About a year ago, I posted about this strange product I saw in a Swedish super market called "Atamon." The store clerk had no idea what it was, and so I turned to the internets.
Apparently "Atamon" is a Danish product that is used in jellies and pickles to preserve the freshness of the food for longer. It was apparently quite useful during WWII. Which does not explain the stereotypical "Chinaman" on the front.
Now a year later, Michael Larsen on Denmark gives me a lot more background:
I read you blog, see your questian abount the "Chineseman" on the product, and started researching for the fun of it….
The manufacture Valdemar Tørsleff & Co were founded in 1923, when merchant Valdemar Tørsleff and Victor B. Strand established an wholesale company in Århus. The Company imported from the start the, cacao and Vanila. Later the range were enlarged with a long number of products for the pickling, baking and canning, including Vanilla, Atamon and Melatin.
The design on Vanila and Atamon was made by the Århus artist Henrik Hansen, a design that to this day, still is used on the product. (A Chinise cook, because in the consciousness of consumers at that time, this was identified with good cooking.) [emphasis mine]
Thanks so much Michael for running this down for me! Interesting that in Denmark a Chinese person was associated with good cooking. I wonder how that stereotype started? Perhaps Chinese people were setting up restaurants in Denmark in the 1920s and became known for their excellent cooking techniques? Any Danish people want to comment?
Michael even provides his sources ( not that I can check them):
That's more than you probably ever wanted to know about a Danish pickling product. Go internet!