Fun little memory, as a young kid my Dad had a good friend from Holland, and he even went on a vacation with my Mom to Holland to visit him. Fast forward a few years and I got very confused trying to figure out just where Holland was because it was not on the map, and somehow in my mind I put Holland as both Denmark and Netherlands and maybe both of those were the same country. History lessons didn’t help this problem because the maps were not particularly helpful. I can now definitively say Denmark is not part of Holland. That’s what our geography lessons have done for me. Help me figure out these countries I keep hearing referred to.
Random links I found for Denmark
All right, this was one of those recipes I started and apparently didn’t save my recipe. So this is my best guess as to what recipe I based this on.
The national dish of Denmark is Frikadaller, or Danish meatball.
HA! Once I called it Danish meatballs, I had a vague memory of writing about Danish meatballs before. I’ve now copied it over into this post.
Once upon a time, there was a show on Netflix called Worst Chefs in America, they took 10 or so bad cooks and turned them into amazing cooks. In one particular episode they cooked meatballs around the world (perfect for our cooking around the world and geography lessons), which got me thinking, and I looked up some meatballs and found a Danish meatballs recipe to try. This recipe is also where I learned you cannot use a blender when it says food processor (keep reading and you’ll see why).
DANISH MEATBALLS RECIPE
vaguely based on this recipe (because let’s face it, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life)
- about 2 pounds of ground beef (first change I made)
- large onion grated (I think we used large amounts of onion powder, now that I have a food processor I’d probably actually grate the onion)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (this would be where it starts being original)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (I used the pre-minced about a tablespoon or so)
- 1-2 teaspoons of sage
- 1/2 cup milk
MAKE YOUR DANISH MEATBALLS
So, in one of the sets of instructions I printed off they said to add all the ingredients into your food processor and blend it together. Well I had a blender, and I did that, but a little bit in and we were smelling burning rubber.
Then my blender stopped working.
So, we switched over to mix it by hand with a potato masher (because we’d kind of burned out the hand mixer [this is the one I bought after Batman burned out the one I got making bread, yes I am talking about three different hand mixers, I don’t like this one for what we’re doing, but it’s got good reviews], so I bought a potato masher), which the kids thought was quite funny.
Once you’ve got it all mixed together, heat your pan and melt some butter in it. Drop roughly ball-shaped blobs on the pan and cook them rolling them around occasionally to cook all the sides.
I since have been given a food processor for my birthday, and it’s super awesome!
In case you’re wondering I have over the course of my marriage gone through 5 blenders. One a family member broke, one fell off the top of the refrigerator and nearly killed me, one we destroyed with this, another I think died after making baby food, and another I can’t remember what I did to it. For obvious reasons, I don’t spend too much on them. Maybe they’d survive longer if I did….
MAKE YOUR GRAVY TO GO OVER THE DANISH MEATBALLS
- drippings from cooking the meatballs
- a little bit of butter
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 1 cup of heavy cream or milk (if you don’t have cream, it’s a 50/50 odds we have it on any given day)
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillion (which I keep on hand for making French onion soup mix)
- salt and pepper
Mix the flour in with the drippings from cooking the meatballs, and melt a little butter if you need to. Slowly add in the milk/cream and the beef bouillon. Let this mixture thicken a little.
We had our meatballs with mashed potatoes, that part may not be how the Danish eat theirs, but it was a big hit with my family. I should actually make them again soon.
It was also part of my attempts to cook as many international meatball recipes as I could find.
We made Danish meatballs a second time as part of our multi-country recipe meal. I believe the side dish might have been from the Vatican, maybe?
Either way, it’s a great recipe, but our family isn’t a big fan of cream gravy, so I had mixed feelings.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion grated or minced
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4-1/2 cup cream
- Combine beef, breadcrumbs, flour, eggs, spices, and garlic.
- Slowly add in the cream, it will be slightly sticky
- Heat butter in skillet, while butter is heating make meatballs about the same size as a golf ball.
- Fry the meatballs in the pan over medium heat, as it cooks press down gently with a fork so it resembles a small hamburger patty.
- After 3-5 minutes flip it over and brown the other side.
- After the meatballs have all been cooked, add the flour to the drippings to form the gravy and slowly add the cream until it reaches gravy consistency.
I loved the books from our Denmark unit. There are some amazing books about World War 2, and it’s inspired me to start putting together a book list of Resistance books. There are so many fascinating books in that direction.
- The Yellow Star: the Legend of King Christian X of Denmark– there is some disagreement as to the historicity of this event, but I WANT it to be true, and I LOVE this book in so many ways
- The Whispering Town– Another great story of people resisting and smuggling Jews away
- Cry, Heart, but, Never Break– Even just looking at the cover and my eyes are tearing up. It’s amazing, super amazing talking about dealing with grief. It pretty much has nothing to do with Denmark except the author is Danish. But read this, books like this are why I push back when someone says picture books are only for young children and we should hurry them on to chapter books and books without pictures
- Energy Island– an interesting story of how the island of Samso moved to green energy
- School Days Around the World– I love this book series, it follows several kids and shows what an elementary students’ school day is like
- Fat Cat: a Danish Folktale– my kids love to make fun of folktales like this, they tease me so incredibly much about this, but it’s another variation on the hungry creature who eats everything until something causes him to throw up all over
- Sister Bear: a Norse Tale– If you can find a Jane Yolen book and read it, you always should, and this take on a Danish fairy tale is lyrical. It’s a Christmas story, BUT I don’t think I’d use it for a Christmas Around the World lesson since I don’t know if it’s part of their Christmas traditions
- LEGO factastic– We couldn’t visit Denmark without mentioning LEGOs. I only wish I could have come up with a good activity beyond, “Let’s build LEGOs.”
- William Shakespeare’s Hamlet– Bruce Coville is a genius, and so is his adaptation. With that, I give you:
The audio isn’t great because it’s an old version of their reduced version, and it’s not exactly… child friendly.
- Niels Bohr: physicist and humanitarian– we did not read this entire book because it’s 100 pages, I actually used a video to teach more about him
- Darkness over Denmark: the Danish resistance and the rescue of the Jews– another we didn’t use, but I checked out as an extra resource
- Denmark– As per always, I use these as extra information as I need them
Denmark notebooking pages
As you can see I found a lot of amazing books on Denmark, but you’ll notice they mostly followed the same theme of Denmark in World War 2
- Fat _____- Inspired by the Fat Cat book I had each of the kids write their own super short version of the story, I wrote a Fat Mouse story
- Whisper Encouragement- based off of the Whispering Town and how the town whispered encouragement to the Jews as they found their way to the harbor at night
- These last three are all missing on my pictures, and I’m not sure why
- Danish Bear- in the story of Sister Bear she had a sweater made for her, and I loved that idea, so they all designed a sweater for their bear
- Surface Tension and Niels Bohr- I’ll link the video down here, but we repeated the surface tension experiment we’d done before
- Hans Christian Anderson- I find his stories somewhat depressing, with the possible exception of the Princess and the Pea and the Ugly Duckling, but I challenged the kids to write their own versions again
This is not the same video I found earlier, but I can’t find that one now.
As you can see, this back page is missing quite a lot.
And that’s our Denmark unit.