A Swedish Feast

B comes from Swedish stock, a culinary heritage I know mostly from my mother making cracks about lutefisk when we drive through Ballard. But actually, I find it more and more interesting the more I know. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not nominating them for world’s most complex flavors or anything, I’m just saying it has been fun learning a bit about a new culture through exploring their food.herringIn truth, Swedish food holds a lot of similarities to a cuisine I know a bit more about…Jewish foods. What you’ve got right up here is a bit of pickled herring. This is the Swedish herring, because, you should know, we actually have two kinds of pickled herring in our fridge. Jew herring, Swede herring. However, B deemed the Swedish flatbread to eat it on not worth the money. “We’ll just use that stuff you’ve got in the cabinet” he said. Yup, this herring is sitting on a lingering matzoh, languishing in the pantry since Passover last April.limpa-breadWe moved onto a second appetizer, which actually we’ve been snacking on all week. An open face sandwich, this is prepared following all of B’s instructions to be just like what he ate as a kid. Limpa bread from the Scandinavian Bakery, spread with butter, topped with a very thin slice of Bond Ost cheese from Scandinavian Specialties and a piece of Goteborg sausage from Olsen’s Scandinavian Foods. Yes, I went to three different stores (admittedly all in Ballard) to make this little sandwich properly. The bread is dark and flavorful. I’m thinking the butter with cheese might be an acquired taste, but over all the sandwich eats well and actually is a perfect snacking size.potato-sausageNext we ate the potato sausage (from Olsen’s) cooked in an allspice and peppercorn broth with potatoes and carrots. I turned to B and declared them not as good as when his mother made them . Hers, in keeping with the Swedish/Jewish comparison, tasted like matzoh balls. Mine, well, they tasted more like what you might imagine boiled potato sausage to taste like. I’m thinking these might have something else in common with matzoh balls–they just taste better when made by a grandmother!swedish-meatballsMy meatballs, were, dare I say delicious. I had a secret weapon though, a recipe sent via e-mail from B’s mom. I managed to be pretty successful with the meatballs–probably helps that I make pretty mean Italian and Vietnamese versions of them. Now I can add Swedish to my arsenal. That said, I really f-ed up the gravy. I don’t know what I did wrong, but that was truly awful. Luckily the picture was still pretty–it looked right, it just didn’t taste right!

And there ends my Swedish feast for tonight, but I’m thinking I’ll be back with more. B’s already requesting Swedish pancakes on Christmas morning…

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