Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter in Stockholm Part 1--the food!!!

It has been a few days since I updated this journal but so much has been happening. It was easter in Stockholm with our friends from Shout Out Louds. I have been telling Ted that I want him to write a book called, The Scandinavian Man's Guide to Hospitality. He was the kind of host who was awake 30 minutes before everyone else, making coffee and breakfast. On our first day there, he woke us up to a breakfast of ham, cheese, and Swedish bread (like Wasa bread). Then he and the guys went to the grocery store and picked up everything for a traditional Swedish Easter dinner--which was amazing. Lots of herring, anchovies, cured salmon, and two different potato casseroles with herring--one creamy and one creamy and salty. Everyone came over and I think we had 12 or 13 of us at the table. We were so happy. They taught us some Swedish drinking songs, which are sang at the table with everyone's little glass raised. It will probably be one of my favorite memories when I'm old. After dinner and after after-dinner cofffee and dessert, Bebban and I walked around the city and shopped. Only for a little while though because I had to get to sound check. The show was later that night. We weren't sure if many people would turn up because we don't have a record label in Sweden, or even distribution, but there were a lot of people there and people were dancing so much during the show, and got more excited over their favorite songs, it became clear that some of these people already have the records. Not to mention this venue was in the top floor of a theatre building and was enclosed with windows looking over the water and the city so it couldn't have been more beautiful.
The next morning Ted brought us down to a breakfast of Swedish yogurt with applesauce and cloudberries, which can only be found in northern Sweden where they can only be grown wild. There was also bread, cheese, caviar, soft-boiled eggs, and a plate of different kinds of cured or smoked fish. Seriously, he's writing this book.
For Sunday Adam had arranged for a special day, which was a real surprise. We drove to Adam's family's summer house and had Easter Sunday dinner with them. When we arrived, we went into a sunny room at one end of the house to have drinks and some pretty amazing cured salmon on toast. The sauce was a whipped, oil-based cream with anchovies and spices. Then we went into the dining room for dinner, which was a roast of deer with a dark gravy--probably a red wine reduction but I have to get the recipe, potatoes au gratin, cranberry sauce, and a mixed green salad in a vinagrette. Everything was so delicious and real, the textures of the foods were just right and being with Adam's family made me feel so at home and comfortable. They're all really warm and there's a little one who is especially adorable--a two year old who's only English words are "I love you." He was a little shy so I'm going to have to learn more Swedish so I can talk with him next time we visit.
After dinner we put boots on and walked down to the lake and around the fields which all reminded me so much of North Carolina. There aren't many places in the world where long-leaf pines can flourish so it's not common to see them. But the mix of long-leaf pines and oak trees was an immediate reminder of Raleigh because it's the part of North Carolina that has a mix of hard woods and pine and in just the same ratio. The lake was still frozen, unlike Raleigh, even though it was reasonably warm and sunny. Spring is new for Sweden--their daffodils are a month out still and ours bloomed one month ago.

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