Ballard's Daytona Strong creates Scandinavian Affinity Group for locals who miss gathering
With all the uncertainty still hovering around when pandemic gathering restrictions will be a thing of the past, a Ballard-area woman is creating a special online community for those with an interest in Scandinavian life and culture. The Heart & Huset is now open for founding members, until Monday night (March 29, 2021, at 9pm PST).
“It’s no secret that those with Scandinavian roots—or who just appreciate the culture—love to gather,” said Daytona Strong. “If the local lodges of Scandinavian organizations are any indication, there’s quite a tight-knit community that develops when people with a common affinity for all things Scandinavian come together.”
However, the gathering restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic have required everyone to adapt in some way, and no one has been spared some sort of impact, including the Scandinavian and Nordic businesses and organizations in the Ballard area, such as the National Nordic Museum, Scandinavian Specialties, Larsen’s Bakery, the Syttende Mai festival that takes place each May, and other cultural groups and organizations in the area.
With Syttende Mai around the corner—which will be the second year that the event won’t draw thousands of people to Ballard for the in-person festivities—a local resident has created a new community that unites people no matter their location to create their best Scandinavian-style life in community. And while it’s an online membership, it promises to be intimate, engaging, and active in a very special way.
Daytona Strong began working on The Heart & Huset as the pandemic lockdowns in March 2020 were beginning. And one year later, she’s rolling out access to the community to founding members for a limited time.
The Heart & Huset is an engaged, intimate membership community of people who love their Scandinavian roots (or just Scandi culture!) and want to infuse their lives and homes with more of the warmth and hospitality they've experienced in their encounters with the heritage and lifestyle.
In a nutshell, here are some of the features to look forward to:
- The Kitchen Counter - Each month, receive recipes and menus created and curated by a Norwegian-American food writer and cookbook writer with over 11 years of specializing in Scandinavian food.
- Heritage at Home - There's more to hygge, fika, and other Scandi concepts than cozy blankets and tasty treats. Through interviews with experts, plus exercises and activities exclusively for members, you'll learn ways to make your life and home look more Scandinavian than ever.
- Scandi Book Club - Read and discuss books in our Scandi-centric book club, where we'll explore a variety of genres and topics and hear from authors and experts on what we're reading.
- Storytelling School - Your family history matters--and so does your story. Learn to capture and package those stories in meaningful ways through guest interviews and a special course that Daytona will be rolling out in the months to come (included with founding membership).
- The Craft Room - From rosemaling to the beautiful needlework on the bunad of your dreams, there's much to appreciate in the handiwork of our heritage. You'll hear stories from artists and experts, share tips and resources, and have a chance to show off your own skills in a member gallery.
- Fika Friday - Join us for our private monthly virtual "fika," in which we'll get to know each other while discussing a topic and enjoying the month's special fika recipe, provided in advance.
“Years ago, when I wanted to take a deeper dive into my Norwegian heritage, I would have loved a community like this,” Strong says. “Basically, I've created a resource that I hope will serve both those wanting to learn more about their heritage and those who simply want to meet other like-minded people who love all things Scandinavian.”
Founding membership is open until Monday, March 29, at 9pm PST, and costs $22 a month. You can learn more at www.theheartandhuset.com.
About The Heart & Huset’s creator: Strong, who lives in the greater Ballard area, is a journalist-turned-food writer who specializes in Scandinavian food and the connection between food and heritage. She began her career as a writer and producer for a morning television newscast in Seattle. She eventually traded breaking news for food writing and is recognized as a trusted source on Scandinavian cooking. She’s the author of two cookbooks, including Modern Scandinavian Baking, and runs the beloved Scandinavian food blog Outside Oslo (www.outside-oslo.com).