Popular hot dog stand Bæjarins Beztu hired extra security last night in preparation for the arrival of the ninth Yule Lad, Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Swiper). “We couldn’t afford losses like last year,” said the vendor on duty, Jói, when the Grapevine caught up with him last night. “He cleared us out, all the hot dogs, just gone. I’d only worked at Bæjarins Beztu a few months when Bjúgnakrækir hit us last year. One minute I’m selling a hot dog ‘with everything’ and the next I’m waking up on the floor and the whole place has been turned over. He ate it all.” Two bodyguards have been hired to guard the hot dog stand. One posted at the front window and another at the back door. Both are confident they will be able to protect the hot dogs from the elusive sausage burglar. Bjúgnakrækir is known for hanging off the rafters of farmsteads and swiping the sausages while they were being smoked. Although he has continued to pilfer sausages from people’s homes, last year his behaviour escalated when he struck what is arguably Iceland’s most popular hot dog stand and stole almost a 1000 hot dogs. Bjúgnakrækir was caught on security cameras and identified by the Metropolitan Police who have had an outstanding arrest warrant since last December. Bæjarins Beztu are known for their vigilance, just this past month they remained open during one of the worst storms to hit the country in many years. “I won’t be caught unawares again,” said Jói. “I volunteered for this shift specifically because I plan on being ready this time. He’s my Moby Dick.” The Grapevine was unable to contact Bjúgnakrækir who is still on the loose. If you or your family would like to meet Bjúgnakrækir, he will be making his annual visit to the National Museum of Iceland at 11 am today. Just make sure you lock away your sausages before you leave the house. The Yulevine Calendar Day 1: Stekkjastaur Turns Down Össur Prosthetic Day 2: Giljagaur Doesn’t Understand How Monopolies Work, Still Has Opinions Day 3: Stúfur Considering Legally Changing His Name Day 4: Þvörusleikir Shares Top 5 Holiday Uses For Wooden Spoons Day 5: Pottaskefill Publishes Neo-Luddite Manifesto Day 6: Askasleikir Unveils New Omaggio Askur Day 7: Hurðaskellir Releases Debut Album: Door Sounds Day 8: Skyrgámur Shares Seasonal Skyr Cake Recipe
There has been a sharp increase in the number of admissions at Landspítalinn, the National University Hospital of Iceland’s emergency room in the past few days after accidents caused by icy roads and pavements. The City of Reykjavík have been receiving about 700 phone calls each day to deal with the excessive snow, reports RÚV. Tens of vehicles and machines are used to plough the snow and clear the streets and pavements of ice. The snow ploughing begins at 4 am and continues through the evening. Regardless, a lot of the people admitted have been pedestrians who suffered injuries after slipping on icy pavements, especially the elderly who have trouble walking already. Many of the people admitted have suffered broken legs and more seriously – broken hips. Doctors are therefore asking the public to assist their relatives and friends with their Christmas shopping, especially if they have trouble moving or getting around in the bad weather.
Hotel Reykjavík Marina, owned by Icelandair, has apologised for the name of its “Apartheid” cocktail, after the online medium Africa Is A Country tweeted about it, submitting a photograph as evidence: The Apartheid cocktail, on sale at the Marina Hotel, Reykjavik (owner: @Icelandair) pic.twitter.com/IyrQkx60bU — AFRICA IS A COUNTRY (@AfricasaCountry) December 19, 2014 Icelandair’s first response was not an apology however. After @AfricasaCountry’s tweet, but before the apology, whoever handles Icelandair’s account tweeted back, apparently missing the point completely: “Simply scrumptious, enjoy!” Icelandair offered, adding: “Happy Holidays”: @AfricasaCountry Simply scrumptious, enjoy! Happy Holidays — Icelandair (@Icelandair) December 19, 2014 In the words of some other Twitter users: @Icelandair @AfricasaCountry DID THIS JUST HAPPEN?? — Rachel Hamada (@rachelhamada) December 19, 2014 @Icelandair @AfricasaCountry are you also planning slavery punch or nazi shots? This is very offensive. Apartheid is crime against humanity. — Alwin Wiederhold (@Alwinner) December 19, 2014 WOW I HOPE YOUR AIRLINE FAILS LIKE YOUR COUNTRY'S ECONOMY DID IN 2008 @Icelandair @kanye @AfricasaCountry — mohabbat makonnen (@draupadie) December 19, 2014 @geographyjazz @AfricasaCountry @Icelandair Gets all nominations in the 'ignorance' awards. — Theuri Ndonga (@fdude85) December 19, 2014 — and so, duly, on. So, well, now, what then? How to prove that your Nordic airline or its affiliates do not condone racism, when evidence seems to suggest that it does? How about inadvertently revealing that not your conglomeration, per se, but your whole country’s school system is to blame? “We apologize,” @Icelandair tweeted again: “Our Iceland-based team member was unaware of word’s meaning. We have contacted the hotel to remove the drink”: @AfricasaCountry We apologize. Our Iceland-based team member was unaware of word's meaning. We have contacted the hotel to remove the drink — Icelandair (@Icelandair) December 19, 2014 Africa Is A Country replied with the question: “Can you find out what your team member thought it meant? It’s a very specific term.” – to which Icelandair responded that “She thought the word just meant separation and did not understand the connotation and historical significance”: @AfricasaCountry She thought the word just meant separation and did not understand the connotation and historical significance. — Icelandair (@Icelandair) December 19, 2014 In the words of user @AwakeBlackWoman: @Icelandair @robtashima I was an 11 year old American middle class girl and I knew what apartheid was. Also, where's your oversight team? — Awake Black Woman (@AwakeBlackWoman) December 19, 2014 Time Online’s Digital Operations Editor Sarah Begley (@SCBegley) added: “For the record, “separation” apparently tastes like vodka, stout liqueur, cream and roasted hazelnuts.” Africa Is A Country asked its followers to recommend some reading material to “@Icelandair & their team … in order to better understand the meaning of “Apartheid”?” Africa Is A Country’s own suggestion of French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s “Racism’s Last Word” gained traction. The essay’s opening line reads: “APARTHEID—may that remain the name from now on, the unique appellation for the ultimate racism in the world, the last of many.”
