The cuisine of Norway in its traditional form relies mostly on the raw materials available in Norway and its mountains, wilderness and coast. It differs in many respects from its continental counterparts with a stronger focus on game and fish.
Modern Norwegian cookery, although still strongly influenced by its traditional background, now bears the marks of globalization: Pasta’s, pizza’s and the like are as common as meatballs and cod as staple foods and urban restaurants sport the same selection you would expect to find in any western European city. Although Norwegian cuisine has become as international as every other western cookery, traditional dishes remain popular. As Norwegian cuisine has its roots in a reasonably poor society, dishes are simple. A hundred years ago potatoes would have been the main part of the dishes, using fish and meat more like a condiment than ingredients in their own right. Salted and dried foods have become less common in favour of fresh or frozen fish and meat. Traditional Norwegian "farm" food is made by whatever can grow in the northern climate, be stored for a year until new crops come out, and contain enough energy for you to do hard work. Regional variances in traditional food are huge and hence, and what is thought to be "typical traditional" for one Norwegian might be totally unknown to another. Typical examples are variations of yeasted and unyeasted bread and other forms of bakery, porridges, soups, inventive uses of potato, salted and smoked meat, and fresh, salted or smoked fish. Dried cod (tørrfisk) and salted cod (klippfisk) are staples of coastal communities in the north and can be seen drying on outside racks in spring and summer. The national dish of Norway is fårikål, a stewed casserole of lamb's meat and cabbage.
Finer traditional food is usually based on hunted animals or fresh fish. Steak, medallions and meat balls from game, deer, reindeer and elk are highly appreciated foods with international reputation, so are fresh, smoked and fermented salmon varieties as well as a host of other fish products. Traditional pastries like lukket valnøtt (marzipan-covered whipped cream cake) are other original contributions to international cuisine. Cheese of various types is common, but one particularly Norwegian favourite is geitost (goat-cheese), a mild smoked cheese which bears a remarkable similarity to smooth peanut butter in colour, texture and taste.
Today, Norwegians use plenty of sliced bread for almost any meal except dinner, whereas recipes for hot meals will be taken from almost anywhere in the world, including of course the traditional kitchen, but seldom the most extreme examples. Lunch usually consists of some bread and snacks instead of a warm dish but this is then compensated by eating well at dinner time. Norwegians are also known for eating a lot of frozen pizza.