......finding a new home for lutefisk lovers.

(ok we don't love it. or even like it. but we're supposed to.)

28 July 2011

Glad Midsommar!

Our time in Stockholm culminated in a Midsummer celebration......... which is Sweden's biggest holiday behind Christmas. Everybody, and I mean everybody, goes outside or to a park or to an island or to a summer home on the Friday night closest to the summer solstice and sings and dances and eats in celebration of the longest day of the year.

We were lucky enough to be hosted by my great-grandmother's cousin's great-granddaughter (seriously) and her family. And they treated us like their own brothers and sisters.

The celebration begins with a picnic.

After musicians in Swedish folk costumes parade through the park, the celebration surrounds the Maypole.


You sing songs and dance in a circle until there are no more songs to sing and no more dances to dance.

And with the exception of two, I can proudly say I knew each and every song.
Okay, I don't speak Swedish (I can't even say hot dog correctly) but I knew the tunes well enough to fake it by singing "watermelon" over and over and over. I think it sounded exactly the same.

But I didn't know the dances - so I sang "watermelon" and mimicked each move one or two seconds behind everyone else. I felt like I was on a game show.

Women and girls weave wildflowers into crowns and wear them during the celebration. That night, if they put the crown under their pillow, they will dream of the person they will marry.

Which was actually really stressful for our 8 year old friend, Francesca. She did NOT want a crown because she was just not ready to have this information. What if it was a complete stranger???? The whole idea was ookie and scary and she wanted nothing to do with it.

After singing and dancing, our hosts treated us to a traditional Midsummer feast. An amazing feast that I inhaled, using my bare hands to shove the food into my mouth faster. With a ring of lingonberry stain circling my mouth and a meatball in one cheek, I said "Hey. Wait a minute.........this is Christmas dinner. With strawberries." Mike was like "Yeah. It smells like your mom's house. But then we get strawberries." Then we stuffed more meatballs into our cheeks.

Sexual politics are alive and well in Sweden. And so it was that Mike and our friend, Jon, were asked to hull the strawberries.

I was asked to help myself to a gin and tonic.

I am no domestic goddess.
I am no domestic anything.
But I have eaten strawberries.
So I have had the opportunity to hull them. Quite successfully I might add.
Not a single strawberry hulling injury for me, no sir.

And watching Mike and Jon pick up knives and stab at the poor fruit so awkwardly and violently - I was like, "Can I help you with that? Please?"

But I was told to enjoy my gin and tonic and go away.

The Feast: boiled salmon, smoked salmon, one other kind of salmon I can't remember, potatoes in a creamy dill sauce, onion pie, Swedish meatballs (known in Sweden as "meatballs"), bright orange carrots, green salad, and 5 different kinds of herring. And strawberries, of course.

Liam, our picky eater, ate butter and a dozen hard boiled eggs.

Food was a concern before leaving for our trip because Liam's repertoire is annoyingly small. And the chances of him eating herring or reindeer or salmon are zero. But we needn't have worried. Because he ate mostly butter. For ten days he ate butter. Sometimes he would put some bread on it.

Seriously, the butter in both Sweden and Denmark was deeeeee-licious. I don't know why it's different - maybe the grass is yummier or the cows are happier. All I know is that it seemed perfectly reasonable for Liam to pop butter packets into his mouth like tic tacs.

Tune in next time for "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!"

(for those of you who weren't exposed to Danny Kaye as children, that's a reference to Hans Christian Andersen, who is pictured above.
It's not actually him. It's just a statue.
He's been dead for a long time. You usually don't get a stature til you're dead)

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