For the launch of the ‘Food with Respect’ cookbook last month, Princess Marie gave an interview to Danish magazine FEMINA which is out today. I bought the magazine so you can read the main quotes of the interview. Read more below.
Note: The interview took place during the fall school break, at the same time Marie gave an interview to Jutland’s newspaper. I also couldn’t translate the entire interview word for word because of copyright issues and because of my current health issues but I translated all of her quotes below. Screenshots are from the copy I bought of the magazine.
About the idea of the cookbook:
Almost three years ago, Selina Juul got the idea to create not just a cookbook, but a concrete, useful and inspiring tool to help the Danes not only avoid food waste, but also save money and at the same time help the climate. The book is especially aimed at families with children, because it is those who have the most difficulty in avoiding food waste. It’s easy to use, there’s some really good, useful advice, and then there’s a little reading – it’s not just a cookbook.
When asked if the point of the book was also to educate on food waste:
I hope that’s the point, haha. You have to! I am sure many know many things already, but there are things that I did not know. Some things about storage for example. I take food waste pretty seriously, so I know a lot, but I wasn’t sure how to store fruits and vegetables. Can they be together? Should they be in the fridge or not? How do they last longer? The thing about picking things up is very much something you do in Denmark, I didn’t know that well before. So there are some great tips.
About collaborating with well-known chefs on the cookbooks:
It’s been great because it’s a cause we are passionate about. Both the super talented and highly engaged chefs. And Selina Juul, who is our real activist. Selina Juul works really hard to focus on food waste. And then there is me who is also very committed to it. It used to be mostly at home, but now I can share it with the Danes, and it is important for me to help those families that like me have children and need to cook and sometimes it is a little difficult because we are so busy in everyday life. We have a hard time just taking those two minutes more and looking in the fridge to see what we have.
About what is wrong with food waste:
Oh la la, it is very, very wrong. First of all, a third of all the food in the world ends up as garbage. And the food that goes to waste could feed all the hungry people in the world. That is one thing. The second is that food waste is a waste of important resources. We must remember that the foods you get in the supermarket have been on a long journey before they arrive on our plate. Yes, they are already worn sometimes, but still good! But they have traveled a long way, it is something you forget, it is food that has been grown, harvested, processed, packed, transported – from far away. And we must know that production and transport can harm the environment. So at least we have to eat all the food. The second thing is that it is a waste of important resources.
Princess Marie also said that while they don’t have a fixed food budget in the household but they always check that it is not too different each month.
About how much food is thrown in her household:
Not so much. Really. I use almost everything we have. I’ve always been like that. My mother has always been like that. But of course, my commitment and attitude have been strengthened with the knowledge I have gained from working with food waste. There are a lot of things I didn’t know about how it is destroying the climate. And what we can do to avoid it. So now it has become even more important to me. But … I have always been like that. I’m a big fan of stew. It is a tradition in Denmark and it is really the best. There is not one particular kind of stew. You use the leftovers, and then you can be creative: All the leftovers … puff in the pan with spices, and then you have a new dish. I think it’s a really good way to use the leftovers.
About who buys the food:
It is very much us with the children, they love to be do it with us. Of course, there are some times when we can’t do it ourselves if we’re not home. But when we can, I look in the fridge and see what we have, BEFORE. Otherwise you are… [Interviewer: … A little in the violence of his emotions when shopping?] Exactly. You have to be sensible and not buy too much. But if I’m abroad in a cheese market and all that, it’s hard …
Princess Marie also said that there is one thing that is important and part of the food baggage that Princess Marie has from home:
I do not compromise on quality.
She also recognizes at the same time that it can be difficult to live up to the expectations, especially those you have with yourself. She tries to buy organic and loves to shop where you can touch the goods, but she is also just a person who has to make everyday life work.
About who is cooking the most at home:
I do. All kinds of food. I love Danish food, but I haven’t learned how to make my favorite dish well enough yet. It’s roast pork! I need to get better at that.
When asked who is going to make the roast pork on Christmas Eve then:
I don’t know if there’s going to be one this year, because it’s not me who’s going to have Christmas. But I MUST try roasting pork with crispy gravy at some point.
About learning to cook with her mother:
She’s really good at cooking. Fast and good food. Made creatively and without food waste. And she has brought up a daughter who is not picky. Princess Marie has taken over all Danish cuisine.
