Friday, January 18, 2013

Maggie's latest

Maggie got a book about Japanese kanji for Christmas. She's been teaching herself Japanese in her spare time. For no reason, just because it's fun and cool. That's my girl!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Emergency water

Pam bought me a kerosene heater for Christmas. I wanted one in case we lost power. We don't have a fireplace or woodburning stove, and yes we can just go to our neighbor's house who have a woodburning stove, but I like to prepared.

I told a coworker that I like to be prepared with heat, food and water stored. "Water?!" she said. "This is Norway. If the water goes out, the kommune will deliver it to your house!"

I thought she was joking, but today I was visiting a friend and their neighborhood had lost water. I couldn't believe it, but on every corner in the neighborhood was a trailer of fresh water. A steady stream of folks walked down to fill flasks for drinking and pots for cooking and buckets to flush the toilets. That's a nice service!

I still think it's important to stockpile some things for a zombie apocolypse. When the zombies come, the last thing the kommune is going to be thinking about is delivering water!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I was invited to give a talk for the Mathematics Association's ski weekend in Rondane at Rondablikk, about a 2 hour train ride from Trondheim. Pam and I sent the kids away to friends' for the weekend and joined the crew.

We had 3 days of really good food, math talks, and hikes out in the snowy fields. It was good to get away for a few days before the holidays were over.

Here's the hotel. "Rondablikk" means something like "look around".
Lots of snow up here
The hotel was filled with stuffed critters

We made it a goal to take a picture of every animal in the hotel

It took days to get pictures of all the animals, but we did it.

Rondablikk is the site of the annual Peer Gynt festival.
Here's a statue depicting Peer Gynt's wild buck ride.
Oh yes, there were trolls, too.
... and a swimming pool.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

More on risgrøt

I've posted a couple of times on risgrøt (or rice porridge), but it's worth posting again. This is now a family favorite breakfast and I love making it. It's so easy but takes a long time, perfect for weekends or days like today (January 1st) when everyone will be getting up late anyways.

Take 3/4 cup of rice. Boil it in water. Then turn the heat way down so it cooks slowly. As the water boils down, add milk or cream (or milk and cream), and keep adding liquid, water or dairy, and stir every 10 or 15 minutes so it doesn't burn on the bottom. After one hour and before two (I think 1.5 hours is pretty good), let it cook down so the mixture is not too watery and nice and creamy looking.

3/4 cup of rice fills a big pot!
A dash of vanilla will make the kitchen smell beautiful during the long cooking time.

The rice expands to about 7 or 8 times its volume. That 3/4 cup will feed a family of 5. Set the table with butter, salt, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and jelly. Put whatever you want in it. I like salt and butter, the kids like cinnamon and sugar, my wife puts in raisins.

Dead simple, delicious, and fun.

I took this picture to show the incredible before and after size difference. Next to that big pot of risgrøt is 3/4 cup of rice, the amount I started with.