WOTD: smörgåstårta

Today’s word literally means “sandwich cake” in Swedish. I have seen it translated as “savory tart” though, which to me sounds like a naughty woman.

This cake-like concoction, popular throughout Scandinavia, is comprised of layers of white sandwich bread, mayonnaise or some other spread, ham or shrimp and cucumber slices. It’s a popular fika dish here in Sweden. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of fika for Swedes. The word means coffee but it’s much more than just coffee. It’s like tea in the UK: a big deal and a whole meal.

Anyway, we were served this after today’s conference at work. Even though I’ve lived in Sweden for more than five years, this was actually the first time I’d ever had the opportunity to try this delicacy. Despite the popularity of the dish, I must say that it’s definitely not one of my favorite things to eat. Well, it’s not exactly awful, but the idea of a savory “cake” made out of white bread and mayonnaise just seems somehow wrong.

The one I tried had smoked salmon and shrimp and there was crushed pineapple between the slices of bread. I thought it was a bit weird.

Here's a picture of one made with shrimp, egg and caviar.

Swedish Police priorities

It seems that hardly a day goes by in Sweden that I don’t read about some woman being sexually assaulted, masked men with axes rob a bank, or there is a gang shooting.  Growing up in Sweden I’m sure that we had crimes, but it seems to me that there are more crimes now than there used to be.  Maybe that’s just me idealizing my carefree childhood, but still, times are changing.  Common sense would dictate that a Rudolph Giuliani-style crime crackdown would be in order:  prioritize catching the bad guys and getting them off the streets.  But no, it seems Swedish cops are way too busy trying to catch speeders, do DUI enforcement, or even dancing!

Granted, all those things are important, but enforcing a winter tire law!!!  WTF?

What the hell is a Winter Tire Law, you ask?  Well, in Sweden between 16 April och 30 September, you are mandated to drive with summer tires, and the rest of the time, during the winter, you are supposed to drive with winter tires.  Apparently this is a big thing in Sweden and the police are out in force making sure that Swedish drivers are in compliance or they will face a 500 SEK fine (approximately $80 USD dollars, 2011).  When I moved to Sweden for grad school, I didn’t even know that there were separate tires for winter driving and summer driving.  I had never heard of anybody in the United States changing their tires with the seasons.  Well, except my old college roommate who lives in Ohio, but he’s German, so does that count?  Anyhow, I’m glad that Swedish Police have their priorities, just give them some savory tarts and they will get right on it…  solving trombone capers.