgasbord of Danish foods.

Though my own Danish blood is very much diluted with French, Saxon, and Brit, learning a few words of the Danish language came easily, more like remembering. I wrote my thank you notes in Danish, very bad Danish probably.

A simpler Danish lunch would be meatball soup, perhaps with dumplings, and a salad of lettuce topped with grated carrot mixed with mayo and raisins.

Meatball Soup
4 servings
2 cans Campbell’s  consomme
2 cans water
½ to 1 package prepared meatballs

Into a 6-cup saucepan, pour the liquids and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs. Cook a few minutes to warm. Mix the dumplings if using. Bring the soup back to a boil.  Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough  on top of meatballs. Simmer 10 minutes uncovered and then cover tightly and simmer 10 more minutes:

Dumplings: Sift 2 cups barley flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. With pastry blender for clean fingers, cut in or work in 4 Tablespoons butter. With a fork, lightly mix in 1 cup milk.  Cook in soup as directed above.