Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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swedish word of the month: smörgåsbord

For the second Swedish word of the month I thought I’d present one of the few words that are also English words. The key difference here is the Ö and Å. The Swedish alphabet has 29 letters, the first 26 are the same as the English alphabet, plus å, ä och ö.

The Swedish word smörgåsbord is defined as an open-faced sandwich, served cold, with butter, pickled herring and cold cuts. The smörgåsbord is served as an appetizer. (As according to the Swedish Academy’s dictionary) The English definition is similar, a luncheon or dinner buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (such as hour d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads and relishes). (As according to Miriam Webster’s dictionary).

To be perfectly honest the English definition aligns almost perfectly with my experiences. The Swedish definition seems less specific…though the specificity of the English definition is likely implied within the Swedish definition. Convenient how that happens time to time in Swedish. Little is expicitly said, much is implied – we’re all on the same page after all, aren’t we?

Before moving to Sweden I had heard of a smorgasbord, though I had never eaten pickled herring in my life. The home made kind (as pictured above) are definitely the best). Pickled herring is quite tasty, definitely give it a try! (N.B. DO NOT confuse sill (pickled herring) with the Icelandic shark dish hákarl).

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eat christmas food

To all you happy folk enjoying Christmas Day today I’d like to take the chance to share with you what we here in Sweden eat on Christmas Eve.

As I mentioned yesterday, in Sweden, and much of the Northland, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. In Sweden that means tons of good food.

Christmas food 2015

pictured: boiled eggs with caviar, shrimp & skagenröra, red beet salad, mustard, brussel sprouts and ham

Christmas food 2 2015

sylta, sill (pickled herring), salmon, smoked salmon, smoked shrimp and bread

Christmas food 3 2015

pictured: ribs, prinskorv, brown beans, meatballs

Christmas food 4 2015

pictured: brown beans, potatoes (in the silver pot), Janssons frestelse and västerbottenpaj (cheese pie)

If you find yourself in North America, and unable to enjoy this smorgasbord don’t fret!

Side bar: Smorgasbord is one of the few English words deriving directly from Swedish.

Head over to your nearest IKEA in the coming days, and you too can enjoy all this goodness. Though there’s no guarantee it will be as tasty as the homemade food here in Sweden. Actually it’s highly unlikely, but you’ll get the Swedish experience at least!

Dessert may vary, but yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas cake. It tasted like peppermint! As per the Swedish usual, dessert is always accompanied by strong coffee.

Christmas cake 2015

There was of course the classic ris a la malta. Enjoyed with lingon berries and saftsås.

Ris a la malta 2015

Merry Christmas from my home to yours.

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