A few weeks after moving to Copenhagen, I was invited to participate in the Pure Food Camp (October 2018). I took a train across the Oresund straight and alight at the Hoor train station in Sweden. A short taxi ride later, I’m dropped in middle of Nyrup forest. I wait, in this somewhere and nowhere in the region of Skane, only to be met by Charlotte Ranert the creator of the Pure Food Culinary Camp, who leads me into the forest.
Arriving at the base camp, we foraged for mushrooms that squeak when one pulls them out of the ground and acorns. While pouring pine needle tea to accompany a local raw milk cheese tasting, Michelin Chef Titti Qvarnström spoke of the politics of fermentation and the challenges of cultivating sensibilities to food.
The cooking began without electricity. mushrooms and acorn bread were roasted on fires. The Swedish anchovey, surstomming was opened under water, its strong oder overpowered me. We churned butter, carefully paying attention to the changing states of cream in the butter churner, whose textures were heard first.
Finally, I stand in front of an enormous, smiling cod fish. I’ve got a knife in my hand. and daylight is fading. It is slippery and the daylight is fading. I’m trying to steady myself as I try to filet a big codfish under the chef’s eye. The movements of Chef Titti gives a rapid demonstration on how to properly filet this magnificent creature. The precision of her blade made a clear, light slashing sound into the flesh. . My mind is blurring from the demonstration and a desire to cut and dissect correctly under Titti’s eye. My hands slip as I touch slimy fish skin and darkness falls.