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In Cod We Trust: Living the Norwegian Dream

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  264 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
"Eric Dregni's great-grandfather Ellef fled Norway in 1893 when it was the poorest country in Europe. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson traveled back to find that (mostly due to oil and natural gas discoveries) it is now the richest. The circumstances of his return were serendipitous; the notice that Dregni won a Fulbright Fellowship for a year arrived ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 22nd 2008 by University of Minnesota Press (first published 2008)
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Aug 15, 2009 Justine rated it it was ok
Well-intentioned and sweet, but weak. My grandma was Norwegian, I eat herring at the new year, I love Kings of Convenience, and I have often fantasized about living in Norway. I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, it gave me the impression that it was written at the last minute to fulfill whatever Fulbright obligations Dregni had. Bits of trivia are weakly linked together to fill space between unsatisfying anecdotes. Many passages are unclear. The last paragraph of one chapter comple ...more
Dec 18, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I flat-out adored this book, but it's probably because I'm really, really biased. Like me, Eric Dregni is a Norwegian-American who grew up in the Twin Cities. While getting his MFA in Creative Writing at the U, Dregni wins a Fulbright Scholarship that allows him and his wife to live in Trondheim, Norway for a year. He then writes about his experiences and publishes this book, which is a funny and fascinating memoir about exploring the culture of your ancestors. I honestly think that anyone would ...more
Jan 03, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
Oofta! What a fun read! Having a Norske background with tastebuds for lutefisk and lefse is not required to enjoy this Norwegian author's sense of humor, but if you fall in that particular genetic strain this book is doubly fun to read. Amongst the chuckles you just might learn about the culture of present day Norwegians which may reveal our own American culture in a different light (or lack of light depending on the time of year!).
Jan 23, 2009 Shana rated it really liked it
Eric and Katy move to Norway on a Fulbright fellowship. Adding a pregnant woman, then newborn to the mix makes for an entertaining tale. As one with some Norwegian ancestry, many of the stories were familiar. Not sure how I'd do with the dark winters! I do think the U.S. has something to learn from the Norwegians when it comes to childbirth and family leave.....
Lucy Wilson
A good book if you want a brief introduction into Norway but not a great book. I would say that the best thing about this book is the witty title and from there on it reads much like a personal diary. I expected more insight into Norwegian culture as opposed to the US.
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Feb 12, 2015 Tess Mertens-Johnson rated it it was amazing
Oh yeah by golly. Oh Geez. This book is so Minnisoootan.
Eric Dregni is a third generation Norwegian.
He lives in MN and he receives the Fulbright Fellowship to study one year in Norway. His wife Katy is pregnant, and they go to several classes to ready themselves for the trip.
Once there, they find the attitude and friendliness very different than “Minnesota nice”. They find out the government pays 100% of a birth, and the non-working Katy get $145.00 US dollars for being pregnant. The government
Jan 26, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok
I really liked the idea of this book, but in practice it didn't really work for me. The premise is interesting to me, as I'm a little bit Norwegian and I've been interested in visiting Norway, so learning about the differences between MN and Norway was fun. The book itself, though, was strangely put together and didn't really have much flow between chapters, they each felt like separate, unconnected essays. I also got annoyed because it seemed like the author fell back on the "I'm an idiot dude" ...more
I've come across Eric Dregni before by way of his book on Lake Minnetonka. In Cod We Trust is most similar to Bill Bryson's travel-related books. Not quite as snarky, and perhaps most funny and insightful for Midwesterners who either consider themselves Scandinavian or will recognize all of the ways those immigrant forefathers continue to influence the sub-culture of the Midwest today.

A loosely connected collection of chapters, detailing Dregni's experiences during his year in Norway as a Ful
Ted L.
Feb 09, 2014 Ted L. rated it liked it
An enjoyable book.

Eric Dregni wins a Fulbright Fellowship to study for a year in Trondheim Norway. Taking his pregnant wife along for the ride, Dregni researches his Norwegian ancestry, meets long lost relatives, and recounts it all in a humorous travelogue.

One discovery is that Lutefisk enjoys the same place in Norwegian society in Norway as in Minnesota. A few folks are devoted Lutefisk enthusiasts and everyone else spends the year dreading the one annual and unavoidable Christmas meal of the
Linda Johnson
Feb 10, 2016 Linda Johnson rated it liked it
This was a fun, quick read for anyone of Norwegian ancestry, especially those who's relatives immigrated to Minnesota or North Dakota. My mother is straight off the boat Norwegian so this little book had my name written all over it! Interestingly enough, the author spent a year in Trondheim and having traveled to Norway 3x myself, I have spent quite a bit of time in Trondheim and still have relatives there!
Reading this book taught me some new Norwegian words and customs that I hadn't heard of b
Mar 04, 2009 Kiri rated it it was ok
I might be being hard on this book, with the 2 star review... but it didn't do a lot for me. I didn't feel transported into the Norwegian experience, didn't feel a great deal of insight into the immigrant life... Dregni's writing style is fairly detached, probably deliberately light and amusing, but the absence of any real meditation on what it all means left me with... not much. I would have appreciated more scholarship rather than the superficial travelogue.
Mar 01, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it
This book is a delightful treatise about why Norwegian-Americans call themselves simply "Norwegian", even after 4 generations since immigrating. Dregni spent a year researching and chronicling both Norwegian history and current culture as a Fulbright Fellow on both sides of the ocean.I think my father would have loved it, and I'm considering sending a copy to my former college roomate, who still lives in Norway.
Dec 08, 2012 Kathee rated it liked it
Not particularly good wordplay but Dregni does do a nice, brave job of sharing his general experience as an American living in Trondheim. Having lived there myself years ago, I did enjoy both revisiting via the description of a familiar venue as well as the insight he provided about certain details. I definitely learned things through which I might reframe my own experience, which can be valuable. Fascinated by tidbits about local dialect, Trondersk --so different from standard Norwegian.
Jan 08, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to live in Norway
Recommended to Mike by: no one found at random
This was a great book on the adventures of the author and his wife and his search for where his family came from. Added to the mix is the fact his wife is pregnant and the reader has a look at how the Norwegian government treats its people in regards to healthcare -- very well I might add. Recommended for anyone who wants to read about life in another country and its ways and customs.
Nov 07, 2011 Laurie rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. I even went to an author reading a couple of years after I read it to change my mind. Nope.

