I came home from my trip the other day to a near-barren kitchen. Thanks to eating out and some frozen fruits and vegetables, I lasted a day and a half, but then I reached a breaking point. I needed to go shopping.
Whole Foods to the rescue!
That’s the Whole Foods in Porter Ranch, so if you’re coming to hear me speak there next week (and you’re coming, right?), that’s what the store looks like!
Oh, and look at that! A promotional poster for my in-store appearance!
Here’s what I ended up coming home with, produce-wise:
Clockwise from top right, we have: peaches, carrots, apples, bananas, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, red pears, celery, yellow squash, grapes, broccoli and cauliflower, green pepper, red pepper.
It’s a pretty standard haul for me. I forgot to grab some sort of lettuce or greens, which will make salad-assembly a little more difficult, but that’ll just be at the top of the list for next time. Plus, I’m a pro at lettuce-free salads, so who’s to say there are no salads in my immediate future?
You may have also noticed that there’s no out-of-the-ordinary produce in that haul either. I do love buying items from the produce department that I’ve never bought before, but I didn’t even really look this time, and that’s because I just got an influx of new-to-me food items from another source: my friend Katherine.
I’ve known Katherine since college, and she’s one of my bestest friends. So imagine my sadness when, two years ago, she packed her bags and said goodbye to Los Angeles and moved to Sweden. Sweden. And she did it for love. Love. It makes me wanna barf.
I’m kidding, of course. Not about the move to Sweden part, but about it making me want to barf. I’m so happy for her and the life she has, with a fantastic husband and two beautiful baby boys, one of whom is my Godson. Plus, when it’s 70 degrees and sunny in January in Los Angeles, I get to think of Katherine in Stockholm, where it’s -10 degrees and there’s only 5 hours of sunlight. That sucks more than the parking at Ikea on a Saturday.
Anyhoo, Katherine and her family are visiting Los Angeles right now, and I spent all day with them on Tuesday. Katherine and I took the boys to the zoo, where we saw…
and a napping gorilla…
and this animal, which is… um… what lions like to eat…
And the zoo had these great bee exhibits all over the place – wherever there was a trash can, there were bees! How do they do that?
But I digress. Time to get back on subject: Katherine brought me presents! From the supermarket in Stockholm! I was as excited as a little boy on Christmas morning.
First up: knäckebröd:
Knäckebröd, which translates to “crisp bread” in English, is a very popular rye-based bread in Sweden. It’s more cracker-like than bread-like, and it’s been a part of the Swedish food scene since 500 AD. You can buy knäckebröd is the U.S. (Wasa is a brands I’ve seen in stores), but I haven’t seen it in the traditional Swedish shape, which has a hole in the middle:
The hole is because knäckebröd is traditionally stored on poles or sticks hung above the stove.
And what does one eat with knäckebröd? It’s commonly eaten with butter and cheese, and it’s also eaten with one of the staples of Sweden cuisine…
…herring! Katherine brought me two types of jarred herring. The first:
Senapssill is herring with mustard. And who knew that, in addition to giving us “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia”, Abba also was in the herring business? Swedes sure know how to multitask!
The second jar:
Loksill is herring with onions. I haven’t cracked open either herring jar yet, but I will!
Lastly, Katherine brought me another Swedish mainstay: lingonberry jam!
This came from a farmers’ market in Stockholm. Swedes eat lingonberry jam all the time, often as a condiment during dinner, on meatballs and stews and dishes like that. I think I’ll have to make some meatballs soon!
I can’t wait to try all my new foods from Sweden!
OK – I gotta get going… I have a few more things to do before heading off to Slimmons tonight. It’s my first class with Richard Simmons in three weeks!
Keep it up, David!