Finland’s Emojis Summer Style

Finland is the first country in the world to publish its own set of country themed emojis. We have shared a few of those before but more have been added and today we are sharing emojis that are all about summer – both in Finland and here.

FASHIONISTA FINNS — The feeling of “smart casual”

It doesn’t get much more Finnish than this. For us, smart casual means being smart in terms of not getting your feet cold. Sandals make it a casual combo!

PESÄPALLO — The feeling of love and hate

You either love or hate it, the Finnish baseball. At schools, kids were divided into two teams by the captains, usually the best players. Those who were chosen first, love our national sport, those who were chosen last, hate it. In the end, the finesse of the game conquers the hate and we play pesäpallo all summer long in backyards, school grounds and with work teams and friends. One thing we all love about the game: we are the World Champions in one sport every single year. Continue reading

Celebrating Sigrid Undset: Norwegian Writer

Sigrid Undset was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928 for which she was nominated by Helga Eng, member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. She was born on May 20, 1882 in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. She grew up in the Norwegian capital, Oslo (or Kristiania, as it was known until 1925). She fled Norway for the United States in 1940 because of her opposition to Nazi Germany and the German invasion and occupation of Norway, but returned after World War II ended in 1945. She died on June 10, 1949.

Her best-known work is Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy about life in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, portrayed through the experiences of a woman from birth until death. Its three volumes were published between 1920 and 1922. The title was Fru Marta Oulie, and the opening sentence (the words of the book’s main character) scandalized readers: “I have been unfaithful to my husband.”

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A Bit of Nordic Ice Tea

Iced tea is probably an American creation; the first recipe for the drink as we know it appeared in the cookbook Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree and published in 1879. The proportions of sugar to tea and lemon put Ms. Tyree’s creation squarely in the category of what we now call Southern sweet tea. The 1904 World’s Fair, the one that also brought us the ice cream cone, was where unsweetened black tea over ice was introduced to Americans from across the nation. As ice boxes became more readily available, the popularity of iced tea increased. Now, we have the American holiday of National Iced Tea Day. In honor of this very good idea, tomorrow, June 10, Ingebretsen’s will be serving samples of iced tea with a Scandinavian twist – tea brewed from black Sӧderblandning tea.

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Söderblandning is the most popular blend sold at The Tea Center of Stockholm, a Swedish shop specializing in fine teas. It combines China and Ceylon black tea with flowers, including roses, cornflowers, and sunflowers, and tropical fruits. It’s exceptionally fragrant and a story has grown up around the blend. Brochures from when the Tea Center began exporting to the United States said that the combination was the happy result of ingredients spilling from a shelf and into a container of tea leaves on the shop counter while the owner was toiling away, working to find a new blend. You don’t have to believe Sӧderblandning’s creation myth to enjoy it, though the story is a compelling argument for cluttered work spaces.

Tea Soderblandning CW1007

Also Ingebretsen’s Kaffe Bar at Norway House will be providing samples of iced Sӧderblandning tea tomorrow, too. Iced tea isn’t our only drink offering there. Kaffe Bar employee Delta Keating took the Nordic-American-fusion-beverage theme one step further and created Arne Palmerssons – his take on the Arnold Palmer.

Delta explains, “Well, my friends and I all love Arnold Palmers, and the mix of lemonade and iced tea seemed like the perfect summer treat to sell at the Kaffe Bar. Using the Sӧderblandning black tea was a great way to put a Scandinavian twist on an American classic, and its citrus and floral notes nicely harmonize with the lemonade.

I think it’s been received so well because it’s a refreshing addition to our lineup of iced drinks, particularly for people looking for something a bit less sweet than a soda or saft. There’s probably a healthy dash of people finding the name “Arne Palmersson” amusing enough to give it a try as well.”

So please stop by Ingebretsen’s or Also Ingebretsen’s and celebrate National Iced Tea Day with us. If you decide to take a bag of Sӧdeblandning home with you, you may also want to try a combination suggested by The Tea Center – a cup of hot Sӧderblandning and a glass of port, even though you’ve missed National Wine Day, May 25.

If you really want to impress us and ask for your sample in Swedish, you can practice with this video of 10 tea-related vocabulary words:


– Carstens Smith



Our friends at the Norwegian American need some help.

Newspaper publishing is a brutal business, and when you’re a tiny newspaper for an ethnic group that now maintains ties because they enjoy doing so, not because they have to, it’s an even more difficult business. The brave new generation of Norwegian American staff have launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to give them capital to keep going through a particularly tight spot. They saved the paper from folding before, and we believe that they can do it again. Ingebretsen’s has supported the Norwegian American for decades through our advertising and we want to give them another boost by letting all of you know that you can help keep the presses rolling.

The writers and editors of the Norwegian American are a clever lot, so we’ll let them tell their story, what they need, how you can help and how they will thank donors: click here.

Authors John Yilek, David Thoreson provide a glimpse into the past and a view of the future.

On Saturday, April 29, two exceptional authors will be signing books and sharing their respective insights that their research has given them.

John Yilek’s first book, History of Norway, has been a popular title at Ingebretsen’s since the day we began to carry it. It is an overview of Norway’s past and John used “the hundreds of pages of notes” that he wrote while teaching Norwegian history for Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language and Culture program.  An attorney and adjunct law professor for 35 years, John’s long-time avocation has been Norwegian history and culture. He studied the language so he could read original source material and has made numerous trips to Norway.

Yilek book covers

Stories of Norway are stories that I found while researching my first book. They’re from Norwegian-language sources, so they aren’t as well known here,” says John. Some of the nineteen stories are legendary, some historical, and all focus on individuals who, in some form, shaped Norwegian history. You will look at the statue of Ole Bull in Loring Park with a deeper appreciation after reading John’s book.

