Archive for March, 2009

Swedish Product Review: Wasa Forest Sandwich

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Wasa sandwiches, a combination of Swedish traditional crispbread and preservative-laced cream cheese, are a popular snack here. The coolest flavor is probably the “forest treasure” (skatt can also mean tax, but it didn’t seem appropriate) flavor shown here. From my poor Swedish skills, I have deduced based on some commercials I saw, that Wasa had some sort of “suggest a flavor” contest and this blond dude who likes hanging out in the forest won with chanterelle mushroom and black pepper. Chanterelles are the most prized of any of the mushrooms grown in Sweden. Gathering them is protected by law, so in the autumn anyone can go out and collect these forest treasures. Unfortunately it’s very competitive and against Swedes who have spent every year of their life gathering them, I had no chance.

In America, few people gather mushrooms and the whole practice is viewed with some suspicion. Mention gathering mushrooms in the U.S. and you are likely to hear some anecdote about some poor women who died because she misidentified a poisonous deathcap.

I was recently reading an article about foraging when I saw this sentiment again

Larry Pong, principal food inspector in the San Francisco Department of Public Health, recounts the case of a man who ate a bad mushroom several years ago during a feast at a local winery. “He died a painful death,” Pong said, quickly elaborating: “It was painful in the beginning. And then, after his liver disintegrated, he went into a state of euphoria. And then he died.” Such cases crop up regularly in mushroom-hunting territory. Between January and November of last year, the California Poison Control System received 721 calls from state residents who had eaten questionable mushrooms, according to Stuart Heard, the agency’s executive director. Three of those cases led to serious illness, and one to death.

I read about cases of mushroom poisoning here too, but they don’t seem to be very common. Gathering mushrooms is part of the culture here and people learn from experienced family members starting at a very young age. Besides that, the most popular mushrooms are those that are unlikely to be misidentified.

It’s just not something people seem to worry about. Wild mushrooms can even be bought at markets.

As for the Wasa sandwiches, they have something like .05% chanterelles, but despite that, they are still pretty delicious.

7.5/10

Next episode: why do Swedish people love cream cheese so much?

Akki Sushi…fishers of men

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Akki is one of the best places to get sushi in Stockholm. It is also one of the strangest I’ve been to. It’s a Christian place with the Ichthys fish placed prominently on the menu and a painting of Jesus overseeing the sushi-making process. The restaurant is right next to the entrace to the Medborgarplatsen T Station and is unmarked and even though I use that station often, I didn’t notice it until I found it on Sushi Kartan.

They have many interesting items on the menu, mostly very Westernized. I got the Stockholm roll, which had delicious spicy chili-marinated tuna.

The most interesting thing about Akki is the amount of time they spend making the sushi look beautiful. As I waited, I saw that the people eating in had their orders lovingly garnished with flowers and spring onions. The store is very tiny, so only about six people can eat in. The poor takeout people are crushed in a tiny corner, which is at least a good way to spend some time in the personal space of shy Stockholmers.

I was surprised when I got home because my orders were also decorated beautifully. It was a wonderful surprise and the sushi was very tasty.

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Husmanskost selections from local cafeteria

1. Fried lard sausage with dill potatoes and red beets
2. Liver stew with messmor and lingonberries
3. Macaroni with fried Falun Sauage, the crappiest sausage ever made
4. Pea soup and pancakes served with cream and jam–
5. Herring with mustard, sour cream and dill

(some) American food stuff I miss

1. ordering calzone online when I’m feeling lazy
2. good delis
3. real tacos!

Irish Soda Bread

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Recipe.

haven’t been posting lately because I spilled tea on my keyboard, shortcircuiting certain keys and thus making writing take 50 times longer.

Where is spring?

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Perfect Burger

I don’t like making burgers because of the grease. Even if it’s local free-range ground beef, it still makes for more grease than I’d like to look at and clean up. Veggie burgers here I come? I don’t think my boyfriend would even notice. Last week I made some Tom Yum soup with tofu and he was completely oblivious.

The burgers had some fresh greens, sundried tomatoes, and mozzarella. But actually the best part was the sweet potato fries. I tossed some sweet potatoes with olive oil, cumin, salt, and chili powder. Baked until crispy… they were absolutely delicious.