Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fifth: Of Food and Exchange Students

Food. Food is the life force of everyday life. It brings sustenance and nourishment. It brings people together. Food also has that ability of being different everywhere. Take pancakes. A typical Canadian pancake is thick and not too large in diameter. Usually served hot with butter and maple syrup. A Swedish pancake is thin and very large in diameter. Usually, it is served cold with anything sweet: Ice-cream, strawberry jam, white sugar, and maple syrup, to name a few.

Fisk. To those who speak English: Fish. Fish is common in the summertime. When I was at the summer house, Karin bought a large bag of shrimp and eight crayfish. These crustaceans still had their shells. And heads. So to eat them, one has to twist off the head, break the shell, and then pick out the meat and set it on toast. When the toast has enough shrimp meat on it, on can eat it as is, or one can add sauce. It was probably one of the best things that I have tried here to date!

Sauces. Sauces here are pretty big. Whenever potatoes, meat, or well, anything, is served, there is usually a sauce to go with it. Thus far, my favorite has been the sweet chili sauce.

Salt. This is a seafaring country. A lot of people own a boat of some sort. At least, a fair few members of my host family own boats, and a friend of the family owns a sailboat, and every time I am at the docks there are always a great deal of boats and ships there with the Swedish flag or markers identifying it as from Sweden. Anyway, Sweden sits on the coast. That's why fish makes up a big part of their diet and it might also explain the salt. No matter where I find myself in Sweden, there always seems to be someone adding more salt to an already salty dish. I don't know why they do that. It must be a cultural thing. XD

Candy is another favorite. Swedes will likely tell you that they are one of the greatest candy eating countries in Europe. With good reason. Their candy isles are massive. They are capable of putting some candy isles at home to shame. I have yet to go to any candy store here, but I can image a little of what it must be like inside the store. There is a type of candy here that looks like black licorice. However, it tastes both sweet and salty at the same time. The first time I tried it with my host family, everyone at the table laughed when they saw the expression on my face. I didn't finish it. It is, as my dad would say, an accustomed taste. But not all of Swedish candy is salty. Some of it is really sweet. There is this gummy type of candy that tastes like green apples. The caramel that I tried wasn't hard, neither did it melt easily. It had the relative consistency of fudge. Toblerone chocolate is a readily available chocolate here.

All-in-all, I am in really good shape when it comes to food. Except peanut butter. I haven't seen peanut butter here. This calls for a walk to the grocery store!

Exchange Students. Yesterday, I meet a couple of the exchange students. Two were from the States, one from Italy, one from France, two from Sweden (one was a host sister to one of the Americans, the other was leaving for her own exchange in a few days), another Canadian, and three Australians. Thus far, they are all amiable, well spoken, and nervous as hell. Seriously. I think that the only really relaxed people there were the three Australians. Everyone else was a little tense at first. But after we had fika at the Cafe Rosa, we all relaxed and enjoyed a day walking around town. Fika, before I forget, is a Swedish term referring to drinking coffee (or any beverage) and having cake with other people. The original plan was to watch Inception, but that plan was scrapped because some people had to leave to catch their trains before the movie would have been finished. So then, we walked by a bowling alley. While some of us went to get food, others went to see if the bowling alley was open. It wasn't. Another bowling alley was also closed. By the end of the day, we found ourselves sitting under a tree in a park located downtown. When the time to catch trains came, we all split up and went home, or to the bar, or somewhere. Wherever. I think, it was a good day.

It's raining today. XD

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