The Primacy of Sweet Rolls

Each morning last week in Denmark, Thomas and Henrick would meet me with coffee and two bags. One held dry, white hardrolls, and the other held sweet rolls. You and I might call the latter “Danishes” (which the Danes hate). They call them “snails,” since they’re wrapped up like a snail. In either case, that’s what we had for breakfast.

We’d sit down, and one of them would tear open the bags. They’d start with the dry rolls, maybe with some butter or jam, and I’d go for the sweet roll first.

Finally, on the third day of this, I asked them, “Why do you eat those shitty dry rolls first?”

They smiled and said, “What you’re doing is very wrong. One never eats the snail first. You start with a hard roll. Then, if there are any sweet rolls left, you can have one.”

“That’s crazy!” I said. “You should eat the sweet one first, then if you’re still hungry you can eat a hard roll.”

They just smiled and looked at me like I was a gluttonous American. I, meanwhile, ate my snail and thought about the miraculous wine at the Cana wedding…

  • Studenterpræst

    It´s called the “breakfast sin” to start we the sweet rolls – you have to start with the healthy stuff first. Tony it´s a spiritual disciplin to wait for the good stuff… live out in praksis of breakfast ;o)It also goes with the danish brown (rugbrød) and white bread – you have to eat the brown before you eat the white.Henrik

  • Chris Petty

    Tony, I should be thanking YOU!!!! Your book is great, I loved it. I haven’t been a youth minister for a long time and a book like that is just what I need.Great blog, by the way! You da man!

  • Arni

    Tony, you are making me so homesick! As a theology student from the Faroe Islands, one of the three countries in the Danish Kingdom, exiled in Aberdeen, hearing about Danish breakfast brings back so many good memories of me and my family eating together – never committing the breakfast sin, of course! :) I just booked flights to go home for the three week spring vacation and one of the first things I will do is to eat some snails!

  • Steve

    Tony, interestingly enough, I’m reading this post while visiting Copenhagen at the moment. I didn’t know I was supposed to have both kinds of bread – I’ve had either one or the other for the past four mornings. I feel cheated . . . but I did love the fact that Danish beer was a regular feature of the lunch at University of Arhus. Beer at a University cafeteria?? I’m afraid the students I work with wouldn’t be able to handle that!

  • Phil

    Tony,I ahve been reading your blog for a time now and have also read several of your books. Thanks for your mind on deep matters. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to effectively teach our students through Lectio Divina. I’m reading Divine Intervention and have also processed some of this in The Sacred Way. My question for you is what Lectionary do you use? I would like some advice on this. Can you help? If you want to leave it on here thats fine.Phil Shields

  • Anonymous

    As a youthworker with a cursing problem, I think it’s irresponsible to curse in a blog. Don’t get me wrong, I love your writing and alot of your thoughts, but I think it’s hardly too much to ask that to the trying-not-to-curse-as-much youthworker you become the trying-not-to-curse-as-much youthworker.


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