November 11 (or evening of the 10th) southern Sweden celebrates the goose harvest with a feast.
The kids had the day off from school so we decided to celebrate in memory of my Swedish/Danish Grandpa Augeson, who loved roasted goose, potatoes and vinegar cream cabbage.
The most interesting part of the story, and the reason for the “gås” of Sankt Mårten, is that the geese are slaughtered for their betrayal -exposing Martin’s hiding place in the goose pen with their crazy cackling! Martin was trying to avoid being made the new bishop because he preferred a solitary, monastic life, but the miracles he was rumored to have performed made him in demand. And the geese pay the price for his unwise choice of hiding place! The feast also marks the start of a 40 day pre-Christmas fast, which later became Advent. This is when people begin decorating for the Holidays. Lund will have 3 large trees like this one in the aptly named Mårtenstorget.
Several of Bryant’s coworkers said that this year is the first time they’ve ever cooked a goose; due to covid they weren’t able to go out for the traditional dinner at a restaurant.
We also made the traditional Apple Charlotte, which is a European version of crisp, using bread as the crust. It had a pound of butter and is served with whipped cream. The little jar and the Pyrex measuring cup are both filled with fat rendered from the goose. The recipe says I now have enough to last through winter. Bryant says this dinner might cause gout!
The Fish Car from Malmö was on our block yesterday. A kind neighbor sent Michael to check in with the Americans to see if we had experienced this Swedish custom. Mike has a cousin in Canada and he is very enthusiastic about fish. He showed me recipes and made many suggestions of how to prepare his products. I said I’d take one each of his top recommendations, and he brought in a huge stack of boxes to show me. So we looked at salmon, char, torsk, loks, shrimp and more. He explained that it’s top quality sashimi grade fish that you can (and should) eat raw.
And I got overwhelmed and socially uncomfortable with this gregarious guy in my kitchen. I didn’t realize I was purchasing the whole box of each item! Plus I don’t understand the prices of things yet. By the time he presented my bill it seemed too late to admit my lack of understanding. And that’s how we ended up with a year’s supply of seafood in our freezer!
We have 4 freezer drawers packed full. We are going to make our own sushi for the first time. And some of Michael’s recipes. He won me over with his insistence on using real butter.
The photo isn’t Mike- just a picture off their website. And the 4365.00 is in kronor so not quite as much money as it looks. That’s all I can say in my defense! I got a lot of laughs at international citizens hub when I told this story. It is a very popular thing, the Fish Car. Everyone said there is normally a long line whenever they show up in the neighborhood, about once every three months. Lucky I didn’t miss it!
Whew! Day 41 already? Today would be Hilary’s spring MYS concert, save for the COVID effect.
What’s new? I signed up for, and figured out how to use, the Volvo car sharing program called M (link). I don’t know why it’s called “M”. I think that is a dumb name. But, it is an excellent service. For what is about $20 a month, I can go check out a Volvo from any (large) number of stations all over the place. There’s a time and distance charge, but fuel and insurance is all included. So, if we don’t drive much (and with bikes and trains, we won’t) then this is a much cheaper way to have the use of a car without all the headache and cost of actually owning one. Anyway, I drove around the countryside for a bit. I have come to the conclusion that, aside from the sea and the odd castle, Skåne is a LOT like Minnesota. Flat. Farms. Patches of mixed deciduous and pine forests.
What else? I ate out yesterday at the hotel restaurant (finally – I have been here for 41 days!). It is pretty fancy and had a nice 3 course pris fixe menu. The dessert would have been Jen’s fave – lemon curd, with rhubarb sauce, Madelines, and merengue crumbles. All her favorite things! I made do … ;-).
Today is markedly different, as I am trying Tacopaj (pronounced “taco pie”) from the frozen cabinet at the ICA. Oh, I checked out the ICA Nära by the hotel. It’s a lot like the Widmers in Mac Groveland. Anyway, Tacopaj is about what you would expect from the freezer cabinet and cooked in your hotel microwave.
Also, the chef dude on the front looks like Neal Luschen.
I’ve had an itch in my brain for a long time. I’ve done a ridiculous amount of surfing on camping trailers, chuck boxes, overlanding, etc. So I decided to do something.
First thing I did was pick up a Space Trailer (shout-out Todd!). In case you don’t know, Space trailers are very nice, made in the US, and are all the things you’re thinking about when you buy a cheap Harbor Freight trailer, but don’t get.
Second thing I did was to build a camp kitchen to put in it. Here’s some snaps of the process. It was built entirely of scrap and re-purposed materials that I had lying around. Maybe I have too much (s)crap lying around … ? The design objectives were to be able to run a 2-burner camp stove and a propane grill off of a 20lb propane canister with some extra storage for camp gear. I did little drawing, but mostly designed as I went, with the inevitable re-work on some technical debt taken along the way.
Finally experienced High Tea at the St Paul Hotel! It was so nice to celebrate my birthday (belatedly-note- make a reservation well in advance to have tea at SPH) with Cobber friends! I’m a tea snob, so the fare at SPH did not meet my expectations, but the companionship elevated the entire experience, so I am not at all disappointed. We did resolve to explore other Tea options in future…more chances to get everyone together! Perhaps we can get Annie here for a Mary Kay tea party!? Cheers! We neglected to toast the new year but here’s our “selfie/ self-we”
Today I had leftover ingredients to use up, so I tried a couple new recipes. Our neighbor went fishing in Lake Superior and caught some huge trout on Saturday. He gave us a lot, maybe 5 pounds or more. So tonight we’re having Trout Dill Chowder, inspired by Ruth Cousineau’s salmon chowder in gourmet magazine.
And the kids decided they don’t like strawberries anymore, so with the 2 pints I had already purchased I made jam using an Ina Garten recipe with blueberries and apple for thickening. I ran out of sugar so used ginger syrup which added nice flavor as well.
Here’s the first carrot, harvested by Hillary, from our little garden. It was so cute that she insisted on a photo before we chopped it up for soup! It was very yummy, too. And here’s to Zaca, my Spanish friend and carrot farmer extraordinaire, who advised sandier soil. Cheers!
Lily’s been wanting to make pizzas from scratch (based on an episode of Caillou) so we used up some of out tomatoes and garden herbs and invited the neighbors. Hillary was at football game with a friend, so that night was a good opportunity for Lily to have something special to do. I don’t think we had the right pans and/or baking method, so they didn’t get very crispy, but they were tasty! We used lots of veggies and Lily’s whim was satisfied – mission accomplished! I used this make-ahead pizza dough, and it worked great!