The observations were trite and superficial. He generalized the behavior and character traits of all Norwegians based on a few acquaintances.

I'm not sure the Fulbright organization got its money's worth.
Jan 25, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it
Sons of Norway book for January. I liked Amy's review: This was a fun little book. I have Norwegian ancestors and would love to have the opportunity he had. I do have to say I wanted to know more, mainly because I want to go to Norway and absorb everything I can. It was very interesting to hear how they lived their lives for the year's visit. Brrr.
Jun 17, 2013 Erica rated it liked it
A light, entertaining read. Probably only of interest to Norwegian Americans. While I generally liked the book I would have loved to hear him delve more deeply into some of the cultural issues he raised, bats about a bit, and then dismisses in favor of more scatter shot observations about life in Trondheim.

Hope his son started sleeping better at some point.
Oct 02, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
This was a fun little book. I have Norwegian ancestors and would love to have the opportunity he had. I do have to say I wanted to know more. Mainly because I want to go to Norway and want to absorb everything I can before I go over there. It was very interesting to hear how they live their lives over there. I can't wait to visit!
Jul 27, 2012 Elaine rated it liked it
This is the story of Eric's adventures in Trondheim, Norway as a Fulbright student. I was more than happy to read about his cultural discoveries and blunders because my own son, Erik, lived in Trondheim for a semester a few years ago, and my husband Tom and I just returned from our own cultural experience in Ankara, Turkey.
Jan 02, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Cute. A young Minnesota couple spends a year in Norway on a Fullbright grant. They had a baby, so had first-hand experience of the Norwegian health care system. Cross-country skiing in Norway---the trails marked "easy" in Norway would be considered double black diamonds in Minnesota. The "dark time" (long nights in winter) is hard to imagine. A quick read.
Jun 18, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
Delightful, informative little book. I am not Norwegian but living in MN and being married to a Norwegian, I can vouch for the authenticity when describing the charachteristics of Norwegians here! Very quick, easy read.
Jan 20, 2014 Gtpaulson rated it it was amazing
I smiled as I read this book. As a Norwegian American (on my father's side) my childhood was revisited..... Norwegian food! On rare occasion, thankfully, my mother and father would produce a true Norwegian meal and the five kids would squirm in their chairs until we were dismissed.
Dec 28, 2010 Brittany rated it it was amazing
A great little story about a guy and his pregnant wife who moves to Norway for a year. It shares a lot about what to expect for cultural differences as well as experiencing their food and arctic living. A cute light read.
May 25, 2013 Randi rated it liked it
Contemporary memoir of college student with wife (and baby born in Norway) spending a year in Norway -- where his great-grandfather had immigrated from 100+ years before. Lightweight, but humorous. Really a collection of anecdotes showing contemporary Norwegian life and culture.
Jan 14, 2009 Beth rated it liked it
Being of Norwegian heritage, of course I enjoyed this book. It helped explain why some of my family members are the way they are. Good for anyone who is Norwegian or interested in Scandaniva in general.
Oct 16, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
Stories about an American couple living for a year in TRONDHEIM (where I am moving!). I definitely laughed out loud and found myself nodding in agreement to many of the observations of the author. If you want a little taste of what life in Norway is like (granted, a bit dramatized), check it out!
Jan 24, 2015 Shawn rated it really liked it
The book at 216 pages was nice, light reading, and I actually learned alot about Norway. It's a very progressive country, high taxes, but your health care and schooling is free! I wouldn't like the food though, lots of herring, cod, moose and reindeer on the menu, with little fruit or veggies!
Jan 05, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it
Eric travels to “homeland” of Norway to study for a year on a Fulbright grant to study the humble Norwegians with pregnant wife in tow. Eilif is born there, named for his great-grandfather – enjoyable, light read
Dec 19, 2011 Liam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dregni seems a reluctant observer, spending his year in Norway being suspicious of Norwegian culture rather than attempting to understand or involve himself in it. The book lacks a clear structure, reading more like related vignettes than a narrative, but it was a pleasant, readable book.
Mar 18, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a light pleasant travel memoir of a fellow who goes to Norway with his pregnant wife. Some of the stories were laugh-out-lough funny.
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Eric Dregni has written nine books including Midwest Marvels, The Scooter Bible, Ads that Put America on Wheels, and Grazie a Dio non Sono Bolognese. As a 2004 Fulbright Fellow to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Eric researched Scandinavian culture and roots for a forthcoming book. His time is divided between Italy, Norway, and Minneapolis where he is the curator f ...more
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