Monday, May 2, 2011

The two shocking news of the day!

Today was a day with two very surprising and good news!


1. I found Swedish made pickled red beets in a store


2. Osama Bin Laden has been killed


...in that specific order.

I'm Swedish and not overly patriotic about it (as we Swedes tend to) but there's some stuff from the old country that I really need to keep my daily life going. Basically it's the Swedish "Knacke" hard bread and the pickled red beets. I can live happily without most of the stuff that Swedish expats long for: rotten herring, salty liquorice candy, blood sausage and stuff, but the two mentioned I really need to function normally.

The bread is eaten on a basically daily basis while the red beets are more used for cooking a few special dishes and as a side dish to others so it's more of a bi-weekly/monthly need as opposed to a daily need. Particularly the beets are basically required for the simple but delicious "left-overs" dish of pyttipanna made with left-over boiled potatoes, sausage and onion, pan fried together and eaten with a fried egg and the beets (and plenty of knacke of course!). As Mrs. Sunshine only has a rudimentary knowledge of Swedish, mostly related to baby vocabulary such as "poo", "fart", "puke" and "sleep" she refers to the dish as "German Potatoes" as a similar dish here in Japan is called. This usually triggers the evil eye of dissaprovement from my side and quickly has her change it to "Salaryman's Swedish German Potatoes", which is at least a minor improvement.

In my last shipment of food from Sweden I completely forgot to order the beets and putting in another order just for the beets felt a bit too much as it's a bit of a chore and the shipping fees are quite big. So I've done my best to make do without them, but earlier today as we were in our local "Kaldi Coffee" import foods shop, to my great surprise I found three cans on a shelf at a very reasonable price (I quickly snatched up all three of them!). Pretty amazing since I can't really imagine any Japanese people buying it and using it for any cooking.

This also reminds me of the time I had brought Mrs. Sunshine with me to Sweden and as we were doing some food shopping in a supermarket and effecient as I am, I thought that we should split up and get the stuff the needed of the shopping list. I asked her to get a few things and then quickly headed of to get some of the other stuff. As I came back, I saw Mrs. Sunshine standing at the same spot with nothing in the shopping cart and looking quite annoyed. As I asked her "what's wrong, couldn't you find the stuff?" I got a quite annoyed "how the hell am I supposed to know what's what in here? Nothing is written in any language that's understandable for normal people!" followed by some pointing at foodstuff in our immediate vicinity "rågbröd?! Köttbullar?!! Fullkornsmjöl??!! I don't know if this is even food!" (for you Swedes, you have to imagine these Swedish words pronounced in a mix of Japanese and English).

After that little frustrated outburst, we continued the rest of the shopping together, but she mumbled ""Mjölk"?! How am I supposed to know that that means "milk"?!" a few times...

15 comments:

Mr. S. said...

Blood sausage ('black pudding' in my Anglo/Irish childhood): I'd forgotten about that! I'd be happy even to get something called 'boudin noir'.

Kaldi rules. There was no Kaldi I knew of when I last lived here in the 90s, and I had to go to one of the overpriced places downtown to get even pesto! However, the one thing Kaldi doesn't have is HP sauce, A1 is no substitute. Worcestershire sauce, but no HP...

Contamination said...

For me a lot of American products keep me feeling Australian enough while living in Japan. Though there are some things I can only get from "home".

It's great about Bin Laden.

Any chance I can get http://japan.jdonuts.com into your blogroll?

kathrynoh said...

OMG your swedish german potato thing sounds so freaken good.

lina said...

Last timne IIRC its some chilli oil. Now you found these too.

Chris said...

"rotten herring, salty liquorice candy, blood sausage"

No wonder the Sweden isn't famous for ...er...food...

I love Swedish Meatballs but doubt the ones I ate are anything like the real ones.....praise God ;)

TheOctopus said...

"Rågbröd? Köttbullar? Fullkornsmjöl?"

Sounds like items from an IKEA catalogue.

daft said...

"Fullkornsmjöl" that can't be easy to say in Japanese.

Sarahf said...

We even have Kaldi here in the Boonies, I usually go for the free cheese samples. Now I will look for Swedish foods I have no idea how to cook.

BiggerInJapan said...

ha, heading ABBA-land end of this month.

I'm getting my salties fix at the IKEA store in Yokohama. Pretty decent selection there.

Auberginefleur said...

I thought maybe Mrs. Sunshine announced a new baby to come.

RMilner said...

Japan has a rotten fish delicacy too. Funazushi, I think.

Mr. Salaryman said...

...a bit annoying, I did write replies to everyone the other day but for some reason it crashed on me so I'll try again!

Mr. S - I think we are all happiest without any blood pudding here in Japan! But yeah, Kaldi is great and these import food shops have popped up pretty recently, when I came here 10 years ago it was a real hassle to find import stuff!

Contamination - I guess you'll have to start your own kangaroo and koala farm to harvest the meat though, can't find that in a US focused shop!
I try to keep the blogroll a bit tight, but I'm going to clean up a bit in a little while, let me see what I can do.

Kathryn - It's really good actually, very simple but really good. Mrs. Sunshine claims that it's her favorite among the stuff I cook.

Lina - Yep, gotta love the chili oil! The only problem now is that a lot of crappy Japanese brands have popped up and they're missing the spiciness of the real Chinese deal!

Chris - There has come a few great things out of Sweden, but yeah, the cuisine is not really among those. Meaballs are good, but hey, in the end it's just like small round hamburgers.

Octopus - Yeah, those crazy ikea folks with their Swedish product names that noone can pronounce properly except us Swedes, what's up with that really?!

Saraf - Oh, not the free coffee? Mrs. Sunshine always heads for that the first thing!

BiJ - Have to admit that I'm a bit jealous! Good season to go there now (oh, heard that they had snow though the other day, so maybe not)

AB - Nothing that exciting for the moment!

Rmilner - Well, believe me when I say that the Surstromming really really stinks...

David said...

Are these pickled red beets similar to the ones we have in the UK? If so I may have to pay a visit to Kaldi at some point.

big bro said...

Baby Sunshine's cousins love pyttipanna, and they have even tasted the beets. I try to keep that out of their reach though, it stains pretty badly. Maybe if the kids would eat naked...

The secret behind Swedish meatballs is to not make them like little round hamburgers - they should have at least half of the meat as ground pork.

Emma said...

I think the one thing I would miss the most in my everyday life would be rågbröd/rugbrød. I'm from Denmark though, and I think we might have a slightly stronger attachment to it, something similar to the Swedes' relationship to knäcke.

I'm going to Japan soon, so I'll keep reading! It will be useful to read a fellow Scandinavian's views on things. Nice to know you can still get rødbeder in Tokyo. Now I just need some leverpostej and rugbrød...

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