Nordstjernan 1818

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The Swedish North Star, continuously published since 1872. Volume 146 No. 18, December 15, 2018. Price per copy $3.50.

In the month of December we face a collection of important annual rituals and remarkable meals. Common to all of them, from glögg mingles to corporate holiday parties, is their contribution to a loaded Christmas atmosphere that can only be redeemed in the perhaps most unusual meal that Swedish food culture can boast, Julbordet, the traditional Christmas table.

Page 22, 24 We encounter salmon, löjrom, Sámi specialties such as gahkku or suovas but also Kiruna grown shiitake mushrooms as we visit Lapland / p18 A Christmas Julhög for every family member / p25 Behind the scenes with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s longest collaborator / p30 Three months after the election: Time for Löfvén, C and L to form a new Swedish government? / p34

Food in the wintry north

Swedish Lapland /p18

a thousand years of our christmas table

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The Christmas goat


ness World Record B) for new firefighters to have something to practice on C) to bring attention to the buiness district

2 Where were the first 20 wind turbines in the world built in 1980? A) New Hampshire, USA B) Måde, Denmark C) Bjerkreim, Norway The words for Christmas in the Scandinavian languages are very similar to each other: It’s “jul” in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish; “jól” in Icelandic; and, “joulu” in Finnish. Of course they all relate with the English word “yule,” the archaic term for Christmas originally applied to a heathen festival lasting 12 days around the winter solstice. The julbock, or Christmas goat, which adorns many homes in Scandinavia during the holidays, may be related to the god Thor who rode across the heavens in a goat-drawn carriage. Long ago the julbock was quite a character, turning tricks on people, even inspiring men to dress up like goats and pull pranks. Later the julbock went on gift-giving missions, not unlike Santa. The Finnish word for Santa Claus, “Joulupukki,” literally means Yule Goat. Today the jul/yule goat is really just a straw goat made from the last grain of the harvest, bound in red ribbons and kept as a token of hope for the new year. They come in all sizes, but the largest for the last 52 years has been the 42-foot-tall Gävlebocken, built new every year in Gävle, Sweden where it hopes to stand throughout December without getting burned. Name’s Days of the Swedish Calendar Namnsdagar i december

December 15 December 16 December 17 December 18 December 19 December 20 December 21 December 22 December 23 December 24 December 25 December 26 December 27 December 28 December 29 December 30 December 31 December 15

New York Chicago Stockholm Kiruna Lund Los Angeles 2 NORDSTJERNAN

Gottfrid Assar Stig Abraham Isak Israel/Moses Tomas Natanael/Jonatan Adam Eva Juldagen Stefan/Staffan Johannes/Johan Benjamin Natalia/Natalie Abel/Set Sylvester |

Sunrise & Sunset

7.12 am 4.29 pm 7.11 am 4.20 pm 8.38 am 2.46 pm below horizon 8.30 am 3.34 pm 6.51 am 4.45 pm

3 What widely known television character was played by Swedish actor Warner Oland (1880 – 1938)? A) Captain Ephraim Longstocking B) Charlie Chan C) Robin Hood D) Tarzan

4 Who was Gre-No-Li? A) Norway’s green giant B) Greenland’s famously negative politician C) Sweden’s triple threat soccer trio 5 Which Swedish King was born on 32 Rue de Monceau in Paris? A) Karl XIV Johan B) Oscar I C) Oscar II D) Fredrik I CULTURE


6 What is not offered as an incentive to buy an electric car in Norway? A) free parking B) no import and vat taxes C) no toll roads or ferry fees C) access to bus lanes D) free designated driver after midnight

7 What was Swede Sven Salén’s shipping business known for having transported around the world? A) Volvos B) bananas C) birch wood D) saffron 8 What does it mean to “swisha” in Swedish slang? A) play basketball B) use the toilet C) send money through an app D) disappear for the weekend

9 The Emigrants, based on Wilhelm Moberg’s iconic Swedish stories of emigration, was filmed on location in what U.S. states? A) New York and Maryland B) Pennsylvania and Ohio C) Wisconsin and Colorado D) Illinois and Kansas Answers: 1:C, 2:A, 3:B, 4:C, 5:B, 6:D, 7:B, 8:C, 9:C,

did Gävlebocken, the biggest straw Christmas goat in the world, get built for 1 Why the first time in 1966? A) to win a Guin-


December 17 — Stig Stig is a man’s name with Danish roots that comes from the word “stiga,” which means “to walk.” It was originally a by-name that little by little became a given name. A “stigman” is a highwayman. It has been used in Skåne, southern Sweden, since the end of the 12th century. December 21 — Tomas Tomas or Thomas is a given name for males originating from the Aramaic language meaning “twin.” The oldest proof of Tomas in Sweden comes from a rune stone from the 13th century. It was a fashionable name during the 1950s and a decade later it was one of the 10 most common names. There are 71,956 37,851 Tomases (with or without the h) in Sweden. There are also around 50 women with it as a middle name.

founded in new york city in september 1872 Nordstjernan (ISSN 1059-7670), founded in New York City in September 1872, is published by Swedish News, Inc., 570 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022 • Readers services and editorial submissions: P.O. Box 1710, New Canaan, CT 06840 Periodicals Postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices., Nordstjernan is published semimonthly, except for the months of January, February, July when it is monthly and Augustwith no issue. POST MASTER: Please send address changes to Nordstjernan, P.O. Box 1710, New Canaan, CT 06840 Subscription rates: 1 yr. = $55, Two yr. = $99, outside US 1 yr. = $167.

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this week…

December TO DO 12.15 SIGNIFICANT IN MANY WAYS: In 1791 the U.S. Congress ratified the Bill of Rights, and 100 years later John Naismith invented the basketball. Over 200 years later in Sweden, Riksdagen, the Swedish parliament, unanimously voted yes to Swedish EU membership in 1994. 12.16 THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: TREDJE ADVENT / Advent, from the Latin word “adventus” which means arrival, is celebrated during the month before Christmas. Each Sunday is celebrated, and Swedish families light the third candle of the Advent wreath on this day as an Advent star shines in many windows. 12.21 PUT UP THE JULKÄRVE: TOMASDAGEN* / Traditionally a market day and time to put up the julkärve (Christmas stalks); also the day the beer was ready. Named after the apostle who voiced his disbelief in the resurrected Jesus, sometimes referred to as Doubting Tomas (Tomas tvivlaren). With a nod to the tomte count in the previous issue, this is also Skumtomtens Dag in the Swedish almanac. 12.21 GET YOUR VITAMIN D: VINTERSOLSTÅNDET / Winter Solstice: It doesn’t get any darker than today but from now on the days get longer and lighter. It’s soon spring ... again? 12.24 WATCH CARTOONS / JULAFTON: It’s Christmas Eve, the big event with a festive meal and Christmas gifts. And at 3 p.m. all of Sweden watches the traditional “Kalle Ankas Jul” (Donald Duck’s Christmas).

Food and culture the Sámi way—in Lapland in Sweden’s north. /p18

Dashboard, p4-5

The best Christmas (re)gift / American “Best of” winners are Swedish / Halland goes Danish / Sleeping for success / Peter No-Tail / Most attractive on the job market / Grattis, Queen Silvia

Events calendar, p6-7

What’s going on in Swedish America

Holiday events, p8

12.25 GET UP REALLY EARLY (OR JUST STAY UP ALL NIGHT): JUL / It’s Christmas! Many Swedes get up very early to go to church for the special Julotta service. A bell used to toll at 5 a.m. to awaken the people for the 6 a.m. service, today the service may start as late as 7 a.m. Then there is an entire day ahead to enjoy Christmas gifts, especially a new subsciption to Nordstjernan. God Jul! 12.31 IT’S NEW YEAR’S EVE: NYÅRSAFTON / Happy and healthy 2019!

*Historically this day was significant for people in all of the Nordic countries. It was the day to

cancel contracts with day croppers and tenants according to law. It was a day when all preparations for Christmas should be finished and a traditional market day. Indeed, in many places people really considered that day the real beginning of the holidays. Up until 1776 the day was also a general holiday.

A word of thanks Readers, advertisers, contributors, donors, benefactors — colleagues, partners, friends! We’ve come a long way. Even when I first set foot at the then Brooklyn offices of the paper quite a few years ago I saw it as the platform for thoughts, inspiration and entertainment we are now. I just never thought I would be the one steering the ship this many years later—had I known I might have run for my life—but, here I am. And few things in life have been - are - more fulfilling than serving you. Contrary to Facebook founder Zuckerberg, whose mantra that Facebook isn’t a company but a community has sounded more and more hollow this year, Nordstjernan is and remains your newspaper, that is, the newspaper of everyone involved. What you’re holding right now IS the newspaper of the Swedish American people, by the Swedish American people, for the Swedish American people. I, as editor and publisher am but a proud caretaker of an institution that’s been a living platform for the community for 147 years, for everyone in the United States with


Some things we love this time of year and other things we don’t – and why. /p13, 22

Readers Forum, p9-12

Reader feedback from near and far.

Swedish News, p34 a connection to or having an interest in Sweden. A reader out west said Nordstjernan is not just a subscription to a newspaper “… it’s a membership; a membership in a group that instantly opens doors and fills you up and carries you by giving context, substance and purpose.” For some other comments, turn to pages 9-13 and, although FB is no friend of publishers, don’t hesitate to use it and other social media to share your opinion of the paper - us. A world of thanks to you all, for the opportunity to serve you, for your faith in us, for your loyalty and for making all of this possible, tack så mycket och allt gott inför helgerna: God Jul och Gott Nytt 2019

End in sight for Swedish government talks? / Sweet benefits for Sweden / Swedish curlers dominate / New Nobel committee / Swedish liaison with the United States.


Recipes for making your own personal “pile” of delicious Christmas breads. /p25 The Exchange Rate:

Ulf Barslund Mårtensson Editor & Publisher

$1.00 = SEK 8.98 (12.05.2018)

DECEMBER 15, 2018 3

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Best small business in America ... Swedish!

The best Christmas (re)gift This year’s Christmas gift (Årets Julklapp) reflects the interests of Swedish consumers for new sustainable alternatives and increasing concerns about climate and the environment. It is: the recycled garment. In order to receive this distinction, HUI Research chooses a product that is a reflection of current social trends and consumer behavior; Swedish consumers want to shop more sustainably, and the recycled garment - made in whole or in part of recycled material or second hand - meets all the criteria: the product should be a novelty or have gained a new interest during the year; the product must represent the time we live in; and the product should account for a high sales value or sold in a large numbers.

The stories, the traditions, the people behind the news. founded in new york city in september 1872 executive editor

& publisher:

Ulf Barslund Mårtensson ( editor:

Amanda Olson Robison ( managing editor & production: Everett Martin graphic design: Nadia Wojcik ( contributors:

Chipp Reid - Ted Olsson - Leif Rosqvist - Kitty Hughes Ulf Kirchdorfer - Valorie Arrowsmith - Olle Wijkström Bo Zaunders - Göran Rygert - James Kaplan - Gunilla Blixt publications director:

Mette Barslund Mårtensson (; 800.827.9333, ext 12)

nordstjernan p.o. box 1710 new canaan ct 06840 contact us at 1.800.827.9333 ext 10 for reader services, email:; ext 12 for advertising, email: Covering three worlds: Sweden, America and Swedish America. Order your own copy, $55.00 for a year (18 issues) Choose ‘subscribe’ at or call 1.800.827.9333, ext 10 4 NORDSTJERNAN

The winner of this year’s Best Small Business in America has strong Swedish roots: Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik in Sister Bay, Wisconsin won the national award named by Rubicon Global. Rubicon asked small businesses across the country to tell their stories on what differentiates them from others and how they are using business as a force for social or environmental good. The contest, only in its second year, drew hundreds of entries. That number was whittled down to 15 then opened to public voting to decide the winner. It probably wasn’t hard to choose the family-owned Door County establishment, which is known in part for having friendly goats on its Norway-made grass roof that helps reduce spending on energy and heat, and has been serving authentic Swedish and American comfort food for nearly 70 years. The restaurant still operates by “the principles my father laid out so many years ago,” said Al’s son, Lars Johnson, who co-owns the business with his two siblings. Al Johnson was a Swedish immigrant and World War II veteran who started the restaurant by hiring good people, treating them well and being mindful of giving back to the community in numerous ways. “Al Johnson’s is a prime example of a small business taking advantage of its history and integrating a sustainable solution that yields financial and environmental benefits, along with demonstrating sustainability in action for its patrons,” said David Rachelson, vice president of sustainability for Rubicon Global. The famous area landmark will be donating the $10,000 prize money to the Wisconsin Humane Society as part of their existing program of supporting local work in the arts, social services, sustainability and community programs. For more info, see

Halland ‘goes Danish’ for a mutually beneficial future The southwestern Swedish region of Halland will once again become part of Greater Copenhagen, a distinction it hasn’t had since Denmark lost the war to Sweden more than 350 years ago. As of Jan. 1, 2019, Halland will join the Greater Copenhagen initiative when its six municipalities and 5,454 sq km are added to the cooperation, which markets Danish and Swedish areas around the Öresund Straits as a single business region. The cross-border political cooperation benefits business, education and transport infrastructure, as well as tourism. The Greater Copenhagen co-operation includes 46 Danish municipalities on Zealand and now 39 Swedish municipalities (33 in Scania, six in Halland) as well as two regional authorities each in Denmark and Sweden. In 2000, the Øresund Bridge was completed to link Copenhagen to Malmö, and in 2016 the Øresund Region was renamed the Greater Copenhagen region. Halland stretches north of Scania up the western coast of Sweden just south of Gothenburg; its principal cities are Halmstad, Kungsbacka, Varberg and Falkenberg.

dashboard | december 15, 2018

Sleeping for success

Sleeping well, and thus looking more rested, can benefit you both personally and in your work life. With too little sleep you can be perceived as tired, less healthy and less attractive. In addition, other people are less willing to hang out with someone who looks sleepy, and there is even a risk that your job search would suffer. “There is a lot of research on how sleep deprivation gives negative effects to the individual who did not sleep, but less about how the outside world perceives someone who looks tired. We would like to answer if people who look tired also risk being evaluated inadequately by others,” said Tina Sundelin, who based her dissertation for the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University on the subject. In four different studies, photographs of people who had varying degrees of sleep were shown to others who evaluated them on variables such as attractiveness, health, reliability, leadership skills, employability and how much they would like to interact with the person in the photo. When the people looked tired, they were judged more negatively than when the same people looked more spirited. The dissertation “The Face of Sleep Loss” can be downloaded at but is long and academic; just remember: It pays to sleep well.

