Iceland

Poets, housewives, and vegetable stew.

Food: Vegetable and Oat Stew

I used this recipe for the stew. While I normally try to get a recipe from someone who is actually from the country, it was a little difficult to find a vegetarian recipe this time. Not really surprising, considering it’s an island with a lot of fish and sheep. I did consider making pancakes (I’m pretty sure I could do pancakes for every single country), but decided to try this instead. It was pretty good, albeit a little bland. Again, not that surprising since I don’t really think of lots of seasoning when it comes to Europe! I swapped the cauliflower for broccoli and the leeks for green onions, and had to skip the mushrooms and kale.

Book: Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Hekla, the main character, is a poet in 1960s Iceland. She moves to Reykjavík and gets a job as a waitress. On the bus to the city the man sitting next to her says she should go for Miss Iceland. She says she doesn’t want to but he gives her his card anyway. The hotel she works at happens to be where the man and his friends frequent so he always stops her to try and convince her even though she still doesn’t want to. She definitely doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to, regardless of what others say and societal norms. She lives with her gay friend, and spends most of her time writing. The set up of the book was interesting in that it didn’t have chapters. There were two parts, and each part just had sections with different titles (rather like how I do this blog).

Movie: The School of Housewives

The School of Housewives - Womarts
Photo copyright: womarts.net

I chose this because I saw it on the BBC Longshots page and thought it probably would fit in with the theme of the novel. This is a short documentary about a real school in Reykjavík which is still open today. Although at the beginning of its history it was primarily for women to learn how to become good housewives, now it’s more for anyone to learn basic skills like cooking, cleaning, sewing, etc. I actually thought it was a good idea- maybe everyone should take a year and learn how to do these things! I also liked how they included clips and photos from other periods, not just while they were filming the documentary.

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