Food and the World – Photo Essay from Norway – Without nourishment we cannot survive, neither in body nor in mind – by Cassie Mahlberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at and

Food and the World – Photo Essay from Norway – Without nourishment we cannot survive, neither in body nor in mind – by Cassie Mahlberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at and

As I have explained in previous articles, food has granted me the ability to form many connections on vacation and in my home abroad. But life is complicated and not all meals are shared with others. Someone mentioned in a comment on one of my articles that they admire that I take the time to cook and create these bonds through food. How can we afford not to? I realize the inconvenience of cooking actual meals that are in some way fulfilling, but the amount of money you save by cooking at home is unreal. So I sacrifice some time, but it really makes me feel better to know that I am in charge of what I cook and eat. Where does this time come from though?

I am not working while I am here except at an internship (where I get free food) once a week, but I do go to university 3 days per week, 2 of which last from about 10am until 7pm. Obviously I have homework to do, and I want to be social, so how do I make time to cook? Cooking is a nice time to relax because you know that you absolutely have to eat and when you can’t afford to eat out, you have to make your own food. There’s no voice that can say “You don’t deserve to cook, you should be doing something more productive,” because your body is useless without sustenance. My cooking time probably cuts into my Netflix or social media time to tell the truth, but I’m that much healthier for it. When I was most stressed at home, I would typically eat fast food a lot because it was easiest, but here I get to make it a point to cook for myself, slow myself down, and take care of my needs. I recommend everyone try for one week to prepare all of their own meals because it is easier than it seems and it is fun. But when I really don’t have a moment to spare, I can always grab the reliable ol’ frozen pizza to pop in the oven while I do other things and there is nothing wrong with that either. Thanks for all of the support!

1. Breakfast potatoes with bell peppers and onions, eggs with mushrooms and onions
2. “California” cheeseburger with homemade french fries
3. Lunch meat sandwiches for lunch
4. Mushroom, onion, and Jarlsberg (closest cheese to our Swiss) cheeseburger with homemade sweet potato fries
5. Syrian style “meatloaf” burger, rice, and green beans
6. Corn-flake crusted chicken and green beans
7. Chicken fried rice
8. Vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries and hard shell chocolate
9. Cinnamon sugar tortilla chips with apple pie dip
10. Frozen pizza (mushrooms added) and paper writing

Cassie serves as a special correspondent for NSR.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports

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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy ( is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our guiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five years we have published over 300 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our volunteer student editors and writers come from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors ( We have an all volunteer staff. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang and NSR Student Editors and Writers. For a brief summary of our history, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports. Ellie Swanson and Marin Ekstrom, Assistant Managing Editors, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is fully funded by an annual donation from Professor Liang. The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy.


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14 responses to “Food and the World – Photo Essay from Norway – Without nourishment we cannot survive, neither in body nor in mind – by Cassie Mahlberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at and

    • Rylee Whitney

      It’s been great following your story through NSR! You truly have a passion for food that I envy. Growing up, my mom always babied me because I was the youngest, so she always cooked for me and took care of me and many other ways. It was not until I started living on my own that I really started to cook by myself. I still do not do it enough though. My best friend and I have a terrible habit of spending all of our money eating out and hardly ever buying any groceries. Your story really has inspired me to go out on a limb and cook more. I think you share a great point when you tell how cooking allows you to have some nice peaceful alone time. I think we could all take time to unplug from Netflix and social media to simply dive into a delicious meal that you prepare yourself. It really gives a lot of value to the food you eat and you create an awesome new part of your identity of being a conscious consumer of what you eat. Thanks for all the great stories!
      Rylee Whitney

    • Katrina Lund

      Your passion for cooking and eating shines through in your words and I can tell nourishment is something you take very seriously for yourself. This is super admirable and I think it’s wonderful you have such a healthy working relationship with food. It’s super hard figuring out how and what to cook with your time during the first few years away from home. I know that when I’m taking advantage of ease and speed my body is probably suffering for it. I liked that you pointed out food is something nobody can deny you must attend to. I would like to take more time to think about what I’m giving my body to run on, and I probably should. There are factors about my life that make this both easy and hard. Interesting to think of ways you are prevented from properly fueling yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  1. Sebrin Ahmed

    The foods in all the pictures look very yummy Cassie. I might even take one or two of those meals and try to replicate or even better add my own twist to them. I definitely agree on cooking at home saves you so much money. Its just a little over a month and a half in and I have already run out of dinning dollars. However, as you said being occupied with and internship and the heavy college course load, it gets hard to take the time to cook, but that shouldn’t discourage us from eating a healthy well cooked home meal.