Peter No-Tail

SF Studios is recording a new film about Pelle Svanslös for the younger movie-goers and their families. Fans will have to wait a while to see it: The new animated film about the good-hearted cat Pelle Svanslös (Peter No-Tail) will premiere around Christmas 2019. Gösta Knutsson’s popular stories about the sweet and kind kitten Pelle Svanslös have been read by several generations since they were first published in 1939, and they are still

(Pending the film, check out our crossword on p12)

popular throughout the Nordic region. In the new film, Pelle lives a beautiful and protected life in the countryside along with Birgitta, the girl who loves him. When a major storm brings him all the way to the city of Uppsala, he ends up in a strange world. He finds new friends but is also faced with challenges. Does he dare to keep on being kind? Is he strong enough to be a hero? And will he ever go home to Birgitta again?

Most attractive on the job market

The annual Global University Employability Ranking surveys 250 universities from 41 countries, according to how desirable students from each university are on the labor market. The most recent report ranks students from Stockholm University as the most sought after among all universities and colleges in the Nordic region. Ten universities from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark made the global top 150 list, and Stockholm University takes the best position among the Nordics in place 45. The survey, by Times Higher Education, is based on surveys among approximately 7,000 recruitment officers at major companies worldwide. For more info, see

Season 9 of the mega hit series Allt för Sverige (known as The Great Swedish Adventure in the U.S.) is ready for a new cast of Americans who are eager to find out more about their Swedish heritage and go to Sweden as part of this adventure of a lifetime. The producers of the Swedish version of “American Idol” and “Minute to win it” are coming to the U.S. to find outgoing Americans with Swedish ancestry to participate in the reality television show that will be filmed on location in Sweden during May- June 2019. The deadline to apply is January 20, 2019. In the years 1846-1930, 1.3 million Swedes immigrated to America to build a better life for their families. Today, more than 4.8 million Americans have Swedish heritage. If you are one of them, you are qualified to participate in Allt för Sverige. For more information or to apply to be a contestant, see

Photo by Lena Ahlstrom /

Casting call for Swedish Americans

Grattis, Queen Silvia

Her Majesty Queen Silvia turns 75 on Sunday, December 23. Her platinum jubilee is being celebrated in Stockholm with a seminar and reception related to her foundations that support major efforts in child rights issues, drug prevention and dementia care. There will also be a reception at the Royal Palace with special guests.

Silvia Renate Sommerlath was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1943, the only daughter of her German father Walther Sommerlath and Brazilian mother, Alice. Silvia and then-Crown Prince Carl Gustaf met each other during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and were married in 1976.

DECEMBER 15, 2018 5

local events

Local Events Connecticut

Ridgefield Ongoing Helena Hernmarck: Weaving In Progress, the exhibition of the internationally acclaimed Swedish artist and weaver (now in Connecticut) who revolutionized weaving tapestry for modern environments. Her process plays on traditional Swedish weaving techniques; the majority of the wool she uses is spun at a family-run spinning mill in Sweden and hand-dyed to her color sensibilities. Through Jan. 19, 2019 at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 203.438.4519 / /


Chicago 12.16, 10-11 AM Bullerbyn: Sing cherished children’s songs, read humorous tales and have lots of fun in Swedish. For Swedish speaking children ages 6 months to 5 years and their parents. Meet in the gallery space or the Children’s Museum. Kids are welcome to stay and play in the Brunk Children’s Museum after the program. Swedish American Museum / / 12.21, 11 AM - noon Hejsan – The Tomten: Join us in the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration for story and craft time on today’s Swedish theme: The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren. All ages are welcome to attend with a caregiver for this free (with admission) program. Reservations are appreciated and can be made via email to Swedish American Museum, 773.728.8111 / Ongoing Encore! Encore! The dazzling puppet divas of Chicago’s famous Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera astounded audiences between 1941 and 1970 at Chicago’s Swedish-themed restaurant, Kungsholm. They’ve come to the Swedish American Museum where visitors of all ages can learn about the history of the restaurant and theater, and hear the stories of puppeteers and visitors alike. Along with dozens of puppets, the exhibit includes elaborate et pieces, meticulously detailed props, and smorgasbord and Kungsholm-related ephemera. Swedish American Museum, 773.728.8111 / /


Orlando 12.16, 9:30-2 PM Breakfast with Santa & Kids’ Holiday Crafts: Enjoy breakfast with the kids and a free photo opt with Santa himself, then head outside for a fun holiday craft event from 12- 2 p.m. Ikea Orlando, en/store/orlando


Lindsborg 12.26, 10 AM - noon Annandag Jul: Annandag Jul means literally “another day of Christmas” an official part of the Christmas holiday in Sweden. Experience a traditional Lutheran Church 6 NORDSTJERNAN

service in Swedish at Bethany Lutheran Church, 785-227-8687 / travelinfo@ / www.visitlindsborg. com/christmas-in-lindsborg


Boston Ongoing A Nordic Celebration of the Winter Solstice: The Christmas Revels present a unique blend of music, dance and storytelling with a theatrical and musical performance. The Revels’ Nordic celebration is a joyful theatrical celebration of the winter solstice that showcases cultural traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. $12-$85 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre through Dec.29 617.972.8300 / / www. West Newton Ongoing All Things Swedish: Former architect Marty Lehman paints buildings, cityscapes, landscapes and “all things Swedish.” He rediscovered the joy of watercolor painting, and this show features his favorite themes from the last decade: buildings, cityscapes, landscapes and all things Swedish. On view through December at the Scandinavian Cultural Center, 617.795.1914 /


Minneapolis 12.20, 6-7:30 PM Jul Allsång – Christmas Sing-Along: Dance around a Christmas tree. Sing, dance and have fun learning several popular Swedish Christmas songs at this family-friendly workshop. American Swedish Institute, 612-871-4907 / /www. 12.21-12.22, 9-10 AM Kids at the Castle - Tiny Tomtes and Extraordinary Elves: During the hour before the museum opens to the public, families can enjoy circle time, storytelling, crafts, visual play, and music inspired by the season. Suggested for ages 2-5with an adult. $8/family, registration not required. American Swedish Institute, 612-871-4907 / / 12.23, 1-3 PM Making Traditions: Lilla Julafton Special: Music in the Mansion (2-3 p.m.) & Family Craft (1-3 p.m.) Encounter music, dance, handcraft and more while exploring the Handmade Holidays exhibition and the decorated Nordic Holiday Rooms in the Turnblad Mansion. Any visit can become a joyous treat for all ages to build memories and new holiday traditions. American Swedish Institute, 612-871-4907 / info@ / 12.27, 7-8:30 PM Handmade Holiday with Glögg: An exclusive, sensory, after-hours tour of the Handmade Holidays exhibition. Hear, see, taste and smell holiday traditions from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and the Czech American community. Complete with glögg cocktails and lite-bites, this evening explores the handmade details, decorations and stories that fill each room of our historic house. 21+ event - $50 ASI members / $55 non-members. American Swedish Institute, 612.871.4907 / info@ /

Spirited museum tour in Philly

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... a tour and a glögg tasting opportunity. Every Swede knows one of the best parts of the holiday season is glögg. This year, the American Swedish Historic Museum in Philadelphia is combining the warm atmosphere of the museum with warm glögg on December 27, 3 - 5 p.m. Staff will provide special insight into some of their favorite collections, then tour attendees can join a light reception and sample a very special glögg provided by the sponsor Sjoeblom Winery. Mikael Sjöblom is the glögg master​as well as winemaker at Sjoeblom Winery in Napa, CA. He and his Swedish team have over 80 years of experience making glögg; he is behind many successful name-recognized brands in Sweden. Mike says, “To make good quality glögg, it is imperative to start with a good quality wine. My glögg is made with a 2016 vintage wine. Only a handful of other wine makers also create glögg, and unfortunately, understanding the importance of the base wine is often lost in translation when adding spices to it.” Learn more about Sjöblom Winery or purchase glögg in advance for your own Swedish holiday party at Mikael’s Glögg Club, For the special event at ASHM, please register in advance, tickets are $10/members and $20/non-members (must be 21 or older to sample glögg). 215.389.1776 / Scandia 12.15 & 12.16, 10 AM & 1 PM Girls & Dolls Tea Parties: Enjoy a festive tea party with your doll! Stories, games, dances, crafts and music centered around historical information of the mid 1800s. Special Christmas teas include the legend and celebration of Lucia. A fun afternoon for girls of all ages! Saturdays 10-1pm / Sundays 1-4. $20/person. please RSVP to 651.433.5053, Gammelgården Museum.

artist created her bold and colorful works years ahead of Kandinsky or Mondrian who would later make abstract art a household word. This is the first major solo exhibition in the U.S. devoted to af Klint, offering an unprecedented opportunity to experience her long underrecognized artistic achievements. Through April 2019 at the Guggenheim Museum. www.

North Carolina

Portland 11.28, 10 AM- 1 PM Nordic Workshop: Create chainmaille earrings, modern versions of ancient Viking chainmaille. With sterling silver, copper and brass, you will learn the art of making the little rings, weaving them together, and assembling them with a few beads as colorful accents. In this workshop, create at least two variations: one to wear home, and one to gift! All materials will be supplied, but bring eye magnification as needed to work with small details. Nordic Northwest, 503.977.0275 / lailas@nordicnorthwest. org /

Charlotte 12.19, 11 AM-1 PM Pepparkakor Houses: Join in the fun to make gingerbread houses in the entrance lobby next to Smaland. Open to the first 25 children while supplies last. Ikea Charlotte,

New York

New York Ongoing Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future is an exhibit of early abstract art by af Klint. The late 19th-early 20th century Swedish


local events Pennsylvania

Philadelphia 12.18, 10:30 - 11:30 AM Toddler Time - A Very Swedish Christmas. See the museum decked out in its holiday splendor! Toddlers and families will get into the spirit by learning about fun Swedish holiday traditions such as St. Lucia Day, pepparkakor and Jultomte. We will read Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydåker and dance to seasonal music. If you’re not already a member, now is the perfect time to join - museum members attending December’s Toddler Time will receive a double discount in the gift shop the morning of the program! It’s a perfect opportunity to teach your little ones about Swedish culture and stock up on last-minute holiday presents! Registration is recommended, but not required, $5/child or free/Museum Household Members. There is no charge for accompanying caregivers. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / Pittsburgh 12.19, 6-8 PM An evening with Tomten: Get your photo taken and enjoy milk & cookies with Santa! Don’t miss two opportunities to see Santa IKEA Pittsburgh, Ongoing From the Heart, Made by Hand: Treasures from the Women of Sweden. This exhibition includes selections of the handmade textiles presented to the museum in 1938 from every province of Sweden. Exhibit opening is free with museum admission. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 / Ongoing Ingmar Bergman and His Legacy in Fashion and Art will be on-view on ASHM’s Balcony through January 21, 2019. This exhibition was developed by the Swedish Institute and is on view at ASHM through the support of the Consulate General of Sweden in New York and the International House’s Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia’s premier exhibitor of film and moving picture. American Swedish Historical Museum, 215.389.1776 /


Seattle 12.21, 6:30-8 PM Let There Be Lutfisk: Enjoy a traditional lutfisk and meatball dinner during Happy Hour - Swedish style, with white sauce

and hand-ground mustard, or Norwegian style, with bacon and peas. Includes a cup of glögg. RSVP to 206.283.1090 or rsvp@, Swedish Club / www. 12.31, 8 PM - midnight Nyårsfest: Music and dancing and dinner by a pair of chefs from Sweden. Includes party favors, a glass of champagne and a fantastic view of the fireworks. Swedish Club, 206.283.1090 / www. Ongoing The Vikings Begin: New research with historic and recent discoveries of Vikingera artifacts tell the story of the Vikings of early Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark and Norway)—a maritime society with a very close relationship to the sea. This exhibition of original artifacts, reconstructions, and archaeological discoveries from early Viking age society offer information not only of the people but also of the world they inhabited. The Nordic Museum, / www.

