Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 4, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 4


Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 4, 2020 

KATIE Tse....This and That


 by Deanne Davis

From Reykjavik with Love, Again

 Happy New Year! I started 2019 with the resolution to not recycle 
any old stories. So wouldn’t you know my first article of 2020 is 
recycled! There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere, but I’m not 
going to worry about it. 

 It’s been a while since I’ve 
stolen, “written,” a story about my 
mom’s friend, Florence. You may 
remember Florence from past 
article involving unusual pets, and 
just plain unusual situations. Yes, 
Florence is always good for material 
when I’m out of ideas. Since retiring from teaching, Florence 
has filled her time with trips to exotic destinations. One of 
which was Iceland. 

 After a dinner with Florence and friends, my mom relayed 
some of Florence’s adventures to me. Mostly about Iceland’s 
unusual cuisine. There was something about rotten shark 
marinated in shark urine. 

 “Wait,” I said. “How do you collect shark urine? Doesn’t 
it just dissipate into the water?” 

 Thinking a moment, Mom replied, “I’m not sure.” 

 “Maybe they catheterize the sharks,” I mused. “Imagine 
being the guy with that job!” 

 “No,” Mom remarked, “They put the dead shark in a pit 
to marinate, so maybe all the people take turns peeing on it.”

 “Well, what did Florence say?”

 “It was hard to catch it all, there were a lot of us there,” she replied. 

 I knew I had to call Florence and get the story straight. She corrected me on the whole 
rotten shark issue. But before we get to that, let’s consider Iceland’s “survival food,” as Florence 
describes it. Being an island, it’s expensive to ship foods in. Therefore, a hamburger will be 
much more expensive than, say, a bowl of fish stew. 

 Iceland has about two to three months of “summer” during which crops can be grown. The 
rest of the year is dismally dark, cold, and wet. Hothouse vegetables are pretty much the only 
plants that can be harvested in these conditions. Other than that, the native diet consists of 
animals raised on, or caught near, the island. Mostly sheep and fish. 

 “Survival food” is what Icelanders can eat cheaply throughout the year. So while we 
may think of shark as being an endangered species, as in shark fin soup, it is actually a 
commonplace meal in Iceland.

 The shark is prepared by burying it in a pit to ferment for a few months and then hanging 
it out to dry. Thus the shark is more accurately “fermented” than rotten, although it retains a 
strong odor of ammonia. 

 The purpose of this convoluted method is to rid the fish of an acid which renders it inedible 
when freshly caught. Reminds me of the Nordic dish Lutefisk, which takes fish on a long 
journey from ocean to table, involving lye and a long aging process. 

 Any mention of fermented shark would be incomplete without a chaser of “Black Death,” 
a potato and caraway schnapps. Other snacks include minke whale (not on the endangered 
list), and dried fish jerky slathered with butter. There’s also ram testicles and sheep’s head, 
complete with the eyeball. Lamb hot dogs are very popular, and are reported to be among 
the best in the world. Very snappy. But I think the most horrifying dish Florence mentioned 
were the puffins!

 I do feel guilty eating animals, but there’s something about eating puffins that I just can’t 
wrap my mind around. They’re too cute, and I’ve always been a “bird person.” I will always 
appreciate Florence. But knowing she ate a puffin, I can never quite look at her the same way 

 *Wanna’ know what else Florence contributed material to? My novel, “A Year at Apex!” 
Yup, check it out. I’ve got a dedication to her on the acknowledgments page. “Apex” has all 
the humor, romance, and snarky sarcasm you need to kick off 2020. Find it in paperback and 
ebook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

And just like that, it’s a new year, 
a new decade and a leap year! Just 
finished watching the Rose Parade 
and the theme: The Power of Hope, 
filled me with joyful anticipation. 
The picture today is one drawn by 
my Dad, Kim Weed, some years ago. 
Here’s this rusty old shovel with a 
wooden handle that has been thrust 
into the ground and abandoned. 
Mysteriously, miraculously, the 
wooden handle has made contact 
with the earth and come to life again. 
It has sprouted, bloomed and grown 
a branch strong enough to hold this 
songbird. If that’s not the definition of 
Hope, I don’t know what is!

The first day of a New Year is like 
opening your coloring book to a 
brand new page, filled with infinite 
possibilities. We can pick bright 
colors of joy and laughter, looking for 
the best in ourselves and others. We 
can choose hope, love, gratitude and 
kindness. We can paint happy smiles 
on the faces of the people in our 
picture and be the one who put them 
there. As my friend, Rich Johnson, 
put it, “Our vision will improve on Wednesday morning because it will be 2020!”

Speaking again of the Parade, our float, Ha La Hiki Ola, (Dawning of a New Day) was 
an absolute triumph, winning the President’s Trophy. I’ve been able to keep up with the 
construction of this Hawaiian dream scene on Facebook, thanks to Robert Gjerde, who 
puts up pictures and lets the world know how it’s going. I’m extremely partial to sunrises 
so this spectacularly hopeful float made me so happy that I rewound that part and played it 
at least five more times to see what a marvelous float Sierra Madre created again this year. 
High five to all the float totally rocked it again!

As it’s Christmas break for our girls, Jessie and Emily, we have been going to the movies. 
We’ve seen Cats, Frozen II, Spies In Disguise, and Jumanji – The Next Level. We thoroughly 
enjoyed every one of them and I don’t know why Cats got such horrible reviews, except, of 
course, that it’s easier to write snarky stuff than look for something good to expound upon. 
Jennifer Hudson blew me away as Grizabella, The Glamour Cat, singing “Memories.” Judy 
Dench can do no wrong and Taylor Swift was great, too. 

Jumanji – The Next Level was beyond exciting and Danny DeVito and Danny Glover added 
a great new dimension. Danny DeVito’s character had the closing line, I won’t tell you what 
it is (no spoiler alerts here) but it brought me to tears. 

Spies In Disguise was a first rate animated feature starring Will Smith. Yes, they do manage 
to save the world again, but it wasn’t easy! We had a great time seeing all these and as 
it’s been cold and cloudy every day this past week, it got us out of the house and doing 
something fun. 

You know how every now and then you come across a statement, a sentence, a paragraph, 
a quote, that makes you pause and say, “Wow, I need to keep that!” Well, I’ve got a stack of 
those and I want to share some of them with you, dear friends and neighbors, before we 
start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Do start thinking what word you’re going to 
choose as your theme for 2020. You’ve probably already guessed mine.

“It came to me that reform should begin at home, and since that day I have not had time to 
remake the world.” Will Durant, Historian (1885-1981)

“I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than 
our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days 
governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes 

without the words – and never stops at all.” Emily Dickinson

And one last thought on Leap Year: The reason there’s a February 29th is because it takes a 
full day to explain what Leap Year is! 

Happy New Year, dear friends! 

May God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you

And give you peace...and joy!

My book page: Deanne Davis


Christmas is just a few days past and my book:

“Sunrises and Sunflowers Speak Hope” 

Would be a really nice gift for anyone you’ve suddenly remembered.

You can find it on

“Emma’s Etouffee Café” is a new Kindle read by me! 

It’s on and here’s the link:

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