Thursday, February 7, 2008
We had read coming in that there would be some differences. For example there's no maple syrup, and brown sugar can only be found at gourmet stores as a specialty item. Peanut butter is available, but far from cheap. Salmon is relatively cheap, while chicken is relatively expensive (although it isn't as extreme as Norway, where salmon is poor people food and chicken is a fancy import item). You can get good pork cheap. Don't buy the Danish Salami (no processed meat product should be that color). The toothpaste tubes labeled "kaviar," well, they aren't quite caviar (I'll let Jennifer fill you in on that one). There's no Mexican food. And, of course, don't eat the herring.
This has mostly turned out to be true, although there do seem to be some rudimentary Tex-Mex ingredients in the stores. While nearly everyone speaks English, however, this nascent bilingualism does not, for the most part, carry over to product labeling. So, there has been some guessing, most of which has worked out. Fläskfile appears to be pork tenderloin, which, when on sale for 79 SEK per kilogram is not unreasonable. Filmjölk, on the other hand, is not what you or I would recognize as mjölk, but rather a kind of unappealing fermented milk. My quest for Italian sausage continues, and now I can add chervil to my list of hard-to-find ingredients.
My favorite bit of food labeling so far has to be the eggs I bought the other day. Every egg is stamped with a code that tells the country of origin as well as the production method. The choices for the latter are ekologisk produktion, burhöns, and my favorite: frigående höns inomhus. Just how much walking do indoor hens really get in a day?