John will be at Ingebretsen’s, 1601 East Lake Street, Minneapolis, from 1 to 3 on Saturday. He will give a reading from Stories of Norway, sign copies, and talk with people.

Sailor, explorer, and champion for preserving the Arctic, David Thoreson will be at Norway House,  from 10 to 2. His book, Over the Horizon; Exploring the Edges of a Changing Planet chronicles the changes he observed in the Arctic while sailing and exploring the area. The book and the gallery exhibit at Norway House draw from Thoreson’s journal entries and photographs as he documented these changes.

Thoreson’s conversational and somewhat sparse writing style (keeping a journal while pitching about at sea probably teaches one to get to the point quickly) explains the science in a way that is easy to comprehend and the personal anecdotes make you feel as if you are reading a letter from a particularly interesting friend.

Most important, Thoreson makes us understand that we are at a tipping point in climate history. What we do now will have implications for our children, grandchildren, and beyond. David will be at Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, at 10 to have coffee, talk, and sign books. He will give a guided gallery tour at noon, then take questions afterwards.

Please join us for both events and take advantage of this opportunity to speak one-on-one with the authors in a welcoming setting.









Summer Is Here (In Iceland)

Iceland has a unique holiday celebrated only in Iceland, Sumardagurinn fyrsti — the First Day of Summer. Of course after a long winter it makes complete sense that Icelanders want to celebrate the arrival of summer, but why is it celebrated in late April when freezing temperatures are likely to occur in Iceland.

So What’s Up With This Early Celebration?

The Sumardagurinn fyrsti is a national holiday. Its roots are based in the old Icelandic calendar that was used from the 9th Century during the settlement of Iceland until as recently as the 19th Century.

There were only two seasons, winter and summer according to the Icelandic calendar. (In Minnesota it is often said there are only two seasons, winter and road construction but that’s not based on any historical fact — it’s just based on frustration.) Summer started in late April and lasted until late October. The old calendar was week-based so the official timing of the first day of summer was the second Thursday after April 11th, on the first day of the month of Harpa.

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Celebrations to Remember – A Book Signing with Soile Anderson and Eleanor Ostman

Soile Anderson

At Also Ingebretsen’s, the cardamom bolle is our most popular pastry. There’s good reason; it’s a bread-like roll with almonds and cardamom, light, flavorful, and aromatic. It’s also one of the many items we sell that come from Deco Catering, founded by Soile Anderson.

We were very pleased to be able to work with Soile as a supplier for our Kaffe Bar. She has a well-earned reputation for providing exceptional food and has set the gold standard for catering, particularly for Nordic-themed events. Her long list of accomplishments includes preparing a Midsummer dinner for Martha Stewart Living magazine, cooking for the Dalai Lama, President Barak Obama, and the King and Queen of Norway as well as being featured on the Food Network with erudite host Alton Brown.

Soile and staff with President Barack Obama

Recently, Soile sold her business, though her son Heikki is still a partner in Deco and her recipes are still used. This has given her time to write a book combining her ideas for decorations and themed events along with her best-loved recipes. Eleanor Ostman, former food writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, wrote the text while Soile pared the recipes down to family-size proportions (though we’re sure she’d be willing to share tips on how to cook for 200) and selected photographs. The end result is Celebrations to Remember; Exceptional Party Décor and Fabulous Food.


Also Ingebretsen’s is very pleased to have both Soile and Eleanor at our store to sign books this coming Saturday, April 22 at Also Ingebretsen’s at Norway House from 10 to 2.  Soile and Eleanor would be happy to chat with you about food and decorating. Soile will give a presentation from 10:30 to 11, sharing some of her favorite tips.

Saturday, April 22nd

Location: Norway House
911 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with talk from 10:30 to 11:00.

Also Ingebretsen’s phone: 612.870.5772



Norway Easter Tradition Starts With Fake News

In Norway, Easter (Påske) is celebrated with a tradition known as Påskekrim or Easter-Crime. For some reason, Easter is a high time for reading crime stories and detective novels in Norway, where many say Easter and the crime genre work well together.

In February 1923, two Norwegians, Nordahl Grieg and Nils Lie, wrote a crime novel about the looting of a train to Bergen. The book was called The Bergen train was robbed in the night (or, in its original Norwegian: Bergenstoget plyndret i natt).

Their next step was to get people to buy the book. They came up with a brilliant plan and one that may have been the origin of fake news, 15 years before Orwell’s “War of the Worlds” fake news radio broadcast. They advertised in the nation newspaper Aftenposten by putting the title of the book on the front page. They convinced thousands of readers that the headline was news as opposed to a publicity stunt. It became the most popular Easter book in Norwegian history and is considered the start to Påskekrim.

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What is Your Scandinavian Name?

National Name Yourself Day is observed each year on April 9. To celebrate, you are allowed to give yourself a new name for one day. To help you find a new name, we have created the easy as 1-2-3 “How To Create Your New Scandinavian Name”:

1. Take the first 3 letters of your first name + “uffda”
2. The last think you ate + “sson”
3. Take the first 3 letters of your last name + “tefiskström”

For example (envisioning the last thing they ate) you would get:

Abraham Lincoln = Abruffda Chickensson Lintefiskström
Betty White = Betuffda Eggsson Whitefiskström
Stephen Colbert = Steuffda Pancakesson Coltefiskström
Vladimir Putin = Vlauffda Vodkasson Puttefiskström

Or you can buy “A Handbook of Scandinavian Names” by Nancy L. Coleman and Olav Veka – I mean Nanuffdah Cookiesson Coltefiskström and Olav Veka (you can’t improve on that).