Washington, DC

Ongoing Ha s s e Pe r s s o n P h o t o g ra p h y : As one of Sweden’s most respected photographers, Hasse Persson worked as a news photographer in the U.S. from 1967 to 1990, capturing everything from

presidential campaigns to the decadent Studio 54 in New York. Exhibit at House of Sweden through Dec 9, 202.536.1500 / / www.

SAN FRANCISCO Måndag 24 december kl 11.00


Samling kring krubban/julandakt. Vi sjunger de vackra julpsalmerna. Kaffe, saft och pepparkakor.. Se Facebook för mer info!

SVENSKA KYRKAN SAN FRANCISCO Norska Sjömanskyrkan, 2454 Hyde Street, San Francisco Tel: 415-632-8504 Epost: Hemsida:

God jul och gott nytt år önskar SWEA!

200 nya vänner i New York. l Fira svenska traditioner, midsommar, lucia ... l Månadsluncher, företagsbesök, after work och bokklubbar. l

Det är lite av det du får uppleva som medlem i SWEA - Bli medlem nu på

SWEA New York består av ca 200 svensktalande kvinnor, i alla åldrar, som träffas för att lära, inspireras och ha roligt tillsammans.

DECEMBER 15, 2018 7

local events

Christmas in Swedish America California Los Altos - Los Altos Lutheran Church 12.15, 3-5 PM 3rd Advent church service followed by coffee, refreshments. The Swedish Church in San Francisco, / 415-6328504 Los Angeles - San Pedro 12.16, 6 PM Svenska Kyrkans’s Lucia Celebration with Lucia pageant and Lussefika. / losangeles@ Los Angeles - San Pedro 12.25, 7 AM Svenska Kyrkans’s Julotta. / losangeles@ / 310-292-7079 San Francisco 12.15 Scandinavian Christmas dinner. The Young Scandinavians Club, /

San Francisco 12.24, 11 AM Swedish church service - “Samling vid krubban.” Swedish Church in San Francisco, / 415-632-8504 Westport - Christ & Holy Trinity Church 12.15 Lucia Celebration. Lucia, glögg and Swedish delicacies. Swedish School of Connecticut, / Florida Boca Raton 12.17, 5-9 PM Julkonsert and Julbord. Svenska kyrkan, www. / Davie 12.24, 11 AM - 12 PM Julmässa. Glögg och gingersnaps. Svenska kyrkan, www. florida /

Georgia Atlanta - Druid Hills Golf Club 12.15, 6:30 PM Lucia Gala 2018. Swedish Christmas smorgasbord, Lucia, dancing and singing. SACC Georgia. / Illinois Bishop Hill 12.25, 6 AM Julotta. Service in both Swedish and English. / 309-927-3845 Chicago 12.16, 5 PM Julmiddag. Traditional Christmas smörgåsbord, Lucia procession, dancing ‘round the christmas tree and Santa. Tickets: Swedish American Museum, / 773.728.8111 Chicago - Ebenezer Lutheran Church 12.16, 4PM Svensk Julgudstjänst (traditional Swedish Christmas service). Kansas Lindsborg- Bethany Lutheran Church 12.25, 6 AM Julotta. Traditional Swedish Christmas service with a call to worship from the bell tower. / / 785.227.8687


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Massachusetts East Longmeadow 12.16, 3-5 PM Luciafest. A pageant in the sanctuary, carol singing, folkdancing and a smorgasbord with Brage-Iduna Lodge at St. Paul Lutheran Church. radners122@gmail. com / 413-447-5850 Maryland Sveaborg 12.15 Sveaborg Society’s Lucia Celebration /

Minnesota Moorhead - Bethesda Lutheran Church 12.16, 5– 8 PM Sankta Lucia celebration. Music and Lucia with potluck holiday treats after program. Swedish Cultural Heritage Society of the Red River Valley: / 701-293-3417 New York New York - Church of the Incarnation 12.15, 4-8 PM Lucia Celebration. Lucia procession and choirs. Tickets: Svenska Kyrkan, www. / newyork@ 12.24, 11 PM Christmas service: Celebrate Christ’s birth with hymns. Glögg and gingersnaps afterward. Svenska Kyrkan, / Oregon Portland - First Immanuel Luth. Church 12.25, 7-8 AM Julotta, a service in English and Swedish. Portland Scandinavian Chorus, www. / Wisconsin Hales Corners - Whitnall Park Lutheran Church 12.25, 7-9 AM Julotta. Hymns and liturgy in Swedish and English. Coffee and treats. Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin, / No celebration listed close to you? For continuous info from all the U.S., see events at Also, find your local SWEA chapter by going to - almost every SWEA organization will have Lucia and/or Christmas fairs.

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readers forum

InBox Lite tankar kring boken - the Statues of Central Park

Idén för boken kom från en av mina närmsta vänner Andrew Flach. Han hade växt upp kring parken och alltid fascinerats av statyerna som barn. Han pratade om att han ville göra en bok och han är book publisher så han om någon kunde ju göra verklighet av det. Jag bestämde mig mest för skoj skull att ta mig en lite närmare titt på statyerna och ta lite bilder. Ju mer jag fotograferade desto mer fascinerad blev jag av dem. De blev nästan som vänner till mig som jag hälsade på då och då. Jag visade mina bilder för Andrew och han bestämde sig för att vi skulle göra boken. Han gav mig helt fria händer att fotografera dem. Så fort jag var i New York besökte jag alltid parken. Jag var faktiskt mer i Central Park än när jag bodde i New York City. Jag hade olika rundor som jag tog beroende på hur ljuset låg och vilken tid på dygnet jag kom dit. Jag var där när våren prunkade, i snöstorm, vackra snödagar med blå himmel, när sommaren var som grönast, supervarma dagar när alla sökte skydd i parken, underbara färgsprakande höstdagar, när höstlöven såg ledsna ut och när parken var helt kal. Det fascinerade mig hur statyerna på något sätt bytte skepnad beroende på hur omgivningen ändrades. Jag bestämde mig tidigt för att inte läsa något om statyerna. Jag ville inte veta något just då, jag ville inte bli påverkad av vem de var, jag ville bara möta dem på mitt eget personliga vis. Till slut hade jag väldigt mycket bilder och det började bli dags att välja. även här fick jag helt fria händer och vi bestämde oss för att fylla första delen av boken med bara bilder, uppslag, helsidor och uppslag med flera bilder utan att beskriva vilken staty det var. Lite grann som jag själv mött statyerna. I slutet beskrivs alla statyer med bild och en kort historik kring dem som är skrivna en ofta anlitad skribent för Hatherleigh Press, bokförlaget som Andrew driver och som ger ut böcker tillsammans med Penguin Random House. Det har varit ett mycket givande samarbete med Andrew och hans medarbetare och jag känner att jag fått

jobba lite grann som när jag en gång gjorde Swedish Christmas: de har gett mig full frihet att jobba på egen hand och att få fullfölja hela min idé för upplägg. Precis som med Swedish Christmas hade jag från början en färdig idé för hur jag ville att boken skulle se ut, och det är precis så som den också kom att se ut. Jag ville ha ett omslag som lockade men som inte var en självklar staty. Det är fågelbadet Burnett Memorial Fountain, en av mina personliga favoriter som jag älskar hur den ligger, lite avsides, dold men har så mycket liv. Otroligt vacker i vår-skrud och gästas inte så sällan av riktiga småfåglar. Baksidan av boken är en av de mest kända platserna i Central Park, Bethesda Fountain. Ganska tidigt under processen av boken träffade jag New York City Park Commissioner Mitchell J Silver. Jag fotograferade under flera år ceremonin när de avtäckte ingraveringen av de senaste Nobelpristagarna. På en av dem frågade jag Mitchell J Silver om han kanske kunde tänka sig att skriva ett förord till boken jag höll på med. Han bad mig återkomma när jag nått lite längre med boken och det gjorde jag och jag är väldigt tacksam för att han tog sig tid och skrev ett väldigt fint förord. Det känns kul att som svensk få möjlighet att ge ut en sådan här bok på amerikansk mark från världens mest kända park som för många döljer ett helt konstmuseum som vi

Above: The statue of H.C. Andersen at East 74th Street, and right: the statue of the Alaskan heroic sled dog Balto on East 67th St. north of the zoo (one of the many sled dogs that battled a blinding blizzard to deliver medicine during a diphtheria outbreak in the state in 1925).

förhoppningsvis öppnar ögonen för genom denna bok. Jag känner inte till att det någonsin gjorts en bok om statyerna i Central Park. Det var lite så det var med Swedish Christmas också. Det fanns en del böcker om jul i Norden men inte en helt svensk version som den jag gjorde då. Catarina Lundgren Åström, NY Tack så mycket / Thank you, Catarina. Yes, we covered the book in issue No. 17, but after receiving reader and sometimes Nordstjernan photographer Catarina’s personal commentary on her work on the book, we simply had to include it in Catarina’s original language, Swedish. Every book, just like every issue of Nordstjernan, is a process—a long, fun, eye opening, sometimes taxing, always enrichening process she describes so well. Hoping many of you will pick up her book, published by Hatherleigh Press, distributed by Penguin Random House. /Ed. DECEMBER 15, 2018 9

readers forum


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I enjoy the newspaper, David Erickson, MN David, We simply had to test some recently purchased crispbread—from both Scandinavian Butik in Connecticut and IKEA in Brooklyn; no, no bugs in either of them, but that being said, tapping the knäckebröd on the table makes for a quirky habit—and a good reminder of your note, so thanks! /Ed. Hi Ulf Just sending a “thumbs up” pertaining to your recent feedback request. I think the mix of content is great. I just went through the most recent issue with a critical eye but could not come up with any meaningful “course changes.” Please keep doing what your doing! Tusen tack Carl Oberg, GA Thanks Carl, We’ll keep doing what we’re doing and adding to it step by step. /Ed.

Ellen Lindström Since 1919

National archives and library for Swedish-American historical research Publishers of Swedish American Genealogist

Greetings! Recently you ran some stories about hardtack in the newspaper. Here is my hardtack story: Both my parents immigrated to the USA from Sweden over a hundred years ago. My father served in WWI (France) and worked in the logging camps in northern Minnesota during the 1920s. In his later years before he ate hardtack (knäckebröd?), he always tapped it on the table. When asked why, he said “To get the bugs out!” A habit he’d picked up along the way. Evidently bugs enjoyed hardtack too!

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readers forum

The life of Alfred Nobel Why in Sweden? The life of Alfred Nobel was the subject presented by Bengt and Margarita Gerborg at the fall meeting of the Swedish Cultural Society of Cleveland, Ohio. Quite an appropri-

ate time to do so, as the Scandinavian genius was born just one day later, on October 21 in 1833. I guess we all believe we know about his invention of dynamite; however, when presented with his many accomplishments, a new

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perspective was gained. Alfred, after entering the first grade which he endured for a year, moved to Russia where he and his brothers were privately tutored. Incidentally, he never attended college or university, but did become proficient in chemistry. The inventor was awarded 355 patents and was proficient in Russian, German, French and English, besides Swedish. Oh yes, he also wrote poetry. A new insight presented by Margarita was the possible influence upon Alfred’s creation of the Nobel Peace Prize was a woman, Bertha von Suttner, who ranked as a “peace activist” of the time. She had im-

plored him to stop making weapons and explosives. Something must have worked, and she was indeed the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Bengt projected copies of Alfred’s third hand-written will and one of a new English translation which created the world famous, Alfred Nobel Prize which raised the unanswered question. Since the vast majority of his 63 years were spent in Russia, Italy, France, America among others, the question remains, why in Sweden? Thank you Bengt and Margarita for a most excellent and informative evening.

