This sort of thinking, and these sorts of experiments, are at the heart of Redzepi and Meyer’s Nordic Food Lab. The nonprofit studies uses for overlooked or unappreciated local products — foodstuffs people might formerly have considered “weeds” or “trash fish” or “scraps.”
“Right now, we’re looking at insects,” Williams said. “Why are insects not part of the European diet?”
Williams fed me some insects, which, were crunchy and harmless, and which I could see providing texture to the dish. He served me a “vintage carrot,” one that had remained long in the ground, that had then been slow cooked to the consistency of meat. We tasted dried kelp, dried woodruff, and coarum, a fish sauce dating from Roman times made from the discards of fish heads and tails and guts. He also fed me a bright carrot juice vinegar that had been fermenting with the same frightening bacteria used in the starter for kombucha tea. “In Scandinavia, vinegars are a traditional way of seasoning food,” he said.