First published on November 26 2006
A few months ago I invented a new sandwich. There’s nothing odd about that, it happens every day – you just find what’s in the fridge and you make a sandwich out of it. However, this sandwich was special – it was a demon-sandwich, the anti-sandwich, El Bocadillo Del Diablo. You see, this sandwich BROKE THE RULES OF SWEDISH FOOD!!!
Yes indeed, it was truly horrible, a travesty – I combined two things that should ON NO ACCOUNT be put together, not even under pain of death. The Swedes are very, very particular about what goes together and what doesn’t. This is very amusing in a country which boasts the following items (some of these taken from a previous blog entry of mine):
– Kebab Pizza
– Pea soup and pancakes
– Potatoes and jam
Now these things are just fine to put together, but MY two items – beetroot salad and tuna fish – just do not work. See, I said it – BEETROOT SALAD AND TUNA FISH – and I’m still alive! But should I mention this combination to any Swede – and I do mean ANY Swede – they make a shocked face, give a little shiver and say “ugh”. Really, I’ve tried, they ALL do it, even the ones that consider themselves to be “cosmopolitan”.
When I press them as to why they will not try a sandwich that I promise them is nice, they usually answer “because it’s just WRONG”. And that’s it, explanation over, take your horrible perverted sandwich and get out of here.
Figure 1: Forbidden pleasures
Now maybe this is just me but I find this very odd indeed. How are you supposed to uncover new foods, create new recipes, if you don’t put things together that have not been together before? I will try ANY food if somebody tells me it is good – really, anything. Horses testicles, monkey’s brains, giant tree grubs with vegemite…as long as another human being likes it, I accept there is a chance that I could also like it and give it a fair shot.
I have searched the Internet and could not find this sandwich anywhere. I suspect that this “beetroot salad” (rödbettssallad) could be an entirely Swedish thing – it’s sort of like a beetroot coleslaw. So if you foreigners want to try this marvellous sandwich – hereby know as the “Tuna Paddy” – then either go to your local Swedish deli or else move here. And to my Swedish readers – off you go and try it, and then tell me what you think! Go on, I dare you!