Continue the good work of interesting cultural Nordic articles. Nordstjernan is “growing” on me. Enjoyed recently reading about the West Coast, Göteborg and Bohuslän where I come from and the great food stories.

My grandmother emigrated from Sweden to the U.S. in 1922. In preparation for going back to Sweden for the first time in 1958 she subscribed to the Swedish newspaper from the San Francisco Bay Area (part of your organization now). Later I grew up seeing it. Years ago I stumbled across Nordstjernan at IKEA in Orange County and subscribed. My grandparents only shared the Christmas Eve meal as far as Swedish traditions go. Y’all have taught me a lot about Swedish traditions. Keep up the good work! (Nordstjernan is everything I ever dreamed of)

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Art from OH, Ingrid from NJ, Gerald from CA, Catarina from NY, David from MN and Carl from GA—the latter three on previous pages along with May-Lis, Inger and Kristina on next page over—you represent the breadth of readership we strive to serve and your contributions, comments and feedback are greatly appreciated and always welcomed. Many thanks. /Ed.

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readers forum Dear Editor, I so wish there could be more in-depth articles about what is really going on in Sweden, i.e. the economy, what the Swedes are concerned or happy about, how the immigration problems are being solved. For a reader, there is very LITTLE about Sweden as such and way too many pictures and “news” about the various Swedish/American clubs or organizations in the U.S. But if that is what replaces news out of Sweden I am beginning to wonder if it is worth subscribing to Nordstjernan (which I have done now for, must be, probably more than 20 years). Thanks for listening, May-Lis Andrus, MI

Dear May-Lis, I’ve thought at length about your inquiry and we will work to incorporate more content that illuminates the areas you mention. We do carry a lot of news briefs: shorter material that covers politics, economy and society, but have mostly stayed away from covering more politically charged subjects ourselves. We have always invited outside columnists to cover politically challenged areas to avoid presenting only one opinion to the readership—perhaps it’s less so this fall since politicians in Sweden, after the September election, seem to be more concerned with party politics and expanding their own agenda or diminishing others than with what’s good for the country.… There are problems, and a lot of Swedes are not happy with how the established politicians and the Swedish media have handled things over the last 10 to 20 years. And yet, many problems are, for now, local and limited to certain groups or geographic areas—someone visiting central Stockholm, who goes on a safari around Lake Vänern, travels Göta Kanal or visits the Dalarna region, for example, will not encounter what we might call the downside of today’s Sweden. Sweden of 2018 has issues—with housing, increasing welfare costs and disturbing recent economic indicators; with difficulty integrating the massive amount of refugees in recent years and increasing crime. For sure, anyone observing Sweden with a keen eye from abroad knows this. The public debate on these issues in Sweden is historically mostly lacking, however, albeit less so over the last couple years. We will do our best to accommodate your wishes without becoming biased or one-sided in our reporting. Thank you for your loyal readership. /Ed.

Jag ville gärna ha mer korsord på Svenska. I Amerika har vi ju massor med korsord på engelska. Vi behöver dem inte i Nordstjernan. Kristina McCormick, ME More crosswords in Swedish ... Here’s one of the bilingual crosswords created by Tom Luning—a bit of a challenge and requiring some first-hand knowledge of Peter No-Tail / Pelle Svanslös. For you Kristina, Elisabet in California and several others. Enjoy! /Ed.

Why don’t you have an article about Sundsvall in Medelpad. It is always about Stockholm, Stockholm, Stockholm! Other than that Nordstjernan is everything I ever dreamed of. Just about! Inger Jernberg, FL Inger—we’re starting with Lapland this time, working down toward “Mittsverige.” /Ed.

For crossword puzzle answers , see key on p34


local events

World’s largest ‘wine’ tasting While most of us may prefer our own home-made concoctions when it comes to glögg, we have to say Sjöblom Glögg is a nice addition to any holiday bar. It’s well balanced, mildly spiced and with a core flavor of wine—and a quite lovely wine at that. Anyone who visited the julmarknad (Christmas Market) at the Swedish Church in New York City, Nordic Museum in Seattle, House of Sweden, DC or ScanFair in Oregon and any of the SWEA chapters’ glögg events from LA to Florida to Washington, DC, will have already tasted the Swedish glögg made of Swedish California grapes from Napa Valley’s Sjoeblom Winery. It may be, as Mike Sjöblom himself recently said, “An occasion to go down in Guinness World Records as the biggest wine tasting event ever, with quite possibly in the neighborhood of 30- to 40,000 tasting my new glögg this season.” Sjöblom spent several days with a glögg flavoring specialist, a mixologist at a company specializing in developing glögg flavors in Sweden. Hundreds of blends were tasted, refined, retested, blended and finally approved to make the first wine-based glögg produced in the U.S. to reach market. If you’re on the east coast there’s still time to try it—head to Philadelphia on December 27 for a museum tour at the American Swedish Historical Museum in FDR Park and a taste of the glögg. If all else fails, sign up at to order your own wherever you are.

What are the least liked Christmas table classics?

Pigs feet, lutefisk, headcheese and “dopp i grytan” Number of Swedes who prefer to pass certain dishes: are some of the dishes many Swedes prefer to pass Pigs feet (grisfötter)- 74% on the Christmas table. That is, if you believe a new Boiled tongue (kokt kalvtunga) - 69% survey from the Swedish retailer Ica. Smoked eel (rökt ål) - 56% When Swedes themselves are asked which of the Lutefisk - 52% traditional Christmas dishes they prefer to avoid, Headcheese (sylta) - 50% the list is topped by pigs feet, tongue, lutefisk and Dopp i grytan - 48% headcheese. Eel isn’t a favorite either, but there may Salmon / Fish aspic (lax /fiskaladåb) - 48% be other explanations for this: Cabbage (brunkål) - 41% “There are more reasons than taste for why it Leg of mutton (fårfiol) - 35% may be Sweden’s least loved Christmas food. The Herring salad (sillsallad) - 32% eel is today a threatened species and thus also protected. We do not sell eel Embassy of Sweden in Washington, D.C wishes in any of our stores, but if you miss the taste of “smoked” on the Christmas table, you can always pick smoked salmon,“ Leif Grönlund from Ica said in a press release. The difference in food preferences in different age groups becomes apparent during Christmas. People between the ages of 18 and 34 pass more traditional Christmas dishes than those over age 65. Sixty-eight percent of those aged 18 to 34 prefer to decline lutefisk, @SwedeninUSA @OlofsdotterK, Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter compared to 30 percent of ages 65 to 74, according to the survey. Sixty-seven cent of ages 18 to 34 choose to pass on headcheese while only 30 percent of those aged 65 to 74 do.

Happy Holidays


DECEMBER 15, 2018 13

local events How many tomtar did you find in issue 17? We received a lot of guesses for the contest, but not all were correct! There’s still time to re-read the previous issue and win: Just find all the tomtar (santas) sneaking around the pages of our Dec. 1 issue and let us know how many you find by emailing your name, address and guess to: (write “juleskum” in the subject). Winners of the first five correct answers receive a bag of this year’s special Juleskum candy from Sweden!

SWEDISH-AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY Learn more about your heritage as a Swedish American! Join the Swedish-American Historical Society, which has been chronicling the story of Swedish immigration for over 70 years. Membership includes: • The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly, which since 1950 has provided stories of immigrants, what they faced in America, the communities they founded, and much more. • Sustaining member dividend books like Anita Olson Gustafson, Making Chicago Swedish. • Discounts on books. A list is available on the Society website, • Invitations to member meetings, programs, and tours, such as Gettysburg in 2013 and Minnesota in 2017. For more information: • Write Swedish-American Historical Society. 3225 W. Foster Ave., Box 48, Chicago, IL 60625 or email • Or go to our website, Mention Nordstjernan when you join or order books.

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Nobel Symposium in Washington, DC Embassy of Sweden honors the 2018 American Nobel Prize Laureates

Happy Holidays

The Embassy of Sweden in Washington, DC hosted a Nobel Symposium at the House of Sweden on Nov. 29. The event is held each year to honor the American Nobel Prize winners From the Swedish-American before they travel to Stockholm Chambers of Commerce, for the official ceremonies in December. Four of this year’s SACC-USA, and our 20 Regional six American Nobel Prize laureates attended: James P. Chambers across the U.S. Allison (Medicine), Frances H. Arnold (Chemistry), George P. Smith (Chemistry) and Paul M. Romer (Economics). Karin Olofsdotter, right, with (L-R): Frances H. Arnold, James The symposium began with Ambassador P. Allison, George P. Smith and Paul M. Romer on the Embassy roof. opening remarks by Ambassador Karin Olofsdotter, during which she stated ended with a magnificent gala dinner in the House that she believes the Nobel Symposium is one of the of Sweden’s elegant Anna Lindh Hall with just over highlights of the year and it is a great honor for the 100 special guests. During the evening it was stated Swedish Embassy to welcome the American Nobel that this gala was a good dress rehearsal for the big Prize laureates. She also emphasized Sweden’s tradi- banquet in Stockholm on December 10. The Nobel Prize winners will receive their prizes from H.M. tion of research and science: “It is very fitting that we celebrate their tremendous King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden during the official achievements at the House of Sweden. Our country ceremonies in Stockholm. Mathilde Åslund has a long history of vigorous research and science, innovations and industries.” In a conversation moderated by Dr. Alan I. Leshner, each laureate presented a summary of their work that nominated them for the Nobel Prize. Following the conversation, the audience was invited to ask questions. In the packed Anna Lindh Hall, a wide MAIL TO: P.O. Box 1710 New Canaan CT 06840 range of people had gathered, from journalists and or CALL 1.800.827.9333 - ext 10 students to representatives from the research community and NGOs. Their questions varied from the Stay informed in a Swede way. Nordstjernanis published prospects of tackling climate change, to the role of every other week with the exceptions of Jan.-Feb. and July-Aug. evolution theories and sciences, to how the laureates 1 year: $55 ❏ 2 years: $99 ❏ // Check ❏ Credit card ❏ recharge their batteries. The Nobel laureate in medicine, James P. Allison, Regular active subscribers: call or use your personal account announced to the audience’s delight that he likes to data, received through the mail or online. (Vasa members, call!) play in his blues band when he needs to relax. To the Amex ❏ Please check if you are a new subscriber, this is a gift question about whether the laureates in their early Disc ❏ or you are renewing your present subscription careers had been given particularly helpful advice, Visa ❏ MC ❏ Renewal ❏ New subscriber ❏ Gift ❏ Frances H. Arnold responded that she, as a young student, was told to try to identify what might be Name: __________________________________________ interesting in her field of research—and that gave her confidence to keep trying, again and again. Address: ________________________________________ “To give a young person the freedom to create, and not tell them exactly what has to be done, that City: ___________________________________________ freedom to create is an experience that they will carry with them throughout their whole careers,” she said. State: _______________________ Zip: ______________ After the symposium both Swedish and American press met the laureates. The laureates later gathered for a private lunch with their spouses and the ambasTelephone: ________________________ sador. In the afternoon, the laureates got a private tour of The Phillips Collection and the “Nordic Credit card#: __________________________ Exp: _____/_______ Impressions” exhibition featuring works from the Nordic countries by Swedish artists Anders Zorn Signature______________________________________________ Sec code: _______ and Mamma Andersson, among others. The day


DECEMBER 15, 2018 15

local events

Healthy holidays at California farmers markets Santas teach kids to eat well and recycle found objects for making their own holiday gifts. In collaboration with area farmers markets, the Real Santas United for Healthy Kids and the Corps of Lady Santas (CLaS) started helping parents abandon the American practice of distributing sugar loaded commercial candy as Halloween treats in favor of “nature’s candy,” such as dehydrated fruits. Many Swedish-American Lady Santas remember their childhoods in Sweden when, if they had a good week in school and did their chores, they would get lördagsgodis (Saturday candy) as a reward. They also remember it was never sugar loaded commercial confections but nuts they

had to crack open, a whole orange to peel and eat, or dark chocolate. The effort is spreading to healthyfood retailers, and some CLaS members are now producing probiotic dehydrated snacks, among other healthy snacks available at area farmers markets. They are all super yummy and healthy – paving the way for more communities to switch to nature’s candy for all their holiday needs. Speaking of holiday needs, members of the Real Santas United for Healthy Kids are also teaching children to make their own holiday gifts from materials grown or found in the garden, forest, seashore or

Merry Christmas God Jul och Gott Nytt År till alla våra släktingar och vänner

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Enjoy the Culture & Tradition of our Annual Events Hotline 847-695-6720 E-mail:,

local events kitchen. Funded through a grant from the Carlsbad Cultural Arts Commission, the Kids Art Smart – Make that Holiday Gift program has Real Santas and CLaS members running classes for kids’ groups in which they convert found objects into wonderful Christmas gifts and ornaments. The program is sponsored by the Sustainable Santa Foundation. The program has Santas and Lady Santas running classes for scout groups, church clubs and others groups of kids at a variety of venues where they convert everything from pine cone scales and wood sliced off the bottom of Christmas trees, corn husks, scallop and oyster shells into wonderful Christmas gifts and ornaments. “It’s fun to watch kids look for the image of a santa, an elf or the

Grinch in the ridges and folds on the outside of an oyster shell. Virtually every oyster has one there waiting to be brought out with paint,” says Sustainable Santa. Or on a shell’s interior surface they can create santas with whatever expression they want. Corn husks are turned into angels or the Madonna and Child; limes are carved into happy tree bobs, and tree slab santas and elves made from pine cone scales top the kids’ lists of favorites. The program is part of the Sustainable Living activities sponsored by the Sustainable Santa Foundation, 7040 Avenida Encina, Suite 104, P.O. Box 1225, Carlsbad, CA 92011. You can also follow Sustainable Santa at Per-Olof Nielsen

God Jul God Jul &


Gott Nytt År!

