Wednesday, January 30, 2008

sweden: open face

Just some thoughts.
It has been hard to ignore the Swedes' love for open face sandwiches. They range from the simple cheese to the heartier meatball with beet salad. One of the first sandwiches I attempted to eat was an open face potato salad with roast beef and veggies. To date, that is the messiest and saltiest meal I've had in this country.
Now that I've become more comfortable in Swedish grocery stores, I've been able to take full advantage of their routine cuisine (nice rhyme, I know). But really, the variety of bread and crispbread (knackerbröd) is astounding. Equally as glorious is the plethora of common toppings. There are the familiar: jam (often lingonberry or marmalade), butter, cheese, cold cuts (very expensive), salami, sausage. And the enticing: caviar (typically red or black), tubed caviar (many flavors, including dill, egg, and banana), tubed paté, messmör (a sweet, spreadable product made from whey). Ok, there are likely more, but that list is comprehensive enough for my first two weeks here.

One of the most common and popular homemade sandwiches: caviar and sliced egg. You won't find this often in cafés or restaurants, but this is what people here eat for a quick, homemade breakfast, lunch, snack, and dare I say...fika (the ever-so-popular coffee break). I have tried adapting caviar to my usual, buttery-delicious, fried egg sandwich. I must admit, the Swedish version is a winner.

Knackerbröd may very well be the culinary backbone of Sweden. Even if it isn't being crunched at, one might ask "Can something be 'good' food if it can't be eaten on knackerbröd?". The answer: slice thin and pile high. It seems like every type of imaginable cuisine is, in some degree, popular here. And yes, if prepared properly, they can all be enjoyed on crisp bread. Oh, and you dont like your crisp break too robust? Pick up a thin, delicate variety. Added omega-3's? They have that too. Knackerbröd comes in all shapes, sizes, weights, flavor, and nutrition levels.

More to come


Anonymous said...

very interesting! Do they eat much bread?

RW said...

I shouldn't be reading this now... I'm hungry and it all looks and sounds delicious.