A friend recently asked for a Swedish recipe for a European-themed dinner party. Most of my recipes are in Swedish, so I was delighted when I found a whole website dedicated to Swedish recipes in English. Or I was, before I started looking through them. Scrolling through page after page, I found an abundance of recipes for the same thing. Gravad lax (fish), meatballs and Janson’s temptation (potato and fish). I felt outraged.

Surely there’s more to Swedish cooking than fish, meatballs and potatoes?! Where were all the recipes for the wonderful food that we enjoy during the holidays, for a start? I started listing them in my head. Christmas, when the snow is softly falling and we put on a delightful spread of… well… gravad lax, meatballs and potatoes. Midsummer! A totally different holiday, when we decorate our tables with flowers, dance around maypoles and enjoy… gravad lax, meatballs and potato. Easter! The time for hiding ornate, paper eggs for the kids and tuck into… oh no… gravad lax, meatballs and potato.

Disheartened, I gave up on the festive seasons and their foods and turned instead to our everyday dishes. This is where finally, triumphantly, I recalled one of my favourites from home. Comforting, humble, yet delicious – it doesn’t get much more Swedish than palt! What’s palt, you may ask. It’s a… well… it’s a potato meatball. Thanking me for my assistance, my friend made an English cake, sprinkled some broken-up Daim bars on top and declared it Swedish. I’m told it was a great success.

Maria Smedstad bio Scan Magazine

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