Tuesday, April 04, 2006

(Not) exploding fish

This was the extraordinary headline in my newspaper yesterday. I checked the date - April 3, not April 1 - and then I checked out the source, one Jan Lindqvist, and he definitely exists. So I guess it is true. The Swedes are banning surstromming (fermented herring) from the shops at Arlanda airport in Stockholm because they are concerned that the swollen tins of the delicacy may explode mid flight and shower their pungent and noxious contents all over passengers.

Fermented herring bombs? As if air travel isn't scary enough...

But it was a very good excuse to head off to IKEA and make some enquiries.

(I don't have to tell you that I got a bit side tracked in the Big Blue Box. I found these excellent storage jars and some really good value zipped hanging bags for clothes. But I digress.)

In the Swedish food department I enquired about fermented herring. The Bristolian ladies had never heard of it. But they did offer me at least six other kinds of herring and I bought some with dill.

I also bought: Cloudberry jam, rye crispbread (loved the packaging), tinned anchovies, elderflower drink, lingonberry drink, elderflower cordial, oh and a bottle of swedish vodka (to put the elderflower cordial in, apparently).

But, sadly, no exploding fish.


lindy said...

It is difficult to leave the blue box without extras, isn't it? I love the taste of the cloudberry preserve, but it has so many little seeds in it, and they are quite tough ones.

Last time I was there, I stocked up on the elderberry products.They are hard to find anywhere else in the US.

Julie said...

Being drenched in fermented herring truly sounds like terror in the air. Just the thought leaves me with quite the mental picture. OK, I'm having a laugh at those potential victims' expense.

June said...

Thanks for the warning! I had a Scandinavian friend whose parents used to send her care packages of tinned cloudberries so I thought the jam would be interesting - but perhaps a sieve would come in handy!

Kavey said...

Howdy, I'm doing a bit of a catch up on "back issues" of my bookmarked foodie blogs and came across this old post of yours.

When I was a kid (in the 70s and 80s) my dad, an anaesthetist, would often go and work in Sweden for some of his holidays - the pay was extremely good and the change was as good as a rest, so he said. When we were young enough that mum (also a dr) wasn't back at work, we'd all go with him for the duration.

Anyway, he developed a real taste for surstromming.

Recently, I organised a GTG for an online photography group and one of our Swedish members decided to attend. I mentioned it to my dad who got a dreamy look in his eye and asked whether my friend could bring over some surstromming.

Unaware of the ban on carrying the product onboard (which came in some time before the ban on selling the item in the airport shop) I asked and he agreed. He only told me about the ban after he arrived, having sneaked it through!

Luckily, it didn't explode!

My mum insisted it be opened and eaten out in the garden and they made an event of it with some local friends.

Here's the evidence:


Follow through to see all 10 pictures!

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