She also says she loves herring:
I LOVE herring. I liked that before I came to Denmark, because my mother bought herring. I don’t know why and where they came from, but there was herring in the fridge with us in France. My mother has traveled a lot. Maybe that’s why …
About the importance of meals in her childhood home:
As a French, I would say that the meal was sacred. It was there where you sat together and took the time to talk together and take an interest in each other. There was respect for the food we had on the table, but also respect for my mother, who had taken the time to cook, who had the love to cook, and then we should not just sit for two seconds, eat and leave. The meal is really a gathering point: it is the only fixed time where you can sit and talk about everything. From school day to world challenges. And answer the children’s questions. When do we otherwise talk to people if we don’t sit down and eat? When? We are so busy. The meal was sacred when I was a kid. We were looking forward to it. That was nice.
About her favorite meal:
My grandmother’s rabbit with mustard sauce. I grew up with that. It tasted amazing.
About how there was never takeout in her childhood home:
My mother was used to cooking her way and is still, she can’t change it, she can’t THINK like that at all. Ready meal? No! Here with us, of course, you may want to come in for a pizza once in a while. We also try to make homemade pizza, which is actually quite fun.
About why the cookbook can help cooking even when we’re so busy:
That’s why it should be easy. As it is in the book. What I do there can be done with children, it takes 10 minutes and I have focused on things that we already HAVE in the home. We don’t have to go out and try to find fancy spices and all that. There is no time for that. In the holidays, yes, or for a long weekend, but everyday it should be useful, and easy to use.
About making meals the gathering point of the family again:
Basically, I think the Danes are good at balancing work and family life. They can be proud of that. But… it is still very difficult for many people in a busy day. Do we have time for that? You have to achieve it all. Can we achieve it all? Why should we achieve it all? Is it so important to achieve it all? Work – you have to. But then there is training and exercise and all that. There is also family and social life. You cannot achieve everything so you MUST prioritize. At least I do. I give priority to my family. And friends. I do this because you should not take anything for granted. And you can quickly get caught up in an everyday life where you don’t talk together. It’s boring.
And it’s also nice enough when we’re on vacation. We enjoy ourselves, we have been together all day, so you can sit on the couch and watch your own movie. But if it’s everyday, it’s sad.
About living in a society with so much profit that we have to teach ourselves to downsize:
Yes, all over again. It is as if we have forgotten the right values. We have suffered. The respect, being together about family, humanity, integrity. Values that are important in life.
About what the cookbook means for those values and our way of living:
Remembering those values. Being more of a family. To remember the meals. And remember that it is important to have respect for the resources of the earth and for us to use the resources of the earth when cooking. Learning about the raw materials we have and not buying ready-made foods all the time. To… go back in time. Just a little.
Go back to past traditions?
Yes. In fact, I think it’s better for us as families. It is important. Today we have a lot of information about what is good and what is not.
About what she teaches her kids about food waste:
Oh … We try to eat together every night. They are in the kitchen and sometimes shopping, it is important to me that they not only have to have a theory of food waste, I have to SHOW them what I am talking about. Because when they experience things themselves and do things themselves, they can better understand what it means. So I don’t really think I’ve done that much, because they are very committed themselves, they scold me if I throw out some edible food: “No, Mom, it’s something you can eat!”. Children suck knowledge, they are curious, they want to make a difference and help make our world a better place, so it is actually quite easy. I know what I’ve done – and it’s just showing what I believe in.
About rules about food in the household:
You have to sit down and eat. You have to. And then you have to taste everything.
One must not be picky?
Yes, for all children are picky, and of course they should be. That’s why it’s a fun match. I say, “I know you very well, and I think it’s something you will like, try to taste.” If they don’t like it anyway, I or my husband will eat it. After all, there is something about children and acquired tastes. It may take a few years, but it will come. But the kids have to taste everything. Then they can say they don’t like it. Afterwards. They have become increasingly culinary curious. And, for example, they love to go in the garden and pick up some apples and make an apple pie. They have respect for the nature. Like all children and young people today, they are a little worried about our planet. They hear a lot about climate – in school too. They know there are things that are destroying the climate. It can be transporting cars and gasoline, using too much water and food waste. I talk about it a lot so they know they can make a difference someday. And they are already very responsible. I think. When brushing their teeth, they always turn off the water. In fact, I don’t think I’ve said, “YOU MUST”. It has come of its own accord. Fortunately. I’m happy about it. I actually love to see them turn off the light by themselves. All of that. Fantastic. We humans produce too much. We consume too much. After all, it is not something that children influence. But they can respond to it. Like when Henrik or Athena says: – “No, Mom, I don’t need that new clothes, I already have one in that color”.
