The Diary of Dairy Posted by Transparent Language on Oct 23, 2008 in Culture, Vocabulary
I am out of town for a while, actually I’m out of Sweden for a week, and I’ve been gone for only one day and my dearly beloved already managed to call me four times.
“I need milk,” he says, “I’m at the store and I don’t know what kind of milk to buy.”
Errr… normal milk, I told him. He said there were many kinds of milk. The dairy section went on for miles and miles, he said. A few minutes later he called again to tell me that the milk he bought was sour. I asked him to read to me what it said on the carton. “Something mjölk,” he answered.
Turned out the poor dumbo bought filmjölk and attempted to add it to his coffee. Foreign men, eh?
A word of explanation is in order. My dearly beloved doesn’t speak a word of Swedish, and as you can see, he doesn’t do much shopping either. But he was right in noticing that Sweden has a dizzying varieties of dairy products, some of which would be considered unfit for human consumption anywhere in the world outside of Scandinavia.
And this observation is shared by all newly arrived expats. Sweden loves dairy. Fresh dairy, sour dairy, yogurt dairy, strange yogurt dairy and every imaginable flavor of sour cream under the sun. What it lacks, in my opinion at least, is in the cottage cheese (“keso” på svenska) and cheddar cheese departments. Fortunately, I’m not a fan of cheddar, and I can live with only a couple kinds of keso.
But just what is this mysterious filmjölk that my not-so-smart half bought today? You can say that:
- Filmjölk (fil) är en sorts tjock mjölk som smakar lite surt.
Which is a very gentle way of explaining it.
Mini mjölk is your garden variety skim milk.
Lätt mjölk is low fat milk.
Mellan mjölk (literally – middle milk) is milk with somewhat reduced fat content.
And then you have your standard mjölk – full fat milk.
Cheese is simply “ost” and there’s again a mind-boggling array of varieties of kinds of types of flavores of it. The most popular (at least it seems so in our town) is hushållost, which comes in huge plastic packages. And by “huge”, I mean really huge – the things are a kilo each, or more. I don’t know about you, but it would take me about a year, if not longer, to eat a kilo of cheese.
One of the largest producers of dairy in Sweden, and actually – in the world, is Arla. The company has a website in several languages, and the Swedish version makes for a surprisingly easy read. They even have a section where you can search for recipes (sök recept) or if you’re like me, too lazy to search, go straight to Arla Köket to read about the new cooking ideas. Check it out!
Now, let’s see just what kind of mess my dearly beloved will make on Saturday when he’s doing the laundry. I can’t wait to find out! LOL!
image: Arla Foods