Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish

The six-month process to replace fårikål as Norway's national dish has ended in an underwhelming result, with the country voting to stick with the homely lamb and cabbage stew.

Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish
Fårikål being prepared the traditional way - Photo: NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet
Fårikål had been Norway's official national dish for more than 40 years until Food and agriculture minister Sylvi Listhaug launched a competition to replace it in January to mark the bicentenary of the country's constitution.  
However, the nationwide survey she commissioned from Ipsos to whittle down nominations sent to the official competition email revealed that, despite the popularity of foreign imports such as tacos and pizza, fårikål remained the nation's firm favourite. 
The comforting pottage won 45 percent of the national vote, followed by kjøttkaker, a type of meatballs, Raspeball, a potato dumpling, and pinnekjøtt, the lamb's ribs traditionally served at Christmas. 
Fårikål is a worthy winner," Listhaug said as she unveiled the result at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, according to Norway's NRK. "It shows that the tradition is strong among adults." 
The competition was the first time that Norway has been given a chance to change their national dish since fårikål was selected in a competition on NRK's Nitimen cookery programme in 1972. 
However, when Listhaug announced the project in January, it already raised suspicions of her more conservative countrymen. 
"We already have a national dish, but I wouldn't mind changing the food and agriculture minister!" grumbled Steinar Bergheim in the comments to a an article in the VG newspaper. 
To qualify for submission, the dish's main ingredients must have been sourced in Norway, so ham and pineapple pizza and falafel were off the menu (neither chickpeas nor pineapple are grown in Norway). 
The decision to keep fårikål in place is in stark contrast to what happened when Britain voted on a new national dish in 2001, when it chose Chicken Tikka Masala, a creamy curry dish thought to have originated in the country's Indian restaurants.

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Norway populists win new immigration ministry

Norway’s Prime Minister has appointed a politician from the populist Progress Party as the country’s first ever Immigration Minister, as her government seeks to bring in an ever-tougher asylum policy.

Norway populists win new immigration ministry
Sylvi Listhaug takes over the Immigration role at the Ministry of Justice. Photo: Haakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix
In a cabinet reshuffle announced on Wednesday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg appointed Sylvi Listhaug, the country’s former agriculture minister, to the new post. 
“Our society is not sustainable if too many people are living on public payouts rather than paying in,” Listhaug said after her appointment. “We must bring down the number coming into Norway.” 
“This is about our ability to integrate those who come. If the number flowing into Norway is extremely big, that means it will also be hard to integrate them.” 
An estimated 35,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Norway in 2015, a record for the country, but still a fraction of the 150,000 who have arrived in neighbouring Sweden. 
Listhaug, a Christian, made headlines last month when she appeared to suggest that Jesus Christ would have supported the Progress Party's tough stance on asylum seekers, drawing the condemnation of the leading bishop in the Church of Norway. 
“What Jesus cared about is you should help as many people as possible — and that’s not as many as possible in Norway,” she said in an interview with Norway's state broadcaster NRK. 
In another controversial move, she appointed Per Sandberg, Progress’s outspoken deputy leader as Fisheries Minister, bringing the man, who is widely seen as a loose canon, into the government for the first time. 
Sandberg’s combative style and harsh rhetoric on immigration and Islam has been a frequent source of conflict since Progress formed Norway’s coalition government in 2013. 
He has caused particular difficulties for the Christian Democrats and Liberal Democrats, the two minority parties which support the government but are not part of the coalition. 
“He has been the source of some conflict, and he has had some initiatives that we think have been hair-raising,” Knut Hareide,  the Christian Democrats’ leader told VG after his appointment. “Now he goes into government, he will probably play a different role.” 
However, Sandberg vowed not to let his ministerial role muzzle him.
“I think nobody should expect me to put a lid on what is Progress policy,” he said.