NEW JERSEY DISTRICT No. 6 VASA ORDER OF AMERICA District Master – Robert Coleman

Executive Board – Michelle DiAlfonso

District Secretary – Cathy Peterson

Executive Board – Kory Warner

Asst Dist Secretary – Maria Gawin

Executive Board – Robert Cranmer

It is good to be a child sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.

Trevlig Jul!

Lucia at Barnklubben Lucia#2, 1966

Det är bra att vara barn ibland, och aldrig bättre än på julen då dess mäktiga grundare själv var ett barn.

Local Lodge Stenland #727 District Lodge New York #4

Promoting Swedish/Nordic heritage and culture St. Thomas Lutheran Church Route 59 East, Central Nyack, NY

District Treasurer – Christine Coleman

Vice District Master - Kristina Orlandi


Meetings 2nd Friday of the month 7:00 pm Contact

tillönskas av VOA Barnklubben

Elsa Rix #1

God Jul och Gott Nytt År


—Charles Dickens (1812-1870)


God Jul och Gott Nytt År

District Lodge No. 1, VOA

Sweden Day New York Commitee

Illustration: Jenny Nyström


DECEMBER 15, 2018 17


Food in the wintry north

Carl-Johan Utsi/

Swedish Lapland

Sami culinary traditions in Jokkmokk, kaffeost (coffee cheese) in Kangos and food served on ice in Jukkasjärvi were among the things international food journalists experienced during their November trip to northern Sweden. The Swedish Lapland Visitors Board and Visit Sweden arranged a special trip to Norrbotten in Sweden’s absolute north for foreign journalists from Germany, Britain, France and the United States to deepen their knowledge of the local food culture. In five days, they experienced everything from the sauna culture to a gourmet dinner under the Northern Lights to convey the unique qualities in Swedish Lapland. The trip is the year’s Culinary Academy of Sweden’s concept for foreign journalists who want to get to know Swedish food culture in depth. “Many visitors want to get to know the country through food, and Visit Sweden makes an extra effort on meal tourism between 2017 and 2021. To showcase the food and culture of this exciting region for dedicated journalists is important and amazingly fun,” says Ewa Lagerqvist, CEO of Visit Sweden. The participants visited Tornedalen, Kangos, Kiruna, Jukkasjärvi, Abisko and Jokkmokk. They got grilled fish, baked Sámi gahkku (glödkaka, a thin bread baked on iron over an open fire), tasted 18 NORDSTJERNAN

coffee in various shapes and assembled gourmet food on ice, and also explored mushroom cultivation in Kirunagruvan, sauna culture in Kukkola and northern Abisko and Sámi flavors and culture. It is hoped the visit increases curiosity in Swedish and Sámi food culture and will make more foreign tourists choose Sweden for their next vacation. “We are pleased that Visit Sweden has chosen to place its Culinary Academy in Swedish Lapland this year. We see that interest in local culture and food experiences increases with travelers and curious visitors,” says Petronella Modin, CEO of the Swedish Lapland Visitors Board.

Swedish Lapland

Nearly a quarter of Sweden’s surface, the sprawling region of Swedish Lapland, offers everything that wilderness and winter adventurers dream about. Lappland is also the biggest Swedish traditional province (“landskap”) and borders Jämtland, Ångermanland, Västerbotten, Norrbotten, Norway and Finland. The majority of Swedish Lapland is nowadays part of Norrbottens Län (Norrbotten County) not to be confused with the traditional province, which covers only the eastern part of Norrbotten County – the inland mostly belongs to Swedish Lappland. Originally, Lappland extended eastward, but in 1809, the Russian Empire annexed the eastern part of the Swedish realm and created the Grand

Sami lunch: Cooking reindeer meat, or “suovas,” and a thin bread baked on iron, “gahkku,” over an open fire. Photo: Anna Öhlund/imagebank.sweden

Duchy of Finland, which split Lappland into one Swedish and one Finnish part, both of which still exist today. Parts of Lappland have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the province contains some of the oldest and most spectacular national parks of northern Europe, like the Sarek National Park, Abisko and Björnlandet. Size-wise, Lappland is almost equal to Portugal with an area of 109,702 sq km (about 42,300 sq miles). During the Middle Ages, Lappland was considered a no man’s land, but the area was in fact populated by nomadic Sámi people. However, soon Swedes, Finns and Norwegians settled there, especially along the coasts and large rivers. Swedish kings tried to colonize and Christianize

Anna Öhlund/imagebank.sweden

Shiitake mushrooms grow in the Kiruna mine.

Gravlax on ice at the world renowned Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi. Magnus Skoglöf/imagebank.sweden

the area using settlers from what is now Finland and southern Sweden. Natural resources like hydroelectricity, timber and minerals from Lappland later played a key role during Sweden’s industrialization. Today, despite large-scale assimilation into the dominant Swedish culture, Finnish and Sámi minorities continue to maintain their cultures and identities. The biggest city in Lappland is Kiruna; it’s also the northernmost city in all of Sweden, with 18,148 inhabitants (2010). The arctic city has been covered in international media in recent years since the whole town is being relocated to avoid falling into the mine it’s built on - known as “the giant move,” the ambitious 20-year project

involves moving the city two miles to the east of its present location. The actual move of culturally important buildings started in 2017 and the final phase is expected during 2025-2026.

Fresh foods

Not surprisingly, salmon and other fish along with löjrom are on the menu when you visit Lappland. Some of the Sámi specialties, such as gahkku or suovas (reindeer meat) may not come as a surprise, but how about Kiruna grown shiitake mushrooms? The shiitake mushrooms are grown inside the Kiruna mine. They grow on wooden logs purchased from a factory in Finland where they have been inseminated with fungus spores. The logs can

The Sami make up one of the world’s least numerous native peoples, with around 70 to 80,000 individuals living in Sápmi, in what is now parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. About 20,000 Sami live in Sweden — with their own cultural heritage, language, flag and parliament. Photo: Hans-Olof Utsi/imagebank.sweden

Reindeer herders have the most dangerous line of work in Sweden, according to a study that analyzed the causes of deaths among all jobs in the country. The number of deaths among them was more than twice that of farmers and more than three times the total of construction workers during 1961-2000. There are an estimated 300,000 reindeer in Sweden that occupy around 10 percent of the Swedish Sami population. The hides are used for clothing, handicrafts and fashion, and the meat for food. Reindeer herding is, together with the Sami languages, considered to be the core of the Sami culture. DECEMBER 15, 2018 19


The call of the Arctic wild ...

About 20,000 Sami live in Sweden – with their own cultural heritage, language, flag and parliament. Eco-tourism is a relatively new way for Sweden’s native population to make a living. Guided tours of the Northern Lights and rides in reindeer sleds are examples of popular activities. Photo: Asaf Kliger/imagebank.sweden

be stored in the cold for several months and moved only when it is time to grow; they are tapped to kick-start the fungi, and seven to 10 days later it is time to harvest the small delicacies. An automatic system controls the humidity, light and temperature to trick the fungus to grow fast, which makes it easier to produce on demand.

The back story

Shiitake is a wooden sponge fungi whose name comes from Japanese “shii,” which is a tree closely related to oak, and “take” which means fungus. The sponge is pale gray to brownish in color with white slats. It belongs to the agaric family and is an appreciated delicacy with a lot of aroma and spicy flavor though not so dominant as the truffle.

The fungus has meat-like properties and is a bit drier in texture than the button mushroom, for example. Traditionally, shiitake has been used in folk medicine, and in ancient Japan only nobility and samurai were allowed to eat it. Shiitake cultivation has been around for hundreds of years in Asia, but in Sweden and Kirunagruvan, the fungus began to grow first in the 1980s. The man who started the cultivation of shiitake was a Kiruna local, Sven-Ivan Mella. Mella worked in the LKAB mine where ore was broken since the 19th century. In the 1970s mining operations suffered significant setbacks, and Mella was sent to Japan in order to find new industries. He visited a mushroom cultivation organization and after a bit of saké had the idea of growing Kahvijuusto, coffee cheese, also known in the United States as Finnish squeaky cheese (not to be confused with the cheese curds made from sour milk that Midwesterners also call squeaky cheese) is a fresh cheese traditionally made from beestings, rich milk from a cow that has recently calved. The Sami use reindeer milk. With few exceptions, any commercially available versions are typically made from cow’s milk, and they lack some of the color and flavor because of this.

Coffee cheese, here served as a dessert with cloudberry jam rather than in the coffee. Photo: Teemu Rajala 20 NORDSTJERNAN

The Sami people have their own folk costume, the kolt. The traditionally blue costumes have at least 12 different styles and differ for men and women. Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden

mushrooms in the Kiruna mine. The prerequisites for fungal cultivation in the mine proved to be perfect - the temperature is even and the air is free of anything that could otherwise affect the fungus, such as flies and larvae. This keeps the mushrooms a consistently perfect quality, both in taste and appearance. Since 2016, the restaurant and hotel business SPiS in Kiruna has taken over the cultivation in the mine. “I’ve never tried shiitake with so much flavor,” commented Swede Frida Ronge, a visionary in Swedish-Japanese cooking and ambassador to Sundqvist General Agents, Gothenburg.

The Sami

Thousands of years before the borders of the modern Scandinavian countries were established or even imagined, there were indigenous people living in the Far North who shared a common language and history. They lived in a realm they call Sápmi, a term that by some accounts means expanse (“vidd” in Swedish) and refers both to the land and the people. Today, the Sámi number about 70,000 to 80,000 and live mainly in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Relatively recently, in 1993, the first Swedish Sámi parliament was elected. There are two main groups of Sámi – the nomadic people and the sea people. The nomadic Sámi have traditionally moved throughout the region with their reindeer herds. They follow the reindeer across wide expanses of land; the reindeer have been essential to their survival, providing them with food, clothing, shelter and tools. Their culture is one of hardship, driven by the extreme survival

skills needed to get through long grueling winters on the arctic plains, where the temperature can dip below –50°F. They have a traditional gender-based culture in which the women make clothing, tools and souvenirs from the reindeer, while the men are the herders. Historically, the nomadic Sámi herded their animals using dogs and sleighs. Relatively few Sami are still herding reindeer and the most modern among them employ helicopters, trucks and snowmobiles. Many have moved to different parts of the countries, or lead “ordinary” modern lives. The women have university degrees and work in cities because the traditional trade is not sufficient to employ an entire family. As they abandon the traditional way of life, the Sámi culture is also running the risk of disappearing.

