Things I Love About Sweden, Part One

I’m nearing the conclusion of my time in Sweden. Here are some more awesome things about this part of the world.

1) Fresh Eggs. As I mentioned in a previous post, my friends Katherine and Peter have a bunch of chickens, and those chickens lay eggs. So Katherine and Peter have super-fresh, organic eggs and they’re delicious.

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Katherine made us scrambled eggs one morning, and they were probably the best eggs I’ve had in a looong time. I usually very rarely eat egg yolks, but I didn’t hesitate to make an exception:

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That’s about 2 eggs worth, and the dollop at the top is a Swedish product called Kalles Kaviar, a caviar paste that’s very popular. A little bit goes a long way – it’s very salty – but it’s good. The third item on the plate brings me to item #2:

2) Homemade Bread. Katherine has been experimenting with baking bread from scratch. No store-bought yeast. It’s a complicated process, involving what’s known as a ‘starter’ (don’t ask me to explain it; I don’t think I could). It takes days. She had baked the bread on my breakfast plate, a sourdough/whole wheat blend, the day I arrived. Here’s another picture of it:

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She baked it in a long, narrow loaf pan, so the slices were about 4 inches square – a perfect size. Over the past few days, I’ve been watching Katherine make two sourdough loaves. It’s a long process that involves a lot of waiting, and Katherine wasn’t thrilled with the end results, but I admire her patience and determination. Here’s one of those loaves:

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Even a not-quite-perfect loaf of homemade bread is better than a lot of store-bought breads!

3) Early Sunrises. One night we stayed up past 1am, and right around then, the sun started to rise. It had set around 10:30 or 11pm – less than 3 hours earlier.

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Of course, the flip side is that in the winters you only get a few hours of sun each day. I don’t know how long I’d be able to deal with that.

4) Strange Swedish Traditions. Check out this picture:

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It’s a truck loaded with graduating high schoolers. It’s a tradition in Stockholm for the graduating class to rent a truck and drive around the heart of Stockholm in the middle of the day, blasting music and cheering, while the rest of the city goes about their regular business. During the month of June, this happens dozens and dozens of times.

5) The Forest. Katherine and Peter live out in the country, alongside farms and forests. We’ve taken a handful of walks along great trails, where we’ve seen a snake and tons of slugs and snails. On our most recent walk, we came upon this small pond, surrounded on one side by high rocks.

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It’s the site of a former quarry, so the pond is really deep. It’s the perfect, quintesential swimmin’ hole, although it might also be, being a pool of stagnant water, a Ritz-Carlson for mosquitos. And believe me, this part of the world is in no need for more mosquitos. There are more than enough as it is!

I should be able to get one more walk in tomorrow morning, with Pepper the dog. It’ll be my last full day in Sweden!

Keep it up, David.

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2 Responses to Things I Love About Sweden, Part One

  1. Nurse Karen says:

    Sourdough starter-based bread, takes about 3 days to rise properly in an 85F degree environment. If it is not that warm a day: a trick to help the rising is to place the bread dough bowl over a pan of boiling water & cover with a clean, lint-free towel until the dough doubles in bulk, punch down, make into loaves, and allow to rise again… it just takes practice and having quality ingredients. I hope your friend continues to bake, as it is such a satisfying experience. Here in the States, sometimes it is a challenge to find fresh organic flour, as so few bake anymore. I have to order it online. The meal your friend made looked amazingly delicious and artistic. Years from now, you will remember her bread and nettle soup. -Stings and ‘skeeter bites and All !!! What a fun adventure! Keep It Up, Prince David. ;-D

  2. Alene Washington state says:

    I am envious about your trip to Sweden. Didn’t realize how beautiful the country is, thanks so much for the pictures. Your dinner to honor the marriage of a royal was amazing. However, think I’d pass up the foie gras (sp) I googled in and saw what is done to the ducks and it is understandable why it’s not legal in some of our states. Keep up the good work David!

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