Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pretty nature and exciting food

This is an amazing photo of a dragonfly. And now over to something completely different.

Famous Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson is opening a new restaurant in New York called Merkato 55, which will serve African food. He already has the Swedish restaurant Aquavit in New York City. My favorite food editor Ruth Reichl has interviewed him. An excerpt of what he said:

"Like all food, whether you’re talking about Persian food, or Chinese food, or Swedish food, it’s always a reflection of wars, trading, a bunch of good and a bunch of bad. But what’s left is always the food story. We know so much about the European food story, and we’re getting to know about the American food story; but we know so little about the African food story."

Isn't that so true? Food traditions change all the time when people move around, and without trade, war and exploration there wouldn't have been potatoes in Sweden, hot peppers in Thailand, or tomatoes in Italy. This is so easy to forget. New combinations pops up all the time, like herring sushi (pickled herring on boiled potato) a la Marcus Samuelsson.

Here in New Jersey we already have a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant, Makeda. I need to bring my camera there!


EH said...

I adore these photos LS, thanks for showing us.

About food and war I think of coffee and Karl XII when he returned to Sweden from Turkey in the 16th century.

What came to Europe with the barbarians from the steppes of Russia? Was they who brought pasta to Italy from China?

I would put my vote on the best "war food" to be brought to Sweden on; pasta and pizza. They are so variable and still so good. Of course, like most dishes you can destroy it och put it "tastefully" close to heaven. A dish of homemade tortellinis served with a creamy sauce of "Karl Johan"-mushrooms....mmmm.

EH said...

Ehh, I realize now that pasta and pizza is more like "immigration food" and not "war food". Sweden hasn´t been at war since ...long ago.

LS said...

I think these days migration and tourism makes the biggest changes in what people eat. When I left Sweden in 1995 there was not much Thai and Mexican in the stores, but now that is everywhere in Sweden. Globalization has really made a big difference in cultural understanding and appreciation of food from other cultures. I love food from Latin America and Asia - but I don't know much about African food except Ethiopian. When I went to Tunisia in the 80s I remember couscous with really, really spicy stews spooned on top. So hot it was barely edible, but when I came home to Sweden I thought all food tasted like nothing. You do get used to spicy food.