Danes call it a sammenskudsgilde. Other languages have their own versions, but I’m certain they’re not what Google Translate suggested they were when I was writing this column. I do know, however, that in English we call it a potluck dinner, and at Expat in Denmark we call it ‘Expat Dinners’.
For the uninitiated, another round of Expat Dinners was due to take place as this issue hit the streets (Thursday May 10) at 19 locations around Denmark. The concept is simple: you and your family bring along a dish of your national cuisine (don’t worry – you’re not expected to go the whole nine yards!) and share the food with those who you end up sitting down with. That’s it.
There’s no big plan, no seating arrangements, no theme to follow or discuss, other than that – and you should know this as it is the whole point of the event – there will be Danes there. Yes sir, Danes. Who have brought along some of their own national cuisine.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Danes coming to an event brining national cuisine means more pork that you can shake a stick at. And you’d perhaps have a point, so no need for expat variations on roast pork.
If there’s one gripe I hear from expats quite frequently, it’s that they don’t meet enough Danes, or at least Danes who are interested in making friendships with them. But at Expat Dinners they will be there, because they want to be, because they, and their kids, want to meet expats. We’re not guaranteeing anything to anyone at the event: you’re all big boys and girls who can take care of yourselves, and kids nearly always get along with whoever’s around: we’re just providing a fun forum at which you can share some great food and meet other people.
The locations are all the same: local libraries. Why the libraries? Well that’s easy: a central and simple facility that has a strong anchoring in the daily lives of a great many Danish families, so we make sure the event is interesting to the Danes who live close to you.
What’s more, libraries are destined to become a more central point of interaction with your local kommune’s services over the coming years, so it’s a good chance to get to know the staff on a personal footing: you will need them down the line for something.
The missing ingredient at the event is, of course, you: you can read more, choose a location and sign up – all at www.expatdinners.dk.