29 August 2011

MAD Foodcamp

On the boat to this weekends MAD Foodcamp, brainchild of Noma's René Redzepi and friends, I was seated next to an inside man. A restaurateur specializing in seafood, the man to ask the pressing question: is it true that tuna is in danger of becoming extinct? I have read up on it and asked around, but my findings correspond poorly with the fact that canned tuna is dirt-cheap and available in every supermarket. Yes, everybody knows that, he said, giving me a slightly confused look. But the thing is, we don't. The more I learn, the more I understand that I need to ask questions. I don't want to support unethical farming, and I certainly don't want to eat endangered species. It bothers me that I even have the choice.

The MAD Foodcamp held at the remote Refshaleøen was like two separate events in one. One for the people, and one for the trade, in a camp built from haystacks and beautiful tents. I parted ways with Mr. Inside at the entrance, and joined the people. My first encounter with a passionate food camper was a professor from the Technical University of Denmark, a true root fetishist.

Behold the evolution of the carrot. The ancestors are still around, but today they are considered weeds. The bushy roots smell exactly like carrots (well, because they are), but there is no use for them. The way I see it we just haven't found it yet, at the very least the dried roots would make for interesting toothpicks (oh, and remember the apple eggs? I wonder how carrot meat would taste). The professor giving an inspired speech on his beloved roots:

And then there was the school-garden project (full post on that to come). This girl was so proud of her sunflowers, picking the most photogenic ones for me. Look at that tender touch:

There were several events for children, like the Veggie bling bling workshop by Dutch eating designer Marije Vogelzang (I am a huge fan, but I didn't have the balls to tell her... well, the timing seemed wrong... or maybe I am just too Danish for my own good)(dammit). And no shots of happy children in veggie jewellery either, because I didn't want to violate their privacy. Tricky thing, that.

The weather was crazy wet, the worst possible scenario for this kind of event, yet it didn't seem to suffer from it.

MAD Foodcamp backstage.

The stripey temple where the worlds royalty of fine cooking according to twitter were inspired by each other, sustainable cooking, hay and lime flavored ants. I am so happy that there is someone out there who cares enough to make this camp happen. The revolution may start at the Michelin level, but eventually it will make it to the people. I have a feeling that if we start asking the right questions, the market will have to meet our demands.


***** UPDATE *****

Katie from Parla Food made a great post on what went on in the stripey tent.


  1. It's amazing to think how damaged our thinking about food has become - in the U.S., they've found that entire schools full of children didn't know what a potato was, or a carrot - they had never even seen the actual vegetables, only pre-made products, like french-fries, that use those things. Our acupuncturist was telling us she went to the grocery store once and bought some broccoli, and the cashier at the checkout didn't know what it was.

    That really needs to change, badly. We need to start taking seriously what we put in our own bodies, and also how the choices we make about what we put in our bodies effect our culture, the environment, our politics, etc.

    I couldn't imagine a better name than Vogelzang - I imagine someone with that name couldn't help but be inspiring.

  2. That is scary.. I would hope we are not quite there yet in this end of the world. But one thing is knowing how something looks, another is to have tasted the way it should be. My personal beef with the water pumped and vacuum packed vegetables available in the markets (not so super-), is that they discourage people from eating healthy. No wonder, when most of it tastes like day old water. I like to feel my groceries up and check them with my nose before bringing them home, you know. Get acquainted with my food.

    The camp was really inspiring, and somehow completely different from what I thought it would be. Next time (there better be one) I would like to attend some of the speaks.

  3. Hi Sandra
    Love you blog, your humorous prose and fantastic photos from the city! I found your blog via Twitter retweeted by @sumitoestevez.
    I write http://verygoodfood.dk and 'll be writing up what went on inside the circus tent. It's nice to see what went on outside! :-)
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Hi Trine
    Thank you very much for the kind words. I just realized that I was retweeted to over 100.000 people, it is quite humbling.

    It is funny because Mr. Inside (your friend Anders S.) was just telling me about you on the boat trip, I was reading up on your blog only yesterday, and now you found me.

    I can't wait to read about the inside action. You keep up the good work too! :-)

  5. Hmm now that I am in Paris and it is known to have great food, I can only tell that many things that are withthe label "healthy" here is something made for the bobo-chics of the city, and everything is so pricey. I wish now that healthy comes everywhere, because mass production is still terrible. Also tuna, really? I didn't know. All sorts of tuna?

  6. Hi Carole, the best stuff here is definitely more expensive. For a low income family I can see it being a problem to get tasty ingredients. For me it is a priority above everything else.

    Compared to Denmark, France is a mecca of tasty food, that should tell you a lot, haha. You have the markets too, one at the Bastille weekly, or is it not still there?

    And tuna, yes, crazy fact, there are several kinds of tuna, and most of them are bordering on extinct at the moment. There are a few you can eat (marked safe) but I just abstain to be on the safe side.

  7. Yesterday, I said to my Danish husband that next time we go to Denmark, we should do a culinary tour of the country. He just gave me a strange look.

    I think I will send him a link to your blog. The only food item that kind of grossed me out (but I ate it anyway) was the shrimp - a lot of them were full of eggs.

  8. Hi Lien, that sounds like a great plan. There is somewhat of a culinary revolution going on here. This is a link to the Michelin guide's best restaurants in Copenhagen, the Bib Gourmand is the affordable category:


    And Trine, who was commenting just above you, have a lot of links to her favorite restaurants that you may check out too:


    And you should try out Aamanns, for the ultimate smørrebrød. He even makes his own schnapps to go with it.


    I can't write anything about food without developing an instant appetite, haha.


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