YOU KNOW THOSE sweet-glazed breakfast snacks known as Danish pastries, which one would assume were Danish?
Well, I was amazed to discover that Danish people call them Viennese pastries.
I used the internet to track down a Viennese person to ask what THEY call them. "We call them Copenhagen pastries," said a girl called Anna.
An angry guy called Emirhan interrupted to say the recipe was stolen from Ankara, and they should really be called Turkish pastries. He threatened to slice me up and turn me into a savory snack should I refuse to make the correction.
Anyway, I was eating a Danish/ Viennese/Copenhagen/Turkish pastry (extra large, apricot flavor) when I received an invitation to have dinner with a real live Danish prince, who was on a private visit to Asia.
Wow. This was not a prince from some potty little country where everyone is royal. This was the Prince of Denmark, a top royal in a nation stuffed with castles.
I have daughters. I told them I was dining with a real live prince but they didn’t seem very impressed.
After reading one of their books (The Tough Princess) and watching one of their movies (Shrek the Third) I realized why. I went right off princes.
They all had three cringe- making attributes: 1) princes were handsome to a fault, 2) excessively stupid, and 3) worst of all, wore baggy white shirts with puffed sleeves. This, in my opinion, is a crime warranting the death penalty.
The following day, I showed off the invitation to a work colleague, who told me an amazing story. "I read something about the Prince of Denmark in the newspaper," he said. "His uncle murdered his dad, and then he murdered his uncle in revenge."
This was intriguing. I wondered how I could bring it up in conversation. "Good evening, your highness, how's things, no more murders in the family lately, I hope?"
It was only when I was halfway there in a taxi when I realized that my idiot colleague was not recalling something from the newspaper, but the plot of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Why am I cursed to be surrounded by idiots?
At the dinner, I was introduced to a man who was nothing like Hamlet or the prince in Shrek.
Denmark's top male royal, Prince Henrik, is a cheery 75-year-old with gray hair, a loud laugh, and sleeves that are not remotely puffed.
I was about to ask for his autograph when he thrust one of my books at me and asked for mine.
Of course, I would be honored, I said.
"Er, what's your surname?" I asked, wondering if asking such a question was disrespectful and punishable by death.
"Asking that question is disrespectful and punishable by death," he replied, taking out a large ax and making me rest my head on the dining table.
No, actually, he didn't. He simply replied: "I don't have one. Members of royal families usually don't.”
I told him not having a surname was seriously cool: "I quite fancy that. How do I get to be a royal?"
He thought for a moment before replying with a laugh: "You'd have to marry into a royal family. But both my children are sons."
Oh well. I would look terrible in puffed sleeves.
By the way, I am writing this in a lovely little restaurant called Caffe Habitu which does great cappucinos. I ordered a Danish pastry, too, but I whispered it. Emirhan may be around.