Today, Norway’s very own Julia Child, Ingrid Espelid Hovig, celebrates her 90th birthday. For 32 years, Mrs. Hovig has taught several generations of Norwegians how to fillet fish, boil potatoes, make gravy and garnish. In 1994, she was awarded the Knight, First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.
Mrs. Hovig led the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) program called “Fjernsynskjøkkenet” (Television Kitchen) from 1964 to 1996, and she has written and contributed to over 50 cookbooks.
– I started working for NRK in 1964, and it was a great place to work. I got to travel to the U.S. and was fortunate to get to know Julia Child, who was a famous chef and cookbook author. So I have experienced many things, which is good because the day has so many hours. Many evenings, weekends and holidays have I been writing cookbooks because I love my job. And also – Den Rutete Kokeboken (The Checkered Cookbook) is my baby, she tells newspaper VG.
Many people will claim that no Norwegian home is complete without Den Rutete Kokeboken.
Working as chef was an important part of Mrs. Hovig’s life and it was here that she met her 25 “adoptive children” – among them master chefs Eyvind Hellstrøm and Bent Stiansen – who still makes her very happy.
– To me happiness is feeling healthy. My recently broken arm and generally bad legs are things that happen, but to have a healthy mind and good friends creates a good environment. And my friends are very good at taking care of their “old mother”. It is great for old people to have some younger friends, because when you are 90 there are not many childhood friends who are ‘still going strong’, she says.
Many years have passed since she resigned in television and eventually retired – but she has continued cooking. She is named “Norges matmor” (Norway’s Mom) and is well-loved for her everyday recipes. She kept it simple – that is how she likes it.
On her 90th birthday, Mrs. Hovig will be honored by the government for her long and tireless pursuit of healthy food and nutrition. She will spend the day with her family, friends and old colleagues. Minister of Health and Care Services Bent Høie will be honoring Ingrid Espelid Hovig on behalf of the Norwegian people.
See episode from Fjernsynskjøkkenet in 1987 where Ingrid Espelid Hovig prepares a light summer dish.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Photos from top: Nils Bjåland/VG, NRK