On my recent trip home, I stopped by my grandparents' old house to get a rosebush clipping from the current owner. Being there set my mind to sifting through memories of endless afternoons of gin rummy with my grandfather and the lunchtime smörgåsbord set out by my grandmother.
My grandparents emigrated from Sweden in the 1920s, and smörgåsbord practically qualifies as Sweden's national dish. My grandmother knew how to lay out a fine spread. First out would be a basket of bread including pumpernickel, rye, hard white and kaiser rolls. Next came a platter of cold-cuts and cheeses: smoked Gouda, port-wine cheese, sharp cheddar, bleu cheese and farmer cheese. Then she marched out an army of condiments and side items: Dijon mustard, tub margarine, horseradish sauce, mayonnaise, pickles, carrots and celery, boiled eggs and, of course, pickled herring.
Beverages were kept simple. My grandmother usually drank strong black coffee, but for smörgåsbord she always drank tea. My grandfather would have a beer, and I would have a short glass of cold milk.
This was a Swedish mountain of food for just three people. To make it even more filling, it followed a complete breakfast with eggs, toast, bacon and some high fiber cereal like grapenuts or shredded wheat just a few hours earlier. Still, we all did our part to delve into this feast. Luckily, dinner was a modest affair served and cleared away in time for the Lawrence Welk show.Posted by linda on August 16, 2004