History has always been one of my favourite subjects at school. I therefore almost jumped for joy when Mats told me that his mother used to be a history teacher and that she had volunteered to show me the historic sights of Stockholm. But more about that later ...
Mats’ mother was not only an excellent history teacher; she also was a great cook. On the first evening of my stay she made a delicious fish casserole. At the time I wasn’t into food and cooking yet, so I never asked her the recipe. And now it is too late as she died some three years ago. And although Mats is a fine gourmet, something I learned when he came to see me in 2007, I’m not sure he’s a real chef!
The main ingredient of the fish casserole was fresh herring. I’m pretty sure about that. And then there were a lot of onions and potatoes and bay leaves. Maybe you recognize the dish; so if you happen to know the complete recipe, don’t hesitate to send me an email. I really would appreciate it.
During my trip to Sweden I also had my first fast-food experience; although at the time I didn’t realize it. Mats’ mother made something which I, till today, still refer to as a Swedish hamburger. What you do is this: you simple panfry a beef burger. In the meantime, you finely chop an onion and slice a tomato. When the burger is done, you put it on a plate. Next you put a generous blob of ketchup on it, top it with the chopped raw onion, next comes a layer of tomato slices, topped with a generous helping of mayonnaise! Yum!
I know this may sound silly, but I’ve been brought up on solid traditional Belgian food, always including meat, vegetables and boiled potatoes or French fries (of course!). Until I went to England for the first time in 1972, I had never eaten rice or spaghetti. My first rice dish was a cold Indian style dish including rice, tuna, mayonnaise, onions and paprika. My first pasta experience was tinned Heinz spaghetti on toast with a fried egg, sunny side up! And my first spaghetti bolognaises goes back to my first year at university in 1975. That's a lot of 'firsts', isn't it?
I like to believe that I've come a long way since ...