Sweden – Observations from a Canadian Rebel

Crayfish parties happen in August and millions of these are eaten with gumption and tiny forks.

These things are probably not strange if you grew up in Scandanavia but to me they are odd or annoying enough for me to post it here, during NaNoWriMo, when I felt I needed to keep my followers interested, and I am struggling with my novel. So instead, I am am a little incredulous and a bit mean about the country I am living in, although mostly I am just stretching my brain. Or not.

Here are some random things that I have noticed or experienced that drive the Swedes around me nuts because (a) I either don’t like it or (b) I complain about it every Christmas. You will notice the following is predominately about food…

  • Saffron bulle (lussekatter or lussebullar). Good ol’ cinnamon is perfectly good. Why mess with it and make it yellow and extra expensive?
  • Lingonberry jam (lingonsylt) is eaten with most everything: to this potato/meat/cream perogie thing called a Body Cake (kroppkaka), to meatballs  (Ikea fanatics will know about this), and to reindeer or elk meat. Since I don’t like mint jelly with lamb either, this is not particularly odd just another thing on my fussy eater’s list.
  • Children are allowed to shove into the front of a line, any line, and ahead of elderly people with canes. And adults let them? Even when a blind man and his dog are waiting for the bus, the kids still get to go first! I don’t understand…
  • At many intersections here on Ekerö, the traffic lights can only be seen while you are waiting for them to change. As soon as you pull into the intersection, you have no idea when the lights go yellow or red, because they are behind you. And don’t get me started about some of the left-hand turn rules that I have just heard about!
  • Sill, known as herring to you regular folk, is marinated in everything you can imagine. I guess this is to make it less fishy tasting, or slightly more interesting. Now, while I don’t mind some of the concoctions, most of the flavours are on my yuck list – mustard, dill, curry (the kind they marinate it in at least)…but you can learn more from an article in the New York Times 10 years ago.
  • Christmas food tables, the julbord contain much fish, including sill, which is a staple at all the Christmas food tables that are looming in my future. I remember the shock the first julbord when I almost ate smoked reindeer heart. This will be my fourth Christmas, and I just don’t think I will get used to it. Although not an oddity, per se, and strangely something I do like is the Janssons frestelse (Janssons temptation).  Even Jamie Oliver has done a version of it, and well, yum, it is the primary vegetable at the julbord, so I eat a lot of it.

I am very hungry now. A body cake sounds good. I wonder what kind of body they boiled to put into the dumpling? Yup. I am empty of creative thoughts now. Time to stop.

2 thoughts on “Sweden – Observations from a Canadian Rebel

  1. But kroppkaka is quite tasty! It’s made from mashed potatoes and with pork in the middle, yes I remember, you are avoiding pork! It’s not only served with lingonberryjam, you also get the melted butter!!! Puss puss

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