Written by a gal from NYC living in Sweden, this blog dabbles in Swedish food and culture!
When you learn a new language, there is so much to figure out and discover, for example, pronunciation, grammar, new vowels, culture…One thing that I’ve realized is that there is a HUGE difference between animal sounds in Swedish and in English. In the States, chickens sound something like, bok…, bok bok bok… bakaw, bok bok bok. But in Sweden, when one wants to make chicken sounds, one goes, wop…wop wop wop wop wop (which I totally protest!) The pig sound, in English, is oink oink oink, which doesn’t sound one bit realistic, but in Sweden, they sound like this: nuff nuff nuff. Frogs in the States go ribbit, ribbit, ribbit… but I have never in my life heard a frog “say” ribbit ribbit. In Sweden, it’s kwok kwok kwok. A little more plausible.
So don’t forget about how animals sound in the new language. Very important. The same goes for the noises people make in order to express different emotions. If I’m surprised or taken aback, I say OH!, OH NO! or WHOA!, but in Swedish, it goes a little something like this OY! or OY OY OY! When something is disgusting, I usually say EW! YUCK! or UGH! In Swedish, it’s USCH! (pronounced OOOSH) Made a mistake? WHOOPS! or HOPPSAN! in Swedish.
But what do you say when something tastes good? I will probably say YUM or MMM. But here in Sweden, it’s MUMS! at least in writing, that’s what it is. I have yet to hear anyone say mums at the table. And then there’s MUMS FILIBABBA, which means yummy yummy (?!?!), according to a friend. This, for the life of me, I can’t understand. Mums filibabba. What? What is this filibabba business?!?! I can only think that it sounds like someone drooling. Filibabba. Babba babba. It also makes me think of Ali Baba. I don’t know, but I don’t like the sounds of this mums filibabba. Not at all.
What I actually am here to talk a little about is Kalops, a Swedish Beef Stew, which is filling and warming during the winter months (though the first time I tried this dish was last summer). The name Kalops comes from the English word, collops, which means small pieces of meat. But according to Wikipedia, the word collops may have a Swedish origin. So it’s unclear where the name comes from. It’s a simple stew slow-cooked with chunks of beef (that just fall apart), carrots, and onions- perfect for all the rainy, snowy, and cloudy days we have here.
In any case, it’s a totally yummy dish. MUMS!
recipe from Niklas Ekstedts Niklas husmansklassiker : 100 rätter du bara måste kunna
800 g beef chuck, chopped into cubes
3 yellow onions
4 bay leaves
3 whole allspice
4 whole black peppercorns
2-3 dl (about 1-1½ cups) liquid from pickled beets
salt, freshly ground black pepper
1. Salt, pepper and fry the beef cubes in a hot pan with a little bit of oil. Let them brown properly and don’t overcrowd the pan with meat.
2. Peel the onions and chop into chunky pieces. Scrub the carrots. Place the allspice and black peppercorns in a small piece of cloth and tie it in a knot.
3. Add the meat, onions, whole carrots, and spices to a large pot and cover with water.
4. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam from the top.
5. Lower heat and continue to cook until the meat is soft, about 2-3 hours.
6. Strain the liquid and let it reduce until 2/3 remains. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and the liquid from the pickled beets.
7. Chop the carrots into smaller pieces and return them to the pot. Remove and discard the allspice and peppercorn sachet. Warm over low heat.
*** I added 1-2 tablespoons of flour to thicken the stew***
8. Serve the stew with boiled potatoes and pickled beets.