Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Archive for November, 2010

Snowy Stockholm Thanksgiving: Easy fixings

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Today may as well be Christmas instead of Thanksgiving with the snow still coming down. I’ve never hoped for a white Turkey Day but bam, that’s what we’ve got. Snow is early even for Stockholm but it’s messing with gathering my Thanksgiving Day fixings (we’re feasting tomorrow, today’s a work day.)

On the other hand, I have to say I’m grateful for the improved availability of some of the “must haves” of Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce for instance.cranberry sauce

Word on the cyber street of Stockholm is that cranberry sauce in a can and fresh cranberries are available in a number of local supermarkets. I managed to get a few boxes of frozen cranberries yesterday (though no fresh and no cans.) What a departure from the original Stockholm I moved to 17 years ago when even the Swedish word for cranberry, tranbär, only produced blank stares when I asked for it as a juice in bars (cranberry juice was THE mixer of the early 90s back in Boston.) Yesterday, the very helpful staff of a few supermarkets were conferring back and forth using “cranberry sauce” as the name food item interspersed in their Swedish in a surreal Swenglish dialog. Cranberry has come a long way.

And pumpkin pie no longer needs black magic. Pumpkin-in-a-can (the easy route)pumpkin can is still a prized commodity, but the elusive evaporated milk (to mix with the filling –even if made from pumpkin scratch) no longer requires a reconnaissance mission. The local Willy’s is my supplier.

Last year the lovely folks at Taylor & Jones delivered our bird to the doorstep. This year I decided to take The Local’s offer on a 10% discount buying from Ingelsta Kalkon, our original supplier. Looking out at the snow falling I’m thinking the smarter choice would have been T&J’s. Next year. (No snow please)

Happy Thanksgiving (how many shopping days ’till Christmas?)

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Ball at the Blue Hall: Not the Nobel party, but close enough for jazz.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

The men were all suave and debonair in their white tux tails (Swedes call them “frack” and I’m sure the British have some other name for them as I’m pretty sure none of the men were wearing suspenders).

The women were primped and stylish in ball gowns and evening wear. The event at the Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset) Sunday evening could easily have been mistaken for the Nobel Prize Banquet except the King and Queen weren’t in attendance. We did, however, have a Nobel Laureate among the guests.

We were attending the 100th jubilee celebration for the mechanical engineering faculty at the Royal Technical Institute (locally better known as KTH or Teknis) and I knew that this is the closest I’m ever going to get to something like the Nobel Banquet.

(Overview of the actual evening’s dinner guests)100 år KTH

This evening’s event was close enough that the staff have used it as a training opportunity for the newbies who will be working the true Nobel Banquet on December 10th. Our dinner had “only” 750 dinner guests. During the “real deal” there are over 1200 waiting for their hot meal. Amazingly they manage to get out the hot meal in a matter of minutes (I can’t remember the exact number but 3-4 minutes sounds right.)

Also magical was finishing up the evening dancing to the same orchestra, On Cue, who will play for this year’s Nobel Banquet, so we got a little preview on that too. They were fabulous and 3 of them (all 3 played the sax funnily enough) are also former alums from the mechanical section and the ME section’s big band orchestra Osquar Mutter.

Here’s a shot from their perspective of the guests toasting the 100th birthday moment at midnight. champagne toast

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Named and shamed: Safe for us blatte to go out again?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

It seems they’ve caught the Malmö killer. News that they’ve apprehended and remanded a suspect in a criminal case spun as a immigrant-hating-serial killer has immigrant-looking people in Malmö saying they’re feeling safer. So I guess me and my black head o’ hair ought to feel smug as a bug in rug in Malmö. Most likely.

However, with electing into parliament an openly immigrant-unfriendly political party, Sweden Democrats (SD), and the controversy around this Malmö case and the way the police and media are handling it, we blatte, the black-headed immigrants (old fashioned svart skalle) are in the crossfire figuratively and literally (though perhaps not now with the alleged shooter behind bars.)

So where does that leave us non-Swedish looking types? I’ve somewhat intentionally left alone the discussion of the election of SD into parliament. I don’t understand the supposed “shock” expressed by many Swedes that they were voted in (they were polling over 4% –the threshold number to get seats) coming into the election and I am disappointed that Swedes haven’t figured out that if you want something to go away you can’t just ignore it. I have been trying to discuss the discrimination and latent (and mostly unintended) racism towards the non-Swedes for nearly 2 decades. The most common rebuttal is a denial that it could exist since most Swedes are kind-hearted and well-intentioned. I don’t refute that for an instant. But if you don’t want to address the spin-off effect, even as unintentional as can be, you will never be rid of it. So, I kind of feel it’s the same story just later on.

But there are even other newer developments within the Swedish society now. Swedish media has in general a tradition to not publish names and faces of suspects. In fact, convicted criminals also normally enjoy anonymity at the hands of the media (a huge debate in and of itself). However, now one of the main newspapers, Expressen (and The Local too) have released both.

One thing is for sure, the term “blatte” ain’t gonna be less used anytime soon. Sigh.

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