Proof that Swedes are geniuses


As if we needed any more evidence of superior Nordic brainpower, watch this:

Heh heh heh. The BookBook. I can just hear Grandpa Peterson chuckling over that one. Right after he finished his raspberry pie and very-weak-but-constantly-present coffee.

Speaking of food, I’m glad to see that my fellow Swedes are concentrating their brains on what they are good at (witty commercials, impossible-to-construct furniture) because they are certainly no great shakes in the culinary department.

My Grandma Peterson used to serve a traditional dish called lutefisk every year at Christmas. It’s made from a fish that’s been buried in the ground (limestone soil, to be exact) for weeks, or maybe even months. Then it’s dug up and buried in the middle of an innocent-looking bowl of custard. Yes, custard. With cinnamon on top, even. I couldn’t make this up. You can ask the Dude.

My brother Roger married a Swede and lived in Stockholm for a while, where he got progressively skinnier and skinnier (not) eating the food. (It’s a fact that Swedes don’t age, they just shrivel and turn into beef jerky.)

He got into big trouble once opening a can of some sort of preserved fish. Turns out it is against the law to open one of those indoors. It smells that bad.

I guess you now know why you don’t see many Swedish restaurants. Danish ones, yes. Swedish ones (with apologies to Marcus Samuellson, who is, after all, half Ethiopian) — hardly ever. But, hey. Those Swedes sure know how to make a witty TV spot. Or at least pick an agency who knows how.

What’s your favorite Swedish television commercial? Or, what’s your favorite Swedish anything?

Oh, and if you’d like to enjoy another Apple-inspired anecdote (but with no Swedes in it), check out  ‘Daddy says ‘Don’t touch’, which talks about Steve Jobs, his kids, and Family Technology. Or, there’s another you might like (no Swedes or Apples, though) called ‘What’s up with all the apps?’ (It was my very first post, ever. See what you think).

Amagansett, New York. September 2014

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4 thoughts on “Proof that Swedes are geniuses

  1. Denny Colledge

    Music – Abba, The Cardigans
    Authors – Henning Mankell, and Steiger Larsson
    Food wise….not so sure apart from the meatballs, though lingonberry jam is pretty good.

      • My Swedish grandma made her own korv for the Christmas Eve feast, and it was excellent. I remember watching her grind the constituent meats with her hand-powered grinder (the kind that clamps to the table or counter edge). It was juicy, succulent, delicately but not overly seasoned. She was also a gifted baker, and made bullar (tender, mid-size round coffee buns) that were poetic, they were so good. Other Swedo delights: plattar pancakes with lingonberries; pea soup made with Swedish yellow peas; a very simple but delicately delicious summer treat of thinly sliced cucumber in a slightly sweetened white-vinegar dressing, served in the same warm-weather meal with new potatoes; Swedish meatballs with or without pan gravy; the rich rice pudding traditional on Christmas Eve night, with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon and warm cream on top; Jansson’s Temptation, a layered fish, onion, and potato concoction excellent for the end of a cold day; baked beans made with Swedish brown beans, which aren’t everywhere available; room-temperature or slightly chilled rose-hip soup with lightly whipped cream on top; herring-and-onion salad… this is all stuff from my family experience, not restaurant food. Back in the mid-20th century there used to be a well-known Swedish restaurant in Manhattan called The Three Crowns that served a smorgasbord of splendid variety; I was taken there for my 9th birthday by my parents, and I’ve never forgotten it.

        Maybe the culinary standards in the Old Country have gone downhill for some reason? Some kind of karmic balancing thing as the reputation of British food goes up?

        There’s always akvavit! Skal.

        • I love your Swedish culinary memories! My Gramma Peterson’s korv was actually pretty good, tho she did not grind the meats herself. And yes, her rice puddings were amazingly delicious. I do remember the thinly-sliced cucumber dish as well. (Thank you; I’d forgotten!) I didn’t have the pleasure of dining at The Three Crowns. Tho I bet it was good. Thank you for your comment. You are making me hungry for my Gramma, and her cooking.

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