Speaking Swedish

I knew I had to exchange it, but couldn’t remember the price and if the credit would be enough for the next thing on my “need for the house” list.  So I looked at the receipt. There were two gruntals, an enje, three breims, an expedit, several korkens, a nordis, a ribba, and one, no two dvalas. Okaaay…. I still had no clue the price of the item I wanted to return, because I have no clue which of that smorgasbord of Swedish retail on the receipt was the item I sought. Reading an Ikea receipt is actually pretty entertaining. Maybe it’s just me, but by the time I get down to the final item, I’m transformed into a muppet Swedish Chef. I can’t help it. And I bet you a jar of lingenberry jam and a package of Knackerbrot that by the time you’ve read off 6 entries you’ll be bork-bork-borking too.



I love Ikea, especially when I have a home to furnish and significantly diminished means to do it. There’s something very reassuring about that big yellow and blue cathedral of allen wrench assembled merchandise. They paint big white arrows on the floors so you don’t get lost. They show you exactly how the things in those flat boxes stacked ceiling high are supposed to look after you’ve applied that allen wrench over and over again. Just walk through the life-sized dollhouse upstairs. Oh that’s what an enje is! And it goes so nicely with that lappljung ruta. Yes, Ikea and I have been friends for a very long time. Even when I had the bank account for “real furniture”, I’d always come back to Ikea to fill in the gaps. Maybe it was because if I could find a reason to go to Ikea, I would have an excuse to buy cardamom crackers and Swedish fish. Or perhaps it’s the satisfaction of knowing that by the time I’ve built my expedit or lövbacken, I’m an expert in deciphering cartoon pointing finger construction schematics. I’m an expert because I’ve usually constructed whatever I’m making backwards first, taken it apart, and build it all over again. It is probably more solid that way anyway.

In my often uncertain world, there is great comfort in knowing that Ikea is nearby to supply me with stylish affordability. Now if only I could figure out what the heck a gruntal is…

With the end of summer comes an abundance of some of my favorite farmers market buys. This week I found sweet corn and a lovely mild swiss cheese from the folks at Cascadia Creamery. Together, they became a creamy Herbed Corn Gratin, and the perfect summer side with grilled steak, chicken or fish.

Herbed Corn Gratin

Serves 4

  • 1 tsp soft butter
  • 3 ears corn
  • 1 tsp finely chopped herbs (I like a combination of thyme and sage, but basil would be great too)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ½ TBSP fine corn meal
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup shredded swiss, mild fontina or your favorite melting cheese
  • 1 TBSP grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish with the teaspoon butter. Shuck the corn and cut the kernels off. You’ll need about 1-½ cups kernels total. Measure out ½ cup kernels and set aside. Take the remaining cup and put into blender. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the cheeses to the blender, in the order they are listed. Blend until smooth and pour into buttered casserole. Sprinkle the ½ cup corn kernels over the casserole, then the swiss cheese, and finally the parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the middle is just set and top is golden brown. Serve immediately. Calories: about 245 per serving.

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4 thoughts on “Speaking Swedish

  1. Fish in a tube? Who couldn’t love that? Ikea is the best place in the world – kind of like the HGTV version of Disneyland for adults. The corn gratin sounds lovely – especially at this time of year. Oh, and don’t you think all those Allen wrenches would make a great mobile?

  2. I remember the many shopping expeditions we made there during the course of your many apartments . The biggie was always stopping at the caffeteria for those delicious Swedish meatballs, noodles and lingonberries after the shopping! I’ve made, unmade, remade a number odd sounding items myself, and have my own full collection of Allen wrenches now. 😄

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