About how the famine disaster in Ethiopia in 1984 – when she was 8 years old- was a very important eye opener for her:
Yes … I can clearly remember. In France, a lot of pictures were seen on television. I was very shocked to see the pictures of the very thin, starving children. I wouldn’t say I was traumatized. But what I saw has really affected my attitude towards food. I felt so helpless, I simply could not understand that there were such injustice and inequality in the world. Because we have so much and they DIE. So I couldn’t … and I was very upset. I asked my mom how and why, and she said, “Well, Cherie, this is the world, we just have to try to respect them and be grateful to have food, but there’s not much you can do right now”. But I said, “Well we MUST do something”. So I just have it in me, I remember. Maybe that’s why I sometimes get nauseous if I see that there is really good food in the trash.
Princess Marie says that it makes her uncomfortable:
Because those pictures still stand out so clearly to me. There are actually a lot of things I can’t remember from when I was a kid, but I can remember that.
She gets teary-eyed and say she doesn’t like thinking about it. Then she says:
But when you grow up, you try to do something if you can. And I can happily do something today. I have traveled a lot with DanChurchAid, which is why I have seen and talked to people in need and seen how many children suffered because they lacked food and clean water, so it has strengthened my commitment to see it as an adult. My first trip was to Cambodia, I had no experience in humanitarian travel, and when we got home, I just wanted to stay longer, I just wanted to help. But you have to go home and you can’t help them all. It’s hard to live with when you see something like that. You never get used to that.
So, part of the solution in a Western welfare society is for example to engage in the fight against food waste and open people’s eyes to how much they have?
Yes. We have so much. And we can actually make a huge difference by doing something about food waste at home in our own kitchens. We both save money and help the world, it’s EASY. So we MUST get together and do it.
How to make a romantic dinner of leftovers?
Haha, he has no idea it’s leftovers. No no no. As long as it tastes good, it tastes good. It can easily be romantic. You just have to have some nice and good herbs. It’s no problem. And gravy!
So you can easily stick to the good life and eat leftovers at the same time?
Oh yeah, that’s actually what IS the good life, I think. The good life is to be together, eat together. Food, of course, is a big part of the good life, but not only that. So is health. To be healthy, to live a healthy life in body and soul. That’s the good life. But the meal is a good remedy for the good life.
Does she remember what was the first dinner she had with Prince Joachim?
No not at all. It was a hunting dinner, so it was hunting food. But… I really enjoy that we are a big culinary family, we love food. But I can’t remember what I ate at all, it’s a long time ago, haha. Do you remember what you ate when you met your husband?
About the best meal she had:
My father-in-law Prince Henrik served some incredibly exciting meals. So I think of him when I think of impressive meals. In return, haha … my husband was going to cook at a time when we were with my dad. And my husband then made a finished pizza – which he burned in the oven because he forgot about it. He came with it and it was ALL black. So I would say we are different in the family…
About what she’s going to make for dinner tonight after the interview:
Good question! We have to go shopping this afternoon, because there is no more in the fridge. It is completely empty. The children also want to say, “Come on, Mom!” So we do, and we do it together. It is cozy.
After this question, the photoshoot for the interview starts in the kitchen and then Prince Joachim appears : “And then a casual Prince Joachim shows up with a holiday stubble, the dog Cerise in his arms and a soft look at his wife. It’s nice to notice that the two people are clearly having a good time together. He says that Princess Marie’s apple pie with the imperfect apples the night before tasted really good. It was eaten. All of it.”
Inside, she wore it with a plain top, her Christine Hvelplund ‘Universe’ necklace and her Jimmy Choo ‘Romy’ navy pumps. (The article says she was wearing blue stilettos and she wore the Romy pumps with the suit when she wore it publicly hence my assumption.
Outside, she changed into a knit top and her Zara black ankle boots.
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