A cultural historic food adventure

Detta inlägg finns tillgängligt på svenska på min vinblogg Aqua Vitae.

Sometime in the coming week, I intend to take a little break from my Austria adventure in favour of a historic food adventure. Some time ago I bought a cookbook by late Swedish top chef Tore Wretman; Svensk Husmanskost (Swedish traditional cooking). This book is as much a cookbook as a mirror to the historic kitchen, some recipes are from yesterday and some are several hundred years old. He mixes recipes, with tips and historical contexts.

My first try from this book will be a soup that has some connection with my wine blog, Aqua Vitae; Ölsupa (Beer soup). Wretman writes that this soup might be the cause that many Swedes’ lacks enthusiasm for soups in general. Here I stop for a few seconds. The book was written in 1967 and obviously there has been some change as lot has happened since then, much of which we can thank Mr. Wretman for. While soup may not be as much a part of the Swedish cuisine as in most European kitchen they definitely have their place. Would you like to eat really good soups Swedish as well as international while in Sweden, I recommend a small oasis in central Stockholm called Sibiriens soppkök (Siberia’s soup kitchen).

Returning to the Ölsupa (Beer soup). Ölsupa was for a long time a large part of the Swedish cosine.

The recipe that Wretman presents comes from comes from Södermanland County.

You need this:

  • 2 bottles of svagdricka (about 6 ½ cup)*
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar or syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • a piece of ginger

You can also season with a piece of cinnamon, a little grated lemon peel; a little grated nutmeg but you should not use salt.

*) Svagdricka is a Swedish low alcohol dark malt beverage brewed since the Middle Ages. It’s like a sweetened small beer, dark small beer, a little like porter but a bit blander or a little like kvass.

Boil the Svagdricka and pour in the milk. Whisk the egg yolks and pour them down the pot while vigorous continuing the whisking. Add sugar, salt and ginger. Remove from the heat and season. If soup is too weak, let Ginger stay and take a while. If you want you can spice up the soup with the cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon, but then you should be advised to refrain the salt. The sugar can be replaced by syrup.

None of the variants above sounds particularly tasteful but of course both versions will be made and tasted. Wretman tells of a Frenchman who visited Sweden in the 1830s and was affected by this national soup and in a travelogue tells of his horrific encounters with this dish, in the middle-class homes he lived while in Sweden.

A simpler version is Drickasoppa (Drink soup), hot-brewed Svagdricka was poured over porridge or bread pieces before being served.

I will come back with notes on the taste or rather distaste for the course in a near future.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

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