  2. Ben Burner


    Thanks again for sharing this article. All of the food you made looks amazing and makes me hungry. Your schedule in Norway does not look easy and it must be difficult to get home and cook every night. I also enjoy to cook and you are right it is relaxing. Your trip sounds like a lot of fun and a great experience. I am glad you have had fun so far and hope the rest of the semester is good. Thanks again for sharing.


  3. Jenna Proulx

    When reading your point about how making food saves a lot of money. I tend to think about families who feel forced to eat fast food because they can not afford anything else. I have always pondered this idea because one can buy a decent amount of staple foods for even less than a meal at McDonalds. Because of this, perhaps it is not all about the money but rather the short satisfaction fast food provides someone the fact of saving time. What do you think about this? I look up to you for making your own food; I wish I was better that that myself. Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

  4. Angela Pecarina

    Thank you Cassie! Your article reminded me that I should cook more. I am very busy like we all are at this time of the year but with graduation looming over my shoulder and grad school applications I feel I have no time to cook. I appreciate the points you made in your paragraph that you really have no excuse not to cook for yourself. I like that. I know I could probably find more time or wake up earlier to get back into it. It was a lot easier in the summer in comparison to the school year. But we are all going through the same thing! (:

  5. Tamer Mische-Richter


    I am totally on board that cooking is a great time to slow down. Much of today’s life feels rushed and there are constantly noses in phones. I take the time to cook for myself and significant other 5 out of 7 nights a week, often making breakfast and lunch too. Its so much fun in my mind. There’s always people hustling and bustling through the kitchen because they’re in a rush. Plus, the food you make has an additional value when you are able to sit down and enjoy the meal you made.

  6. Lydia Liubakka

    To start, great photos they are making me hungry! I like the point you bring up about finding time to cook through limiting the time you spend on Netflix or social media. I often make excuses to not cook at home because of the amount of homework I have or something like that, and my bank account does suffer. I also find myself getting stuck in a rut with cooking because I make the same three dishes over and over. I admire the people who can just look at a fridge of ingredients and just whip something up. Cooking is truly an art form and something that takes practice to excel in.

  7. Gabrielle Trelstad


    This is such a great post. It is fun to read about and see the different meals that you prepare. You make such a good point about taking the time to cook meals for yourself. While cooking is more time consuming than ordering food, it is cheaper, oftentimes much healthier, and is, in a way, relaxing.

    Thank you for sharing your story!


  8. Madina Tall

    Hi Cassie!
    I think one of the most important things you highlighted here was the importance of thinking about and appreciating the value of time. Often times, we we forget to slow ourselves down in a society where speed is a talent. I love that you realize and explain the importance of real sustenance rather than just looking for a quick fix. We are all inclined to do what is easiest but I commend you for truly sticking to a routine. Have a great rest of your time!

  9. Katie Peterson

    First of all, I really enjoyed all of the pictures of your food! Second, I agree that it is hard to balance everything and still be able to cook a good meal. I’ve found that it is stressful to make time to cook food while balancing school, work, and time for myself/friends. I look forward to the day that I no longer have homework looming over me. Because I know I have to do these things–such as clean my apartment and cook food to eat–I will often put on my headphones and listen to a podcast while I’m doing these things so that I can get something done and still feel like I’m enjoying my time. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Levi Scott

    Hello Cassie,

    I envy your cooking skills. It was just recently that I learned how to make some of the basics. My typical diet consists of a lot of eating out and Ramen. I wish that I had the patience to whip up some meals like these. I always try to expand the list of entrees that I can cook, but I feel like there is not enough time in the day. Congrats on the many tasteful dishes!

  11. Karl

    Hello Cassie,

    Thank you for sharing about your cooking! I love to cook my own meals. It can be a struggle at times when you’re exhausted after a long day of school and hockey but I love to have the ability to control what is going into my body. As an athlete, this is extremely important. Even as I get older, being in the habit of cooking for myself will be beneficial to my overall health.

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