Tales of the City – Copenhagen Food

Danish chef and author Trine Hahnemann will sign her latest book, Copenhagen Food, at Ingebretsen’s, 1601 E. Lake Street from 1 to 3 on Monday, October 22. She will talk about writing the book, sign books, and demonstrate making open-face sandwiches at Norway House/Also Ingebretsen’s, 911 E. Franklin Ave, from 6 to 8:30 that evening. 

Copenhagen Food_CVR_9781787131279

Trine Hahnemann has written a love letter with recipes. A 282-page love letter. Copenhagen Food, Trine’s latest book, takes us through the city’s neighborhoods and into restaurants and coffee shops, past wharves and royal residences. She writes in the forward:

In this book I have described my home town, Copenhagen. It is not a general guide book; it’s my history of my city. This is the way I live in Copenhagen. I am not a young hipster; I have not just moved here. I was born and bred here and most of my history was made in this town. So, it is a very personal book about the place I grew up in and still live in.

It is the personal stories, told with a touch of humor, that make this cookbook such a treasure. It is as much fun to curl up on the couch with a mug of coffee and read it as it is to prop the book up on the kitchen counter and cook from it.

Food fads aren’t exclusively an American phenomena; Trine writes fondly of the “hippy food’ she encountered in the 70s while a young child in Christiania, where her family lived briefly.  It is an intentional community founded in abandoned military barracks. All the back-to-the-earth and organic foods trends that marked the 70s thrived in Christiania’s little cafés and coffeehouses. Those trends made a lasting impression; Trine founded and ran a food company focusing on salads-as-meals, inspired by the simple, seasonal foods and “honest, no-fuss” style of cooking she encountered there.

Trine Hahnemann Photo credit Lars Ranek. jpeg
Trine Hahnemann; Photo credit Lars Ranek

On the other end of the restaurant spectrum, Trine often takes friends and visitors, and now her readers, to Lumskebugten, Copenhagen’s oldest restaurant.  It is home to classic Danish dishes, cooked perfectly and serve beautifully. There, noted chef Erwin Lauterbach keeps elegance and tradition alive and viable. She calls him “one of the godfathers of the modern Danish kitchen” and a trendsetter in using local foods.

Friendly little tidbits such as the fact that Trine has to cajole her husband to join her on bike rides in pursuit of a Danish hot dog make you feel that you are indeed getting a personal tour. When you see the recipe and stunning photographs of Danish hot dogs, you also wonder why on earth anyone would need cajoling to seek one out.

Photographer Columbus Leth does justice to the food and landmarks that Trine cherishes. Even if you don’t make the recipes, you can get a lovely “Ahhh, isn’t that wonderful” feeling from the images. Armchair cookery, like armchair travel, has its advantages.

Please join us on Monday, October 22, either at the store or at Norway House to chat with Trine and learn more about Copenhagen, its food, and the chef who loves both.