When I got back to the States a couple weeks ago, I found a copy of the magazine Islands from 1985 on my desk. Apparently my dad found it in The Archives (the name my siblings and I have given the upstairs linen closet, which has never actually been used as a linen closet because it has always been filled with old magazinesand limited-edition 7-Up bottles and Pee-Chee folders of basketball statistics) and noticed it contained an article about Iceland, so he set it out for me.
It was surprisingly similar to contemporary travel writing about Iceland, focusing on the country’s primordial natural beauty, opportunities for outdoor adventures (the journalist and photographer went on a glacier trek with an Icelandic guide), remoteness, and sheep.
But there were also a few noticeable differences:
- The population has increased from 240,000 in 1985 to 330,000 today
- The Blue Lagoon was still something of a local secret, an unglorified pool of runoff from the nearby power plant, still years away from becoming the overpriced, overpublicized tourist trap that it is today
- Hallgrímskirkja had not yet become the dominant symbol of the Reykjavík skyline (it was completed the following year, 1986)
Most important and alarming, though, is that apparently skyr, Iceland’s now-famous dairy product that resembles Greek yogurt (despite technically being a cheese), used to be eaten with shredded lettuce.
Skyr. Með mjólk, sykri, og salati. Af hverjuuuuuu?!
Why did this happen? And why have I never heard about this before? Was this farmer just messing with this poor gullible journalist, or did this actually used to be a thing? Iceland, please explain yourself.