Tuesday, February 11, 2003

When A Danish Isn't Really Danish

Apparently my post linking Denmark with the breakfast pastry that we here in the States like to call a Danish has caught the attention of a defender of the proud Dane culture as evidenced by this e-mail:

Just to let you know that you are verging on a mortal insult, and possible invasion by the Danish cultural paratroups, by associating the american brekfast pastry known as "a Danish" with Danish pastry.

Danes around the world howl in anguish at this mistake, and shudder at the calumny. Associating lovely danish pastries, properly sugared, tasty, light, flakey, with that inedible lump of stale concrete with a quasi jam smothered in sweet glaze, that is served in the Americas.

Even Swedes and Norwegians wince in sympathy for Danes when they see "a Danish" in the America's. And getting a Swede to wince about something bad happening to Danes is a major deal, I'll have you know. Rotters.

Sir, please take it back. You know not the ire you may raise.


Hrolfr Gertsen-Briand (1/2 dane)

p.s. It's like "english muffins" a bread no english person ever saw before arriving in the new world.

English muffins aren't English? Next thing you'll be telling me that french fries aren't really French! Okay enough of the poor food jokes. In order to avoid attracting the attention of a gaggle of EU regulators piqued off by my cultural insensitivity I hereby apologize for insulting the great nation of Denmark by associating it with the American breakfast danish. But part of the problem lies with the Danes themselves as one of my compatriots put it:

"The word "danish" has been entirely appropriated by our corporate culture, so much that when people hear that word in reference to pastry, they don't think of Denmark at all. (In that respect, it's like Kleenex or Xerox).

In fact, the direction of recognition has switched completely. That is, when people in the US hear anything relating to Denmark referred to as "Danish" we immediately think of the pastry - and that's all we think about.

Sorry Denmark, but your entire national heritage has been reduced to the status of a doughnut. And for this you have no one but yourselves to blame. I mean if you'd accomplished anything in the last 100 years, we would have noticed."

Perhaps his comments are a bit harsh but from what we hear in America about Denmark it's hard to think differently. In order to provide enlightenment on Denmark and all things Danish (excepting breakfast pastries) we are enlisting a Danish correspondent to provide periodic updates to our site. He already has offered a unique observation on a habit that his countrymen share with Minnesotans:

Denmark is very similar to Minnesota in a number of ways (other than the standard a-bunch-of-Scandinavians-live-there angle). For example, both places have a perverse need to exaggerate the fame of anyone who spent more than a year in residence there (there's a fine example of a dual claim from both places in that whiny lefty, Garrison Keillor).

If you're interested we'd love to ship him back. How much is a one way ticket to Copenhagen?

Watch for future posts from our man in Denmark, Jim (I was hoping for something like Skol or at least Hans but I guess you take what you get).

One final item. I've received a couple of other e-mails on Dr. Harvey speculating that he isn't Dutch but rather English or possibly Canadian. I had assumed that English was not his native tongue based on some of the spelling errors in his e-mails but further research confirms that he does appear to be a Brit (and that he studied at Wisconsin for a time;another strike). Have you heard the one about the English muffin?

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