24 July, 2001
Yesterday sixteen college students arrived at the station. They are part of a glaciology course being offered through Stockholm University. They will be here for two weeks. In honor of their arrival, Karin the cook prepared a traditional northern Swedish meal. It included surstrommen, potatoes, and cabbage salad. Surstrommen translates to sour herring. Or, some call it fermented herring. The undergrads from St. Olaf called it stinky, rotten herring. The herring come whole in cans that are bulging. The cans bulge because of the increased gas pressure inside the can due to the fermentation process.
Traditionally, surstrommen is herring that is soaked in salt water for an entire year in wood barrels. After a year has passed, the sour herring is consumed late in the summer as part of a celebration. The surstrommen we had came out of a can. The smell was pretty intense. The flavor was not so bad - I kind of liked it. It is mixed with potatoes and put on crackers. Many of the Swedes from Stockholm (a more southerly location in Sweden) claimed that they never consume the stuff!
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