When visiting Sweden, I was always thirsty. It's not like Farmor and Farfar were denying us beverages, it's just that the custom of having a glass of water with a meal, in addition to a beverage of some other sort is unheard of in Sweden. Therefore, today's word is “is” which is pronounced (p)eace. As in all those beauty queens who want world peace. (No actual beauty queens were harmed in the writing of this post.)(Or if they were, I do sincerely apologize. I love Miss Congeniality!) Is means ice. That lovely, frozen piece of water that chills your beverage and helps quench your thirst. First, they don't serve you water, but if they, upon request do, then there's no ice. They don't have that either.
They have plenty of frozen lakes and ponds that we ice-skated on. They have plenty of hockey players and indoor arenas with ice for the games, but if you want ice in your glass, forget it.
The lack of ice and water made all the coffee parties we went to so dehydrating. The tradition is that if people “stop by” you serve coffee and some cookies. And some buns. Perhaps a tiny sandwich. Then when everyone is totally stuffed, they bring out the cake. Throughout this party, you can drink coffee. If you're fourteen and don't like coffee? You drink nothing. Unless you happen to stumble upon someone who serves cider.
I love cider. In Sweden it doesn't resemble the American version served at fall festivals in the slightest. We're not talking squeezing apples here. Swedish (and perhaps all over Scandinavia) cider is a carbonated, ALCHOHOLIC beverage. It's not highly alcoholic, perhaps .5% or so to the best of my recollection. When I looked it up in Swedish on Wikipedia, they referred to the 5-6% cider that we call “hard cider” here. That's not the kind I'm talking about. This cider is like the sparkling cider we buy for our kids for holiday parties, only in Sweden, if you drink ten or so bottles, you might catch a buzz.
The alcoholic content was part of the dehydration problem. You were served A glass. A tiny glass. A glass like this.
I sometimes was brave enough to ask for a second "shot". After that, though, I was likely to get a glance from Farmor with the, “No!” in her eyes. Then the hostess might say something like, “Well, I guess she's feeling a bit thirsty!” Of course this didn't mean the obvious, THAT I WAS DYING OF THIRST. It meant, that girl sure likes her alcohol. Well yes, all .5% percent of it...
Perhaps times have changed. I haven't been to Sweden since 1997. Maybe they do serve ice water at meals. Those of you who are living in Sweden will have to enlighten me. But pass me some ice-water first, OK?
P.S To Anna of Anna's Adornments, please let me know if this has changed? The rest of ya'll, go visit her. She rocks. Don't worry, she blogs in English.