The call of the Arctic wild

Like Sámi, the trappers and Arctic explorers before them, visitors to Europe’s frosty north are discovering the joy and challenge of traveling across snow and ice on sleds pulled by sturdy dogs. Much of the region’s adventure travel is organized by outsiders, but some Sámi have found tourism is a means to hold on to their way of life when traditional ways are no longer sufficient. Although tourism may offer a means of survival for the Sámi, the Inuit living in Greenland and Canada’s far north, as well as other indigenous people in the Arctic, it poses a risk to both the environment and local culture. The Arctic region, which spreads over eight different countries and across all time zones, is particularly vulnerable to the environmental consequences of tourism because of its short growing season, which means any wounds take a long time to heal. On the tundra, snowmobile tracks could take 50 years to erase if the snow layer protecting the ground isn’t thick enough, according to WWF’s Arctic Programme. Ecotourism is still a bit of a fuzzy concept - can fishing and hunting or snow-scooter riding and helicopter tours be labeled under the term? For the

Sámi, ecotourism is not only a marketing tool, it’s about respect for nature. After all, reindeer herders lived in the area long before anyone else arrived. The Sámi did not disturb nature and have lived there for thousands of years. Now environmentalists are worried that hordes of outsiders may pose a risk for the vulnerable ecosystems and small communities living north of the Arctic Circle, saying the area might be more fragile than other regions. But some local communities hope ecotourism may be a way to keep them alive at a time when people flee south in search of jobs, and they see tourism promoting their culture—to be Sámi is, for lack of a better word, cool, and people are willing to show it. Some of the traditions, after all, might not have survived without the rekindled interest in traditional ways. For more information on Sweden’s indigenous population, see (Only partly translated) and on Lapland, see

Did you know? A famous Kiruna native is hockey player Börje Salming (b.1951), nicknamed “The King.” He played for Kiruna IAF, Brynäs IF, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. Author Herman Melville mentions Lappland in “Moby Dick.” The flower of the province is the mountain avens, and its animal is the arctic fox. Lavvus, similar to the Native American teepees, have been the dwelling of reindeer herders for centuries. Much like in the teepees of North America, a fire can be built inside a lavvu because it has an opening at the top that allows smoke to escape. But there are several differences between teepees and lavvus: teepees are laid out in a half-circle, lavvus have multiple corners; the hem of a teepee is six inches off the ground, the lavvu hem is flat to the ground; teepees are more permanent, complex structures that require holes to secure the poles and several people to erect, while lavvus can be erected and disassembled by one person in minutes. Feel like making your next outdoor experience special? There’s a lavvu manufacturer on this side of the Atlantic, Northern Lavvu,

Lavvu is a temporary dwelling used by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia. About 20,000 Sami live in Sweden – with their own cultural heritage, language, flag and parliament. Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden

DECEMBER 15, 2018 21


A thousand years of the julbord In the month of December we face a collection of important annual rituals and remarkable meals. Common to all of them, from glögg mingles to corporate holiday parties, is their contribution to a loaded Christmas atmosphere that can only be redeemed in the perhaps most unusual meal that Swedish food culture can boast: Julbord, the traditional Christmas table.

In our time, many Swedes may celebrate Christmas mainly because others will celebrate in a similar fashion at the same time, a kind of cultural “följa John” (Simon says) behavior. Most of us get time off from work when there’s a red day on the calendar, and the schools now have a secular “winter vacation,” so the children are also free from school. Perhaps in order to make Christmas worthy of value, we create a feast with links to family and relatives but also our geographic emotional origin. Christmas is in various ways a celebration of roots and origin. In order to celebrate these emotional connections, we need Christmas presents and special dishes and drinks that become worthy memories in different combinations.

The beginning of a tradition

Since Christmas is a Christian celebration, the Christmas dinner as a meal idea goes back a millennium to our celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and thus the end of the Viking era. However, there is an older meal that coincides with the celebration of Christian Christmas - the older midwinter sacrifice (“midvinterblot”) that occurred when the sun returned. Later research, however, suggests the midwinter celebration was 22 NORDSTJERNAN

a little later in the winter, probably in the middle or second half of January. It’s therefore reasonable to assume the later Christmas celebration borrowed elements from the “blot” because party ingredients are easily moved between celebrations. Most of the dishes for this old original feast are no longer made, and eating a special menu of Christmas food as we do today - to signify it as Christmas and not another annual festival - is a relatively new concept. Christmas traditions have always changed over the centuries because they respond to people’s ideals at any given time, and thus are a reflection of how we see Christmas in any single time period.

Food reflects culture

Our Christmas dinner today, a buffet that is eaten in a single sweep as a single meal, is only about 40 years old. It was in the 1970s that the Christmas buffet was created from the older, three-course Christmas Eve dinner. Until the 1960s, the Christmas Eve meal was often first a small smörgåsbord with Christmas ham, followed by lutefisk as the main course and rice pudding as dessert. Not even the three-course meal was particularly old. It had in turn come into fashion during the Ro-

mantic Period around 1880-1900, replacing a French four- or five-course meal that was earlier common in the bourgeois social class. If you were a farmer or of the working class at this time you ordinarily ate freshly slaughtered meat dishes on Christmas Eve but divided into several rounds and not as a buffet. The focus of that meal was on bread, beer and aquavit, newly butchered meat and perhaps fried spare ribs. In the bourgeois classes you ate meat and poultry and drank imported wine and spirits. The Christmas menu thus consisted of a small portion of stored food but mostly of the freshly slaughtered meat and other fresh food. One avoided eating food preserved and stored for a celebration because this was food for the rest of the year. Celebratory food has always been the opposite of everyday food, and that’s why we eat pork in the form of Christmas ham for our celebration and not sheep and beef, which is more common in history.

Exclusive and inclusive dinners

The Christmas food therefore began to be prepared at Lucia when the Christmas pig was slaughtered. If you were a poor day cropper, it was not uncommon for you to slaughter the pig but sell the whole carcass to the city’s citizens, except for the pig’s head and feet

that were kept and used for headcheese. The one who had access to a whole pig made dishes like oven-fried spare ribs, headcheese with a mixture of fresh and salted meat, and perhaps the blood soup “lummer,” a kind of black soup, although it was more common to make blood sausage or blood bread to be eaten during the coming spring. The hams of the pig were not eaten for Christmas; they were instead salted and saved as food for the coming summer. Fresh food also included soft bread, fresh buns and apples, and of course the freshly brewed and over fermented beer, finishing off the farmers’ tables until the second half of the 19th century. In higher classes of society, like clergy, bourgeois and the elite, one ate the same things as in the farmhouses but with the addition of imported wines, spices and dried fruits. Here also roasts of game were served, lutefisk and white rice porridge. What distinguished the upper class way of eating was, of course, the cooking technique with more advanced combinations of dishes, spicy meat and various kinds of sweet and fried pastries. But the biggest difference from the peasant and day cropper perspectives was probably the volume of food. The

nobility, the priests and the cities’ upper classes had a lot of meat, a lot of bread, a lot of fish and birds, and not just for Christmas but all year round. The change of the Christmas table during the late 1900s and into the 21st century is characterized by an unusual cultural process: It is a serious matter to remove dishes from the Christmas table; instead, we add and expand it and make sure everyone around the Christmas table has their favorites, because a Christmas table should be inclusive. Today’s newcomers are dishes that include fresh vegetables, salads and chicken. These dishes were not at all present at Christmas time in history but are related to the modern food industry, and of course, fast and cheap air and truck transportation. Rickard Tellström Dr. Richard Tellström is a researcher of Swedish food culture history and teacher at the Department of Ethnology at Stockholm University. Find out more at or follow Tellström’s blog at

The picture from the Nordic Museum exhibition “Dukade Bord” (Set tables) allows us to imagine a celebratory meal in an upper class environment in the late 18th century. Maybe a Christmas Eve celebration?

panko breaded christmas ham Ham is often a centerpiece of the modern Swedish julbord, usually prepared with a mustard and breadcrumb crust. Panko breaded Christmas ham 1 boiled Christmas ham, about 3 kg 1/3 cup (3/4 dl) Rosita’s Christmas mustard 1 egg yolk 1/2 cup (1 dl) panko bread crumbs 2 tablespoons of broth from the ham or melted butter 1. Heat the oven to 475°F (250°C). Cut the rind from the ham and even the white fat edge. Dry the ham with a towel. 2. Mix together mustard and egg yolk into a smooth batter. Spread it over the ham evenly. 3. Use mortar and pestle to ground panko to a somewhat finer consistency. Sprinkle over ham and make sure it sticks on the sides. 4. Add a little broth or melted butter to ham and

put in the oven until it becomes a beautiful, golden brown color, about 15 minutes. Rosita’s Christmas mustard 1/2 cup (100 g) Colmans mustard powder (1 jar) 1/8 cup (1/2 dl) sugar 2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) whipped cream You also need: A clean can with lid Mix together mustard powder and sugar. Stir in the cream, a little at a time. Stir to a homogeneous mass without lumps— you might want to heat the mix carefully in a saucepan. Pour into jar and seal with lid (after cooling if you used a sauce pan). Tip: to add a little bit of a grownup taste to the mustard, add a tablespoon of cognac. Text, recipes and image: Gunilla Blixt,

DECEMBER 15, 2018 23

feature twigs on the floor, which, when trampled, spread a fresh smell in the house (wearing shoes inside was common then).

Humble origins of thanks

On the eve of Christmas, the farm employees were called into the kitchen for a special party called “Dopparedagen” (The dipping day). Free time was next on the agenda and the employees and everyone on the farm were invited for bread, meat broth in the pot for dipping, butter, cheese and some meat. Each employee then got a Christmas present, sometimes two. One Christmas gift was Julhögen, a pile of four or five different breads, ranging in texture from crisp to soft Christmas bread. It was quite big, maybe weighed 6-8 lbs and was supposed to be for an individual to enjoy throughout Christmas whenever he wanted - a big difference from the rest of the year’s meals, which were always carefully regulated, eaten in community and rationed to allow the food supply to last until the next harvest. After the meal ended in the afternoon, everybody went home for their own family Christmas celebrations, if home was close enough. The classic “dopp i grytan” often made from the broth of the ham is a dish that doesn’t really belong on the Christmas table of our time, but to the Christmas thank-you to hired help in the old days. In the beginning of the 20th century, the thankyou extended to the employees became a smaller Christmas meal with meat, cheese, butter, bread, dopp i grytan, beer, snaps and coffee and many Christmas cookies, as depicted in Carl Larsson’s painting “Christmas Eve” (1904), above. Later yet the celebration became a bigger Christmas meal with a full Christmas smörgåsbord. In the 1970s, Christmas office parties became common; or sometimes, as now in the 2000s, you go see a holiday show together. Swedish tax legislation gives special consideration for the celebration, and the Swedish Tax Agency states: “Christmas meals for employees are a tax-free benefit if it’s internal representation, such as a staff party. Christmas gifts for employees are tax-free for employees if the value does not exceed SEK 450 including VAT.” The Christmas meal celebration in Sweden can be an inherent media risk. The invitation of food and drink (especially if it contains alcohol) and which is paid by taxpayers does not seldom raise dissatisfaction. News reports about authorities who thank their staff can give a sense of misuse of taxpayers’ money.

a corporate perk at christmas Even in the business world, one of the more traditional Christmas events is an employer’s thanks to his employees: the Julbord. Christmas is a very special time for food in any culture. When, for the rest of the year we eat according to diet and exercise and different perceptions of what is healthy or dangerous to eat, we will return to traditional menus for a few short Christmas weeks. This is when a food’s origin and relations to family, childhood and roots become important. Even in the business world, one of the more traditional Christmas events is an employer’s thanks to his employees - during a common meal. Mutual thanks are shared for the past year and Christmas gifts are usually exchanged. It is also a meal that,


in the magic of Christmas, points forward, so the cooperation will be just as good in the next year. This Christmas thank-you is steeped in history. It happened on Christmas Eve when the work for the day was completed to give way for the peaceful Christmas at every farm. The barnyard would be cleaned, all tools put away, animals fed with hay and maybe a Christmas apple. It would also be clean and freshly decorated inside, with Christmas textiles like tapestries, tablecloths and curtains, and on the floor a thick layer of fresh straw. In the 19th century when area rugs made of leftover material (so-called trasmattor) became common, they were cleaned and the straw tradition disappeared. It was also common to spread juniper

Based on research by Dr. Richard Tellström 24 NORDSTJERNAN


A julhög (Christmas pile) is a beautiful little pyramid made of different kinds of bread. The tradition of making a julhög originally consisted mostly of the coarse breads in the 19th century, and was later replaced with finer wheat breads and cakes. In the 20th century, it was eventually replaced altogether with candy. The coarser breads were put at the bottom and the bread baked with finer ground flour on top. A julhög is easy to make, still very decorative on the Christmas table and also very tasty. Historically, the different pieces of bread for a julhög had to be round, in different sizes and different thickness. The bread was divided into piles, one for each family member, with the largest, most coarse piece at the bottom. Higher up in the pile came smaller and finer breads, and at last a saffron bun or something more delicate. If the family could afford to bake gingerbread cookies (pepparkakor), they were glazed and put next to or around each pile of bread. On Christmas Eve, the pile was sometimes topped with a piece of cheese or sausage, an apple or something else.

