I recently began a quest to find more Swedish recipes for Midsommar, which lead me to the book The Best of Swedish Cooking and Baking, by Marianne Grönwall van der Tuuk, published 1961.
This book is a doozy. Fake colorized photographs show tables in their resplendent aspic-laden glory. At the end of the day, old does not mean traditional, and traditional does not mean good. Some foods I will not be making:
--Bird's Nest: picture a sleeping mask shape of chopped potatoes and pickled beets with two raw eggs for eyes. "The first person to help himself to the dish stirs all the ingredients together until well blended."
--any of the zillions of herring and anchovy dishes: pickled, with caviar, stuffed in eggs, marinated, au gratin...too many bones, too salty.
--veal kidney sauté
--aspics. With fish. With beef. With chicken. With everything.
--"Good luncheon salad" --includes a catsup-capers-mayonaise garnish.
--Sadwichtårta, a sandwich that looks like a cake, except it uses de-crusted bread, salmon cream, and sardines as the pretty garnish on top of the torte.
--Jellied veal (jellied with 1 1/2 pounds of pigs knuckles)
--Molded cucumber salad ("A colorful salad, just as good as it looks") -- 1 cup cucumber::1 cup sour cream. How are these people so healthy?!
--Swedish Beefsteak with Onions ("A rich flavorful dish with a special "man" appeal.")
--Fried calf's liver with cream sauce ("A favorite dish among many people")
--Fried sweetbreads with mushrooms and bacon ("If you like sweetbreads, and most people do, try this recipe.")
--Orange fluff (includes food coloring)
--Merignue pyramid with chocolate sauce. I have no idea what this is.
--Bacon sauce; also contains catsup.
But I will be making some of the cookies and baked goods, that's for sure. After seeing the dreadful emphasis on fish and gelatin, I'm glad that I didn't have to visit Sweden in the 1960s. My poor father, he only ate meatballs and fika in Sweden. I can do better than that, but please hold the aspic.