All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.
Ok, so yeah, it's food again. I guess I hadn't thought about how much food defines culture. I read over all my other other planned topics, and I assure you there are non-food topics coming. Tomorrow, for example, is a place I miss.
Today, we're having fish. You can put dill on it if you like, with a side of eggs...(Those are jokes for those reading everyday...you know, those inside jokes for the people "in the know")(You can be one of them...I'll be here all month...tip your waiters and waitresses...)
What I remember from my childhood is an abundance of fish, eaten often, bought fresh that day from the little store on the corner, and cooked simply, with some boiled potatoes, and some vegetable. The Swede and The Nutritionist corroborated my impression that it was as cheap as chicken, and that it was fresh, not frozen.
In talking with The Swede, he clarified a few things just so beautifully, and I'd like to share some of HIS childhood memories from the 50s. Thought you might enjoy them.
We lived outside Göteborg (Gothenburg) which is a west coast city in Bohuslän, län being like a county. Our proximity and the local economy based largely on the fishing industry contributed to this abundance and availability of fish.
The Swede shared that before school he'd listen to the morning devotion of the day, and then there would be the fishing report. Each species of fish caught and available would be rattled off with the daily price. Reminded me of how during drive-time radio here in CO we get the snow report, with each resort's fresh powder total. He likened it to hearing the "grain report" while driving through that section of states on cross country road trips.
When my parents were first living in Sweden in the late 60s, "fiskebilen" - the fish truck - would stop at their house on Fridays. The merchant would have been to the harbor, bought wholesale off the boats that day, laid the fresh fish in wooden trays filled with ice, and then driven around their small town, selling until the fish was all gone.
Buying fish was not the only source. With the abundance of lakes withing a short distance, many fish were caught that day by the families eating them. The most common fish eaten were haddock, cod, herring, perch, and pike. Perch and pike were easily caught in the lakes, the other by the fishermen.
The Nutritionist does admit that there was a pre-packaged item available, gasp! and she used it frequently. It was called "fisk i form" - formed fish - so think chicken McNugget style fish, already seasoned, and ready to pop in the oven. Apparently we ate this a lot. I remember a lot of fish, I just don't remember that. It must have been good, but then again, just give me my dilled potatoes with dinner, and it doesn't matter so much what else is on the plate.
~Tina, who still loves fish, but paying for it in land-locked Colorado takes a chunk out of the grocery budget...
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