A Christmas julhög for every family member

Retro Swedish Christmas breads What’s old is new again: Christmas baking for the ‘Julhög’ It’s never too early for Christmas baking: crispbread, sifted rye flour cakes (rågsiktsbröd), wheat flour pretzel cakes, saffron knots and gingerbread cookies. Of course you can also get inspiration for the Christmas “julhög” here and then go for store-bought bread to save time, but all the breads here (except the crispbread) can be baked ahead of time and frozen. When you have gingerbread and saffron buns ready, the only thing left for breakfast on Lucia, an Advent Sunday, Julafton (Christmas Eve), Christmas morning or any December day, is a fresh loaf of good wholesome Swedish kavring or wort bread to top with Christmas ham - and voilà, you have the perfect breakfast. This year I’m browning the Christmas ham with panko, Japanese bread crumbs (p23). It is beautiful, crisp and tasty. I top it off with the recipe for

Julhögen was everyone’s own to eat at their own pace during the Christmas festivities. The servants and the house patrons could receive a julhög as a Christmas present. Every child got their own, and they often decided for themselves when the goodies were to be eaten, which was an unusual treat. My julhög consists of crispbread, rye cake buns, wheat cake buns, a saffron bun and a decorated gingerbread cookie. Do not hesitate to make a julhög out of only store-bought bread. There are so many delicious and beautiful breads to choose from in most bakeries. It is nice, though, to at least decorate the pepparkakor yourself. Here are recipes for breads and gingerbread as well as rye and wheat cake buns and saffron buns.

Rosita’s Christmas mustard, which is the perfect complement to Christmas ham.

The everyday staple

Bread was important in everyday life during the 19th century, not only on farms but for city dwellers, too. The diet in Stockholm was about 90 percent bread and other foods from grains, such as porridge. Most often it was baked a couple times a year. The bread was then dried and thus not eaten as it was, but moistened in water, broth or milk. Christmas was one of the few occasions when freshly baked bread was served. There were many different kinds of breads with different grains. The flour was milled to different degrees of fineness. And those who could afford it, used sifted flour and flavored their Christmas bread with the wort liquid extracted from the beer brewing process.

Continues on next page DECEMBER 15, 2018 25

feature Note: If you can’t find spelt-dinkel flour, use regular all-purpose flour.


yields 10 individual servings 1/2 cup (1 dl) lukewarm water (96.8F) 5 oz (15 g) fresh yeast 1-1/2 tablespoon rapeseed oil 2 tablespoons salt 2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) spelt - dinkel flour 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (1-1/4 dl) coarse spelt You also need: flour for the work surface, plastic wrap, parchment paper, deep notched rolling pin

1. Heat the oven to 475°F (250°C). Prep the baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. Crumble the yeast into a bowl and stir with some of the lukewarm water. Add the rest of the water and thoroughly dissolve the yeast. 3. Mix together flour and salt. Mix the flour into the liquid, a little at a time, and work until dough is smooth. 4. Place dough on a flour-covered surface and divide it into two equal pieces. Cut each into five pieces. Roll each piece to a dough ball. 5. Place each ball between plastic sheets, flour and roll with a deep notched rolling pin to a thin cake, 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. 6. Move to the baking sheet and put in oven for about 5 minutes. Let the bread cool on a rack.

Braided saffron buns yields 12 buns

4 cups (10 dl) sifted spelt - dinkel flour 1/3 cup (3/4 dl) sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2-1/2 dl) milk .90 oz (25 g) of fresh yeast .2 oz (1/2 g) saffron (1 envelope) 1 egg 6 tbsp (75 g) butter (room temperature) 1/8 cup (1/2 dl) flour to work the dough For decoration: 1/2 egg 2 tablespoons raisins You also need: parchment paper, mortar 0. Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar in a mortar. 1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Heat the milk 26 NORDSTJERNAN

to 98°F (37°C). 2. Crumble the yeast in a bowl. Pour some of the milk in the bowl to dissolve the yeast. Add the saffron and let it become soft. Stir in the rest of the milk. 3. Add flour a little at a time and stir. Add the egg and stir. Work until you have a sticky dough. Allow to rise to double size for about 30 minutes. 4. Pick up the dough and work it again, you may need to add more flour. 5. Divide the dough into two parts and cut each into 6 pieces. Then divide each of those into three 1 foot (30 cm) long rows. 6. Braid the rows and squeeze them together into pretzel-like buns or wreaths. Put them on a baking sheet, 6 wreaths per sheet. 7. Allow to rise for about 40 minutes until the pieces have doubled in size. Heat the oven to 425°F (225°C). 8. Beat the egg in a cup and brush the buns. Bake for 7-10 minutes in the middle of the oven. Place the buns to cool on a cooling rack under cover.

Sifted wheat crown cakes yields 10 individual cakes

.90 oz (25 g) fresh yeast 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter 2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) water 1/2 cup (1 dl) of milk 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 egg 3/4 cup (2 dl) spelt - dinkel flour 2-1/2 cups (6 dl) all purpose flour For brushing: 1/2 egg 2 tablespoons poppy seeds You also need: parchment paper flour for rolling and kneading 1. Crumble the yeast in a bowl. 2. Melt the butter in a pot. Pour water and milk and heat to 98°F (37°C). 3. Pour some of the liquid into the bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the rest of the liquid, salt and half of the flour. 4. Crack the egg into a cup and whisk it. Pour half into the dough. Save the rest for brushing. 5. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time, and work the dough well until it becomes smooth, about 5 minutes with a processor or 10 minutes by hand. 6. Let the dough rise under a baking cloth for 20 minutes. Work the dough once more and let it rise for another 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 475°F (250°C). Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. 7. Pick up the dough and knead for a minute on a floured surface. You may need to add more flour. 8. Divide the dough into two pieces and cut each part into 5 equal pieces. 9. Roll each piece to a length and shape a classic pretzel or wreath. (A round piece is better for a julhög because it stays put.) 10. Move the shaped dough pieces to the baking sheets and allow them to rise for 20 minutes under cover. 11. Brush the bread with the other half of the egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake the bread for about 8 minutes. Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack under a cloth.


1 round crispbread 1 wheat bread roll 1 rye bread roll 1 saffron bread or saffron braid 1 grill stick 1 small red apple 1 decorated ginger snap Put the crispbread on the bottom and then add the wheat bread roll, light rye bread roll, saffron bun. Put the stick through the bread pyramid to keep it together. Put the apple on top. Lean ginger snap(s) against julhögen.

Pepparkakor (Ginger snaps) yields 6 dozen cookies

8 tbsp (100 g) butter 1/2 cup (1-1/4 dl) sugar 1/8 cup (1/2 dl) Swedish sirap; may be substituted with Lyle’s golden syrup 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground bitter orange peel (pomeransskal) 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons of water 1 small egg 2 cups (5 dl) of wheat flour You also need: parchment paper flour for working the dough cookie cutters 1. Add butter, sugar, syrup and spices to a saucepan. Gently heat the ingredients until the butter has melted then allow the mixture to cool. 2. Dissolve the baking soda in water and pour into the batter. Mix in the eggs and flour. Work together to a dough. You may need to add more flour. 3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave in the

fridge for a few hours, but preferably overnight. 4. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Roll the dough thin, about 2 mm, on parchment paper. Cut outcookies using cookie cutters. Remove excess dough around the cookies and pull the baking paper onto a baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. 5. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool before gently pulling the parchment paper from the baking sheet and allow to cool completely. 6. Decorate the completely cool cookies with icing (see separate recipe). Gingerbread cookies with names are nice to use as table place cards for celebrations around Christmas. Tip: To avoid uneven cookies, allow the baking sheet to cool - outside the house if possible - between each turn in the oven. Icing 1-2/3 cups (4 dl) confectioners sugar 1 egg white 3 drops of vinegar or lemon juice You also need: A sieve electric mixer disposable piping bag 1. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. 2. Beat the egg white and the vinegar or squeezed lemon juice. 3. Add the confectioners sugar and beat at least 1 minute with an electric mixer until snow white, thick and shiny. 4. Pour the icing into a disposable piping bag and cut a small hole at the tip of the bag. Decorate the cakes by piping the icing. Tip: The icing may be colored with food coloring.

Small rye bread cakes yields 10 individual cakes

.90 oz (25 g) of fresh yeast 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter 2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) milk 2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) water 1-1/2 cups (3 dl) rye flour 2 cups (5 dl) sifted dinkel flour 1/2 teaspoon of salt 2 tablespoons light syrup (Swedish sirap, may be substituted with Lyles golden syrup) You also need: parchment paper 1. Crumble the yeast in a bowl. Cover two baking sheets with baking paper. 2. Melt the butter, add milk and water. Heat to 98°F (37°C). 3. Pour some of the liquid over the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the liquid and stir. 4. Add rye flour and most of the sifted dinkel flour. Add salt and syrup. Work the dough well and let rise under cover for 30 minutes. 5. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring the dough to a flour-covered surface and divide into 10 pieces. 6. Roll the buns and flatten them to circular cakes, 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. 7. Make a hole in the middle of each and move them to the baking sheet. Prick with a fork and let rise under cover for 30 minutes. 8. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the finished bread and brush with water. Let them cool under a cloth on a cooling rack. Text, recipes and images: Gunilla Blixt,

traditional swedish wort bread Wort bread is a traditional Swedish Christmas bread. It’s loaded with flavors from spices and wort, the sweet liquid starter of unfermented beer. Many Swedes say this bread, with its strong flavor and a hint of sweetness, is the taste of Christmas. Baking real wort bread can be tricky since finding wort isn’t always easy, but using a sourdough starter or various beers can be good substitutes, making it worth your efforts. Your tastebuds will thank you. Sweet wort bread 1/2 cup (100 g) butter 2-1/2 cups (6 dl) dark beer 1-1/2 cups (4 dl) low alcohol beer 1-3/4 oz (50 g) fresh yeast 2/3 cup (1-1/2 dl) dark corn syrup 1 tbsp salt 2 tsp ground cloves 2 tbsp ground bitter orange peel 1-1/4 cups (3 dl) raisins

12-1/2 cups (3 liters) sifted rye flour 1/2-3/4 cups (1-2 dl) all-purpose flour

1. Melt the butter and add the two beers. Heat to lukewarm. 2. Crumble the yeast into the liquid. Add syrup, salt, spices and raisins. 3. Add the rye flour and knead well. Cover and let rise for one hour. 4. Knead with all-purpose flour and divide into 4 pieces of equal size. Form into loaves. 5. Place on an oven tray or in greased pans. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. 6. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake for 35 minutes. Tip: These loaves freeze well. (If memory serves us right, this recipe was part of Christmas traditions of Erik Lallerstedt, one of Sweden’s most famous chefs.)

DECEMBER 15, 2018 27

Merry Christmas

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God Jul & Gott Nytt År

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Happy Holidays

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Wishing all our friends A Very Merry Christmas and A Prosperous New Year The Talbot Family Carol, Kurt, Marilyn, Erika Christopher & Stephanie, Alexandra, Kaley & Wayne Wood

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Season’s Greetings to all our friends

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Sandy Watts Treasurer

DECEMBER 15, 2018 29

art and culture

Bergman 100:

Behind the scenes Swedish film producer Katinka Faragó came to the San Francisco Bay Area in November. She was one of Ingmar Bergman’s longest collaborators behind the screen — for more than 40 years — having begun when she was 17 as a “script girl” or “continuity supervisor” for Bergman. Before meeting the director, she was warned he was tempestuous and temperamental; she was advised by her boss at Svensk Filmindustri (SF) to stubbornly respond to Bergman’s actions with her own. She wasn’t even mentioned in the credits of that first film, Dreams. After that, as a young SF employee, Faragó worked with Bergman on Smiles of a Summer Night. In the beginning, if she might voice a contrary opinion, Bergman was shocked that a girl would dare reply to him, but that very audacity was the beginning of their mutual trust and admiration. He surrounded himself with the best professionals in his cast and crew; if he knew someone had done their best, he wouldn’t argue with them. Faragó and Bergman came to have a relationship of mutual trust and admiration.

Building a career

Katinka Faragó’s family had precariously escaped Hungary and became refugees in Sweden in 1940. There, her father managed to secure a living as a screenwriter (one of his screenplays was the basis for the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers classic, Top Hat), so Katinka spent some of her childhood accompanying her father on sets. Working at the state run film studio brought a wonderful diversity of projects, casts and crews. As she moved into production, Faragó’s challenge was scheduling and budgeting, but especially negotiating equitable and affordable contracts. She worked at SF in various roles of increasing responsibility, often working with Bergman and many other directors. In addition to Dreams, and Smiles of a Summer’s Night, she also worked in various capacities with Bergman on his classic films: The Magician, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Winter Light, Cries and Whispers, The Passion of Anna, The Magic Flute, Fanny and Alexander, Autumn Sonata, and After the Rehearsal, as well as on Sunday’s Children (written by Bergman but directed by his son). She also worked as Bergman’s production manager, at his film studio, Cinematograph. 30 NORDSTJERNAN

Faragó recognizes the privilege she had. Initially her challenge was to persevere by learning her craft and how a team collaborates. But only much later did she appreciate that she had witnessed something and someone so remarkable: Ingmar Bergman was a legend in cinema, and he was her tutor!

