PEACE in the Country

Norway is a country with a little over 5 million people.  It maintains a very high standard of living and is continually ranked as one of the best countries to live in, for example here:

Home to the founder of Peace Studies, Johan Galtung, Norway has an active role in peacemaking.  Galtung was one of the founders of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), which continues to be one of the premiere peace research institutes to this day.  Check out their website here:

This institute then started the publication of the Journal of Peace Research, you can take a peek at their latest issue here:

They also have many projects that relate to several of the topics that we have learned about in Intercultural seminars at the Universitat de Jaume I in Castellon.  For example, one project is about creating a cross-national dataset on wartime gender-based violence, seen here:

This project reminded me of Iris, Priscyll and Marissa’s seminar in which they discussed wartime gender-based violence (gbv) in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.  Creating a cross-national dataset could lead to huge strides in being able to examine gbv in conflict and hopefully lead to better conflict transformation methods that will lead to a more positive peace.

Norwegians have also been known to be good mediators in international conflict, as they are usually viewed as an impartial party.  They were responsible for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back in 1993 and they continue to be involved in other conflict resolution endeavors as seen in these articles:

PEACE with a Piece of Food


Kjøttdeig Kål pronounced “Sheti Kole” (Ground Beef Cabbage) with white sauce

700g ground beef

10 slices (give or take) of bacon

1 1/2 tsp thyme

1 head of cabbage

1 onion

1 egg

1 beef broth cube

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp of tomato paste

150g water

1/2 tsp nutmeg

pepper to taste

4 potatoes

White Sauce

1 1/2 cup milk

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup flour  (add more if necessary)

salt to taste

pepper to taste

First, make the beef broth in 4 cups of water.  Chop the cabbage and onion into medium sized pieces and toss into the broth once it is boiling.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.  Then drain and set aside.


Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Next, mix the ground beef, egg, tomato paste, salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg and water.  It is easier to use your hands to mix it all together in my opinion.  Once mixed well you are ready to prepare the dish.

Use a large greased pan, like in the picture and begin by putting a layer of cabbage on the bottom.  Follow this by a layer of ground beef (about the thickness of a thin hamburger).  Then, another layer of cabbage and another layer of ground beef ending with a top layer of cabbage.  Got it?  3 layers cabbage (bottom, middle, top) and 2 layers of ground beef.  Then, top it off a thin layer of bacon.  Yum!


It is ready to go in the oven for about 50 minutes or until top bacon is browned.

Next up, begin boiling a few potatoes, one for each person.  Now it is time for the white sauce.

Melt the butter in the pot then add flour and mix.  Now, add the milk, stir and bring to a boil.  Salt and pepper to taste but as my Norwegian hosts said, “You don’t want it too salty because there is a lot of salt in the rest of the dish”.  In the end, you want the sauce to be thick, but not too thick.  Should be similar to an Italian pasta white sauce consistency.

When the dish is ready the potatoes should be boiled through, they recommended leaving the skins on “for nutrition”, though I felt we threw out nutrition when we started layering beef and topping it with bacon 😉

Anyway, “Skol” (Cheers in Norwegian)!


My hosts for this dinner were lovely!  They claimed it was tradition to drink while cooking, so I must admit that a couple bottles of wine disappeared during the course of this dinner night, but OMIGOD this dish was delicious!  Though I never doubted that mixing ground beef, cabbage, bacon, potatoes and white sauce would be delicious!

The peace that was made during this meal was over a lot of laughs and a fun learning process for all of us.  Neither of my fantastic Norwegian hosts, pictured below, had ever made this dish before.  Both of them could recount their grandmothers making it whenever they visited, but it was their first time as well, though they both seemed like naturals letting me know when I wasn’t doing something the “Norwegian way”.  It was fun to hear Victoria’s stories about eating this meal with her family and her and Taran seemed truly excited that they had finally learned to make the dish on their own.


And here is our lovely dinner:

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