December 11, 2013

Skankynavia: Swedish Birthday

by Anders Arhoj


Two gay men got married in the early 00’s (yes, that’s right USA, listen and learn from the Danes), spent eight years together, got divorced, and became good friends again after some time. Straight people could also earn learn a thing or two from the gays about post-marital behavior.

This fall they chose to combine their upcoming birthdays into an 80 year bash — probably to try and feel alive before sinking further into Gay Old Age (which is anything over 30, so I guess we gays could learn a thing or two from the straight people regarding ageism and youth obsession).

One of the hosts, my friend and UM-cowriter Haan, is Swedish and therefore decided to throw a traditional Swedish lunch and serve exotic cuisine for us neighbouring Danes.

For the American reader which may lack a sense of Scandinavian geography I enclose a map:


What they eat in Sweden is not exactly the same down in Denmark. In the eyes of a Dane, Swedish cuisine may seem a bit on the heavy, sauce-and-cream-filled side — probably because they get much more snow than we do. They’re also just one country away from Russia so there you go.

Ok, let’s get on with what the hosts chose to serve their Danish guests.


Get the snaps flowing and the party going. In this case with a classic: Jubilæums Akvavit.


Scandinavian glassware and Royal Copenhagen porcelain plates.



On the table is a Danish tidsel (thistle), for decor and not consumption (even though that would be very New Nordic):


People are starting to feel saucy after a few glasses, and as tradition demands, we follow along and sing old Swedish drinking songs.

sangThe songs are unexpectedly dirty.

The kitchen is converted into a full scale Swedish lunch buffet where the main courses are DIY Swedish North Sea shrimps and Swedish krebs.


Fresh shrimps on ice:


Krebs (crawfish) — as in Krebsegilde, the traditional Swedish Summer event where you catch the krebs in the local lakes and eat them in the garden under the open night sky.


Poor krebsies…

At the kitchen buffet you can also find homebaked bread.


And another Swedish dish: Västerbottenosttorter (Vaesterbotten cheese pie):

Boiled eggs (meant to be eaten along with shrimps):


Potato salad with capers and other stuff. Perhaps some spices. I didn’t ask, but it was very good.


Saffron dip with real very expensive saffron. Haan the (air) host picks it up in China when he’s on a stop there.


All together on one dish makes a nice colour palette.


Me: Dear Krebsie, thank you for your life, and precious juicy limbs.
Krebs: Fuck you, give me my life back, you Kinfolk reading food hipster.


The slaugthered animals are peeled at the table – the dry-sucked corpses are placed on empty plates in front of you.




Interior intermezzo. Sailor pictures on the wall.


As the day passes into evening we are served another traditional Swedish dish as dessert: etonmess.


Which consists of strawberries, meringue, whipped cream and fresh raw vanilla.


The Swedes do like their cream…

After a few more hours we are served the Swedish natmad dish (night food) called Jansons Fristelse (Janson’s Temptation):


Anchovies, potatoes, onions and double cream (!) are baked in a tray.


I don’t think you would find a lot of Jansons Fristelse in Los Angeles homes due to that infamous double cream ingredient.


But just like the other dishes it’s very Swedish — heavy, filling and probably perfect for a snowed-in winter night at the local wood cabin inn.

Let’s conclude this post with a portrait of a speciel gift which one of the hosts recieved. Here it is — sucked onto the mirror in all its glory next to the bed with the guests’ jackets. What fun!


Perhaps also practical for a long lonely winter night in that same cabin?


  • Kayoko
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I just had crawfish the other night, they are so tiny but sure pack a lot of flavor punch!

    Let’s get sassy in that cabin, baby.

  • yoko
    Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Wow, I want to try the “night food.” Thanks for the refresher course in Scandinavian geography. This looks like a really fun dinner!

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