Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Kitchen Stories

(Salmer fra kjøkkenet, Sweden/Norway, 2003)

In the early 1950s the Swedish government conducted studies of housewives to find ways of making their work more efficient. They liked the results so much that, for some reason known only to the bureaucratic mind, they decided to study the kitchens and work habits of Norwegian bachelor farmers. You know, the guys who grow the wheat that’s used in Powdermilk Biscuits, which give shy people the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. (Heavens, they’re tasty, and expeditious!) It’s like anthropology. Guys go out into the snowy countryside with tiny trailers to live in (no fraternization allowed), and sit up on ridiculous high chairs to record every movement. They are not even allowed to speak.

The situation is wonderfully hilarious. The basic insanity of the situation builds and builds for scientist Folke, and farmer Isak, and Folke eventually can’t resist “going native,” as anyone but a total monster would.

Very funny, and also touching.