Sidsel Overgaard

After taking a semester off from college to intern with Vermont Public Radio in 1999, Sidsel was hooked.  She went on to work as a reporter and producer at WNYC in New York and WAMU in Washington, DC before moving to New Mexico in 2007. 
As KUNM’s Conservation Beat reporter, Sidsel covered news from around the state having to do with protection of our earth, air and water.  She also kept up a blog, earth air waves, filled with all the bits that can’t be crammed into the local broadcast of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.  When not interviewing inspiring people (or sheep), Sidsel could be found doing underdogs with her daughters at the park.
 
 
 

Back in 2011, Mohamed Abdi Farah, who goes by the stage name Mo, seemed to be Norway's next rising pop star. Success on his country's version of The X Factor led to a record deal and the release of several singles, all before his 18th birthday. But then, Mo found himself in the middle of a national nightmare: a mass shooting on the Norwegian island of Utøya.

This story begins with a lemon. It appeared not long ago on a houseboat-cum-food lab docked outside Scandinavia's temple of local food, the restaurant noma, in Copenhagen.

"Isn't that, like, the forbidden fruit?," I ask. "Are you allowed to have a lemon here?"

"I don't know why that's sitting there," says Ben Reade, the lab's head of culinary research and development, looking perplexed.

An anthropologist, Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, pipes in, "We have an Italian on the boat."

Reade concurs: "He needs a lemon every so often for staff food."

Who doesn't love a Danish pastry?

And in Denmark, they like their pastries sprinkled with plenty of cinnamon.

But now, Denmark's bakers are being told that their time-honored recipe for the beloved kanelsnegle — or cinnamon swirl — may be unhealthy and against the law. Recent testing by the Danish government found that a large number of the rolls had too much cinnamon — more than the recommended limits set by the European Union.

Martin Jensen smokes heroin.

In the past, when this gaunt-faced Dane had to hide in elevators and stairwells to feed his addiction, he probably wouldn't have been so willing to advertise that fact. Back then, his days were spent scouring Copenhagen — mostly the notorious Vesterbro neighborhood — for places to smoke, out of sight of the police and children. He says he never felt safe, understandably, given what happened to one of his friends.

"My friend, he [was trying to] get some sleep, when he had smoked," Jensen recalls.

That's when an arsonist stopped by.

Hey there, hipster. No bike helmet, huh? Well, we all have our excuses. There are the vanity-driven ones that — let's be honest — explain why the majority of our brain cages sit collecting dust in the dark corners of the garage. Squashed hair, unflattering chin straps, general discomfort, etc.

Karen Hanghoj, a scientist with Denmark's Geological Survey, points to the southern tip of Greenland on a colorful map hanging in her office.

"What you can see here in the southern region here is you have a big pink region," she says. "And then within the pink region, you see you have all these little purple dots.

"And what the purple dots are is a later period of rifting. These complexes have these weird chemistries and have these very, very strange minerals in them," she adds.

In Denmark, pigs outnumber people 2 to 1. No traditional Danish meal would be complete without something wrapped in, wrapped around, or topped with pork.

In 2012, the country exported close to $6 billion in pig meat, a figure that includes "carcasses" — which leads to the question: What does one do with a pig carcass?

All this is by way of explaining the hubbub that erupted following a recent headline: "Day Cares Ban Pork."

Forget touch screens and voice recognition — what if you could control your computer just by looking at it? Gaze-based interaction has been around for 20 years, used mainly by people with disabilities. But the technology could be available to the masses soon, allowing users to move a cursor with their eyes, or turn the pages of an e-book without lifting a finger.

Toothbutter: noun. Butter spread so thickly as to reveal teeth marks upon biting.

The fact that this word exists in the Danish language should help to explain what politicians were up against when they introduced the "fat tax" just over a year ago. This is a country that loves it some butter (and meat, and all things dreadful to the arteries).

In the U.S., Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the race to Christmas (unless you happen to decorate department stores, then it starts in October). But in Denmark, the Christmas race starts tonight.

Wherever you look these days, it seems labels that strive to send a message about our food are on the table. In California, there's a vote coming up on whether genetically modified foods should be labeled. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission updated its guidelines for "green" labeling.