A master at work

During her career of more than 60 years Katinka Faragó has seen many changes in the film industry. The major difference between the industry in Sweden versus the U.S. was Sweden’s national studio system. While the American studios had their rival star systems, Bergman had his troupe of loyal and trusted professionals, all of whom became friends after working together on so many films. The other notable difference was the size of the crews: In early Bergman films, collaborators could all fit in a living room; later they would cram into a sound studio. Now, even in Sweden, she feels there are too many people on a set, let alone behind it. Then it was simpler: You knew everyone, their talents and flaws, and you could organize the shoots more efficiently. With Bergman, in addition to his unique creativity, there was ambience. His small troupe of trusted friends created a comfortable and comforting atmosphere for collaboration. This permitted more efficient and practical work, it was mutually inspiring for everyone. Another key element was meeting an exacting schedule. After a day of shooting, the director, cast and crew all retired only to prepare and memorize scenes and shots for the next day. Bergman studied the script he himself had written; the actors memorized their lines and all their actions and facial reactions; the crew learned where and when they would need to be for successfully shooting a complex scene according to Bergman’s exacting but creatively interpretive shots.

Shooting the films

Films were typically limited to 40 days of shooting because Bergman was on a shoestring budget. In contrast, Bergman’s last feature performance, the masterpiece Fanny and Alexander, required 127 days to shoot the TV production (from which the film was reduced) and had the biggest budget; they had five members just on production. The

During this 2018 centennial retrospective of Ingmar Bergman’s life and legacy, Katinka Faragó provided a unique perspective on Bergman’s work behind the scenes. Her presence in San Francisco was sponsored by Consul General Barbro Osher and was hosted by Richard Peterson at the California Film Institute in San Rafael and UC Berkley’s BAMPFA. A reception was held for the Swedish guest and she gave several interviews while she was in town. Seventh Seal was shot in only 35 days (considered a luxury because of Bergman’s growing stature, having been awarded at Cannes the year before). Yet even then he had to borrow money from Bibbi Andersson to shoot it. A similar thing happened with Cries and Whispers: Other filmmakers contested that SF had given so much money to Bergman to shoot the film that he had to ask his cinematographer and three leading ladies if they would forego their salaries and invest in the film. They readily did so and were rewarded handsomely from the profits when it became a hit and financially rewarding. The ever-efficient and productive director usually required only two or three takes per shot. He and cinematographer Sven Nykvist rehearsed Autumn Sonata (with both Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullmann) for two weeks before shooting, however, partly because Ingrid Bergman was new to the troupe and also because so much depended upon close-ups of individuals and duals. In The Magic Flute, all the solos and duets were performed in the Royal Opera House two weeks before shooting, to get the best performance from the singers. When filmed the singers had to mutely mouth but synchronize with the earlier soundtrack, while performing in positions that would have been more strenuous.

The rewards

For Katinka Faragó, producing Fanny and Alexander at SF, as well as The Magic Flute at Cinematograph, brought the most joy of all her Bergman films. The delight of the latter was not merely the gorgeous music of Mozart’s opera, but also the enjoyable fantasy of recreating Drottningholm Castle’s classical theater upon the sound stage. Another element of the success was that everyone knew Bergman was creating this production for children; he had rearranged the scenes and translated the script into Swedish so all Swedish children could understand it. At first musicians

art and culture

Richard Peterson interviewed Katinka Faragó on her work with Ingmar Bergman, and then he moderated questions from the audience. The photo onscreen is Bergman consulting with Faragó on the set. Photo: California Film Institute

were aghast at this sacrilege against the musical titan, until they saw its great success, which attracted many more to their operas. For Fanny and Alexander (1982), Bergman originally felt he would have to produce his Swedish (and autobiographical) performance in Germany, for he needed a large studio with many craftspeople. But Faragó said this could not be — such a quintessential Swedish film had to be produced in Sweden. She found the studio and located all the craftspeople, and she also discovered Bertil Guve (Alexander), the essential actor representing Bergman himself in this film. She had seen Guve in another children’s production and tracked him down for an audition. Bergman was struck with the boy’s performance and knew from the start he was perfect for the part because his emotional performance played in his eyes. Despite the gruesome middle portion of the film, which is crucial and makes both beginning and end meaningful, this classic is dearly beloved and cemented Bergman’s standing as a national hero. It was also a high point in Faragó’s career. Observing the arc of Bergman’s long career, Faragó sees a deep consistency. There was no change in his directing methods over the years, though the actors could only improve with each film they did together. As Bergman got older, he did not work full days but the team did. While he listened more to his actors and their suggestions

The Bergman Legacy Katinka Faragó is certain Ingmar Bergman will long be remembered among the 10 greatest filmmakers of all time, and that he is now also recognized as one of the great playwrights, composing a triad of Scandinavian playwrights along with Ibsen and Strindberg. Among the notable characteristics of Bergman’s legacy that are admired and emulated by his successors are: • Closeups and soliloquies. He emphasized the face as the portal to the soul or the character’s innermost being. • Chamber dramas. His films focus primarily upon the relationships of just a few characters, exploring their psychology, consciousness and social interplay. • Camera angles and movement. His precise angles reveal multiple layers and symbolic detail. • Lighting and color. Light often played as significant a role as his characters. He used these elements dramatically, realistically and symbolically. • Costumes and props. As he could afford more lavish productions, the fine attention to details in settings, costumes and props became an important means of reinforcing plot themes. • The Troupe. One cannot but marvel at how he and his team of professionals and friends could continuously collaborate over half a century. • Playwright. Bergman wrote all but a couple of his own screenplays. Like all dialogue, his define the characters, but they are also often very suggestive of more than the character intends to reveal about himself. • Profundity and productivity. Bergman was a man of the theater — he claimed the theater was his wife, film his mistress — that is where he devoted most of his life, and where he admired great playwrights such as the ancient classic dramatists to Shakespeare to Chekhov, Ibsen and Strindberg. He drew continual dramatic inspiration and energy from them all. for interpretation, he never improvised on the script upon the set. He said he could close his eyes and listen to his actors perform and know their physical, visual performances were perfect; their

facial interpretations and body movements were reflected in their voices. After the Rehearsal (1984) was the last film that Continues on next page DECEMBER 15, 2018 31

art and culture dramatist of modern media, in theater, film, radio and television. It is nothing less than astounding that he authored five dozen films, directed more than 170 plays, produced many radio shows and 23 television programs, as well as conceiving, scripting, and crafting most of his cinema productions. He also wrote two memoirs, several novels, and expository writing. His themes were a great appreciation of the full and joyful life, both from a comic or tragic perspective. To my mind one of the most significant achievements was his use of performance to explore and express his own life and psychological interpretations. Ted Olsson

L-R: Consul General Barbro Osher, Katinka Faragó and Richard Peterson of California Film Institute in San Rafael presented a reception and question/answer period for fans of Bergman to ask questions. Photo: California Film Institute.

Continued from previous page

Sven Nykvist worked on with Bergman, because after this Bergman closed Cinematograph to devote himself to television productions and films from those works. Nykvist was one of Faragó’s earliest and best friends on Bergman’s sets. She met him when she first began to work with Bergman, and as a young girl she curtsied to the filmmaker. They always teased each other about that first encounter, but they also became the dearest of friends, and at times she was a confidante for him, through all the years of working together. Faragó worked on some of Bergman’s contemporaries’ films, too. She worked with Jan Troell in producing Moberg’s Emigrant Saga, filmed in Wisconsin and Colorado — The Emigrants (1971) and The New Land (1972), both starring Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow. Troell was different from Bergman because he was shy but the most

stubborn man Faragó ever met. He knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it; he was a wonderful photographer and very passionate. Faragó also worked with the exiled Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky on his final film, The Sacrifice, starring Erland Josephson and Allan Edwall, shot in Sweden in 1988. She said all great directors are very disciplined, but when Tarkovsky announced he would shoot 123 shots for this film, that is exactly what he did … though each shot was the length of a short film.

A master dramatist

While noting that Bergman himself was proud of Persona, Winter’s Light, Fanny and Alexander, and The Magic Flute, Faragó would add Wild Strawberries and Cries and Whispers to her list. Those challenging films are not a bad starting list for anyone beginning to study Bergman’s films. As a modern man, Bergman was also a master

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news in brief

Swedish News


hings may have changed already when you read this in print but here’s a summary as things stand in the first week of December. The speaker of the Swedish parliament, Andreas Norlén, extended Stefan Löfven’s time to try to form a new government on December 5. The decision was based on information that several parties will start negotiations with the Social Democrats. On November 23, Speaker Andreas Norlén had proposed the Social Democrats (S) leader Stefan Löfven as prime minister - after the Moderate party chairman Ulf Kristersson had been rejected for the post by the Riksdag. Löfven, the leader of the transitional government and former prime minister, received additional time for further negotiations. Norlén requested a progress report on Dec. 7 and a “follow-up” report after the weekend, on Dec. 10. Unlike during the earlier attempt to form a government by the moderate Ulf Kristersson, Speaker Andreas Norlén has not given a date for when he plans a vote for Löfven as prime minister. If Löfven presents a constellation for a government on Dec. 10, Norlén cannot submit it as a proposal to the parliament until Dec. 11. Then two days must pass before the vote can be held, which means the earliest possible date is Lucia Day, Dec. 13. The Riksdag will have to vote on the new budget on Dec. 12, but the Finance Committee will have to adjust that report already on Monday, Dec. 10. This means it has to be clear if the Center party (C) and the Liberals (L) intend to back a Löfven administration and the transitional government’s budget proposals, or refrain from voting on it, four days prior to the vote on a prospective new prime minister.… If they support the transitional government’s budget, they will likely also vote yes to Löfven as prime

Sweet benefits for Sweden

Earlier this year Norway imposed a tax increase on sugary foods and drinks by as much as 83 percent. Critics complained the higher prices would send more Norwegians across the border to Sweden, where there is no sugar tax (and already does about $1.87 billion of business annually from crossborder trade)—bringing a boom in binge border shopping trips in Sweden.

Swedish curlers dominate

Four-time reigning European curling champions defended their title in November. Going into the finals of the European Curling Championships, Italy and Sweden were the only two men’s sides unbeaten in the round robin stage, but Sweden got the better of their opponents with a dominant 11-4 win.

New Nobel committee

The Swedish Academy, which has historically awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature said the 2019 Nobel


End in sight for Swedish government talks? According to SCB, this would be the result if an election was held in early December (numbers in parentheses show change from election day):










(no change)

The Left

Social Democrats

The Greens / Miljöpartiet

The center-left coalition (former and now transitional government)






Center party

The Liberals




Christian Democrats

Sweden Democrats

The four center-right (former?) alliance parties (A party needs minimum 4% of the vote to receive parliament seats)

minister. The coalition of Löfven’s Social Democrats (S) and the Green party (MP) could theoretically collaborate with C and L by adding to the transitional budget certain areas that are important for them. The budget by the center-left transitional government is otherwise threatened if the Moderates’ budget is supported by the Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats. If C and L refrain from voting as they’ve said earlier, the Moderates’ budget proposal will win. The Riksdag’s vote for Stefan Löfven will mark the second time a proposed candidate for prime minister is voted on since the general election; there is a maximum of four times. If none of the speaker’s four proposals is accepted by the Riksdag, there has to be a new election. The gap between the blocks has increased sharply since September’s election. The support for S and SD Prize in Literature winner will be chosen by just five of its 18 members along with two authors, two critics and one translator, all of whom are Swedish. The decision to build a new committee was taken “in consultation with the Nobel Foundation,” which had warned the academy to resolve its tarnished image related to a sex scandal and financial crimes. The new committee will also choose the delayed 2018 and 2020 literature prize winners.

(Sweden Democrats) has increased while several of the center-right coalition parties, the so-called alliance, are losing votes. It shows in Statistics Sweden’s (SCB) Partial Impression Survey, published in early December. The difference between the center-left and the center-right blocks has risen 5.4 percentage points, compared to 0.5 percentage points in the election. The center-left (S and MP) now receive 42.9 percent and the alliance parties (M, KD, C and L) 37.5 percent. The major winners according to SCB are the Social Democrats, increasing from 28.2 to 30.5 percent and the Sweden Democrats, increasing from 17.5 to 18.3 percent. The results of the survey might significantly affect the current government negotiations. The proportion of undecided in the electorate was approximately 9 percent in November 2018. Swedes “for their support and services as a protecting power in North Korea,” and discussed other issues of mutual concern. Sweden serves as a liaison channel between the U.S. and North Korea, which have yet to establish diplomatic ties.

Key for the crossword puzzle on p12

Swedish liaison with U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thanked Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström for Sweden’s help in securing the release of a U.S. citizen from North Korea. American Bruce Byron Lowrance was detained by Pyongyang since he illegally entered North Korea via China in October. Pompeo also thanked the

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