On the mend

Lily and I rode the train to Malmö for her Handkirurgi appointment. The hand specialist said the cast could come off- she can use a velcro wrap for a few weeks until it stops hurting and moves easily.Then we stopped in our old Hyllie neighborhood to have lunch at her favorite place from those weeks we spent near Emporia Mall. They have tightened up covid restrictions since then, so we had to eat at separate tables 10 feet apart!

Hyllie water park is known to have one of the best cherry blossom displays in Skåne. We checked it out, but it’s just started to turn pink. Skåne is about 3 weeks behind its average Spring. This photo was taken through the wind blown waterfall. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to stop by again.

This Good Boy entertained us on the train back to Lund

We enjoyed another stroll on Plommonvägen, still holding its blossoms in spite of wind and hail last night! Here’s Lily at the intersection of Plum and Cherry. Last weekend we went hiking at Cherry Dale but the blossoms hadn’t started.

Körsbärsdalen (Cherry Dale) meadow is supposed to be showy in spring.

The stage coach hotel stop from 1666 now features outdoor brunch in Dalby, on the way to Körsbärsdalen, just a few miles outside Lund. The bike trail from our house should be an easy ride.

And the parks have been really pretty with all the spring color.

And this is the last year EVER for the skunk cabbage! It’s been declared invasive (even though this yellow variety doesn’t seem to be) so it must be removed from the botanic garden. They’re letting it flower for the final time since it was added to the collection in the 1860s.

Bornholm

A Danish island in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden, Bornholm is still closed to tourism.

It used to be a fishing community, but in recent times it is known for biking, hiking and culinary culture.

My great-grandfather, Fred, was born there in 1880 Fred’s mother’s family lived there for generations. His father, Per, was an immigrant from Sweden who earned his living fishing until the decision was made (with his Bornholmska wife and other family members) to leave Bornholm and try farming in the American Midwest.

The island has since become famous as a foodie destination and for its artisanal products, which always catch my eye in the food markets around Lund. I wonder what Fred would think of this development!

Per fled Sweden due to famine and a few years later immigrated again, taking his young family including Baby Sigfred across the ocean to farm. Now his great-grand daughter buys gourmet farm products from Bornholm…the latest being this basil pasta made from bornholmsk wheat and beer. We prepared it with Norwegian shrimp from our Fiskbil delivery- amazing!

We look forward to more gastronomical adventures when we can finally travel to Bornholm.

Shame in the Grocery Store

Lily and I went to the Stora Coop (Big Co-op) last weekend for a stock-up. Saw this in the store. I have many conflicted feels about it.

This is the American section. Next to the Asian and Eastern European food sections. This might have been the store’s entire stock of partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

Mårtensgås

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!

Fiskbilen

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!

Decaf- pffft

Bryant tried to order decaf coffee and the waiter scoffed at him.

Eating dinner at gamlastad- old city Malmö. Such a beautiful evening. Not crowded. Had a train car to ourselves. Perfect way to avoid being in the background of Lily’s TCTC virtual classroom!

So Swedish

So, this was the hot lunch at work the other day:

A fish fillet, curried potatoes, peas, and a sour cream/creme fresh/dill sauce that Jen makes all the time. What I thought was interesting is that the dill sauce was really salty. I think you have been making it wrong @jennifer! ;-). Kidding – I didn’t like it that salty – it was a bit too much.

Donuts

Yeah, so I am not really proud of this, but I had donuts for breakfast this morning. I went to poor the milk for my coffee and it came out in lumps. Needed milk (what I get for going into the office to enjoy the free coffee there). At the store, there was your basic bakery cabinet with some donuts. I was weak. Donuts came home with me.

So, managed expectations for grocery store donuts aside, the sugar raised one was actually quite good. Very light and airy. The chocolate one … there is a weird taste to lots of Swedish chocolate to me (at least much of what I have had). I don’t think it is bad, just weird. So, I did not enjoy the chocolate one as much. I have not seen anything like a fancy donut place here, like a Bogarts.

Dumplings!

You know when somebody tells you about a “hole in the wall” place? Well, check this out! This is Fengssons (yes, a fun Swed-ification of a Chinese name). And it is down that cellar entrance.

Inside is a tiny little Chinese dumpling joint:

And, OMFG, those dumplings were good! Not just “good for Sweden” (which is how I have to qualify lots of food here), but legit good. Yum!

Day 34 – Easter Sunday – Påsk

Today is Easter Sunday, and there’s not much going on. I did find out about a thing that I thought was interesting – Easter Witches or påskkärringar. There’s a nice Radio Sweden bit on them here.

Around Easter, Good Friday and Easter Monday are both national holidays, so this is a 4 day weekend. Woohoo! Some colleagues noticed that I am flying solo in a hotel room, and decided to invite me over.

So, Friday, I had dinner with a lovely family that are from Britain, but have lived in Sweden since 1999. So, they speak English like Brits, but good Swedish. They have 3 kids around my kids ages, which is great. Had a great evening with them and even got a lift home. They live in Bjärred, so easy visiting distance. And their eldest kid attends Katedralskolan in Lund.

Then on Saturday, another colleague really got me for the whole day. They picked me up from the hotel, and took me to a nature refuge where we went for a really nice hike in some classic northern forests – Järavallen. After that, we went to their house in Ödåkra and had a lovely afternoon just hanging out and talking over fika, then dinner, then desert. I was very full when I went home!

I am starting to meet people, and even had a Swedish family invite me over for the day!