A container intended to accommodate doctors at Landspítalinn fell off a truck by Miklabraut, Reykjavík, Friday morning. This was reported by RÚV. Luckily, the container fell on a slip road and did thereby not seriously disturb traffic. Eighteen containers are currently being stacked on the hospital’s premises by Hringbraut, for doctors’ offices. Strike and negotiations Doctors at State hospitals started their first strike action ever late October. So far, negotiations between doctors and State have not produced results. On Friday morning, representatives of the Icelandic Medical Association met with representatives of the State to continue negotiations. Last week, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson expressed hopes that negotiations might be concluded before Christmas. Commentators have suggested negotiations might be accelerated now that Alþingi has voted for next year’s Treasury budget. Perhaps accordingly, this Friday afternoon, ministers met with Gunnar Björnsson, Chair of the State Negotiations Committee, and Magnús Pétursson, State Mediator, on Friday afternoon. Surgeons have scheduled a negotiation meeting this Saturday morning.
The 250 machine guns acquired from Norway, by the Coast Guard, to share with Iceland’s Police forces, have not been returned as intended. According to the Coast Guard’s public relations manager, they are waiting for an opportunity to ship the guns back without paying hefty shipping fees. This was reported by Vísir. This October, DV broke the news of the acquired weapons and plans within the Police to arm general patrol cars with the MP5 submachine guns. Traditionally, most Police officers have served unarmed, but are backed up, when needed, by special forces. A dispute then arose between authorities within the Norwegian Army, and the Icelandic Coast Guard, as to whether latter had bought the guns or received them as a gift. Norway said they expected payment, whereas the Coast Guard contended that paying would not be in line with a long-standing honorary arrangement between the countries, and that Norway’s invoice was a mere formality, for book-keeping purposes. As neither country backed from their claim, the Coast Guard announced that it would return the guns, and seek offers elsewhere. Since the 2008 economic crash, the Coast Guard has taken measures to supplement its limited funding, for example by renting its vessels to patrol migration on the Mediterranean.
For centuries, each Christmas, I have indulged in Iceland’s greatest culinary innovation, Skyr. Now, this beloved strained yoghurt continues to gain popularity across continents. Earlier this year MS Iceland Dairies (Mjólkursamsalan) predicted that 60 million pots of skyr would be sold internationally and 8 million pots domestically. I’ve posted a number of my personal skyr recipes on my food blog, Skyrgámur’s Scrumptious Skyr Secrets, but in honour of the upcoming season I’m guest blogging here on the Grapevine to share my Ultimate Christmas Skyr Cake – Enjoy! Skyrgámur’s Ultimate Christmas Skyr Cake Ingredients Base 200 g (7 ounces) Dates, pitted 200 g (7 ounces) Almonds 40 g (1.5 ounces) Walnuts 40 g (1.5 ounces) Pecans Skyr Filling 500 g (17.5 ounces) of plain Skyr 250 ml (1 cup) Cream (Rjómi) 0.5 dl (4 tbsp) Full Fat Milk 2 Medium Sized Eggs 80 g (1/2 cup) Sugar 8 Gelatin Sheets 1 Vanilla pod Spices 1 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon ½ Teaspoon ground Nutmeg ¼ Teaspoon ground Cloves Dash of All Spice, though it’s optional Topping 1 Apple, sliced into thin wedges Directions Heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit). Line your 20-23 cm (8-9 inch) round spring form with baking paper. Toss those nuts in the food processor. Give them a whirl then add the dates and pulse until you have a dough. Press the dough into your spring form and pop it in the fridge to cool. While you get the filling going, put the gelatin sheets in a bowl of water to soften them. In a bowl mix together the Skyr, Eggs, Vanilla, Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and All Spice. In a separate bowl whip the Cream. Then fold the whipped cream into the Skyr mix but be gentle. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and once you have squeezed the excess water from them add the softened gelatin sheets. Melt the gelatin sheets over a low heat until completely dissolved. While you whisk your gelatin and milk mix, slowly pour it into the skyr and cream mix. Place in the fridge overnight, at least 8 hours. Alternatively you can pop it in the freezer, it should keep for up to 4 weeks, though I can’t see why you’d wait that long. Now, to the Apple. Line an oven plate with baking paper. Lay out the thin apple slices and dust them lightly with sugar and cinnamon. Bake them until crisp and once the cake has cooled for the recommended time, use the apple crisps to garnish the cake. If you or your family would like to meet Skyrgámur, he will be making his annual visit to the National Museum of Iceland at 11 am today. The Yulevine Calendar Day 1: Stekkjastaur Turns Down Össur Prosthetic Day 2: Giljagaur Doesn’t Understand How Monopolies Work, Still Has Opinions Day 3: Stúfur Considering Legally Changing His Name Day 4: Þvörusleikir Shares Top 5 Holiday Uses For Wooden Spoons Day 5: Pottaskefill Publishes Neo-Luddite Manifesto Day 6: Askasleikir Unveils New Omaggio