Strangers in Iceland

A reassuring guide to the strangeness of being a stranger.

“I grew up in a remote farm in northern Iceland in the 1960s. Icelandic society has changed so much since then that it sometimes seems has changed so much since then that it sometimes seems to me this must have been the 1860s, not least in culinary matters. The food of my child-hood was partly the old traditional Icelandic food – salted, smoked, whey – preserved, dried, and partly the Danish – influenced cuisine of the home academy my mother attended – heavy sauces, roasts, endless porridge, puddings and soups.”

“The greenhouse – grown Icelandic salads are over for the year now. There is still fresh cabbage, but apart from that all the vegetables are imported, expensive, and long past their best.

Fruit is waxy apples or squashy bananas, although a king’s ransom will buy you tasteless, mushy plums in Hagkaup. I rub legs of lamb with smoked paprika and cumin from my hoard, and roast potatoes with butter and shards of rosemary picked in our garden at home. We have found good food in Reykjavic.”

Sarah Moss

Granta Publications