how to eat a smogasbord

Like I needed instructions on how to stuff my face.  Anyone who's ever attended a buffet with me before can attest it's a good thing I work out. 

So Joey and I decided that we couldn't have a true Swedish experience unless we went to a smorgasbord.  We did some online research before we left and asked around Stockholm while we arrived; everyone seemed to agree the most authentic Smorgasbord exists at The Veranda restaurant in the Grand Hotel Stockholm.  Lunch on white tablecloths at a five-star hotel?  Fine by me. 

We sat down next to the window and the waitress brought us little pamphlets on how to properly enjoy the smorgasbord.  Like good little eaters, we decided to follow the instructions and try everything.  There are starving kids in Africa after all.

Step 1: Think of the smorgasbord as a four to six course meal. 


Step 2: Do not overload your plate.  Make several trips to the buffet and take a new plate each time. 

I suppose I'll be polite and refrain from stuffing my plate.   And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll make several trips.   You don't have to stuff your plate to stuff your face.

Step 3: Begin with the herring dishes.  These are traditionally served with boiled potatoes, crispbread and cheese.  Herring tastes best with a cool aquavit chased with cold beer.  

So this is where I really wished I hadn't agreed to try everything.  Maybe one bite of herring would have been fine.  But one bite of pickled herring, one bite of honey mustard herring, one bite of cinnamon herring, one bite of curried herring...by the tenth bite of herring I had a nice little buzz because every time I took a bite I took an even bigger sip of my cold beer.  Then came the shot of aquavit.  Bigger buzz.  Whoops.  Good thing there was more food to eat before a buzzing Melissa hit the dessert table.

Step 4: Next, try another Swedish specialty, gravad lax, which is served with a mustard and dill sauce.  Try the smoked salmon, preferably with a few drops of lemon. 

Great.  More fish.  Actually, I like salmon.  I really do.  But after all of the herring, all of the salmon started to taste...fishy.  And then there were the salmon terrines...Joey cheated and didn't even try his.  I tried them.  And drank more beer.

Step 5: Then we suggest a variety of salads, egg dishes and cold cuts of meat and poultry. 


Step 6: Now it is high time to try the hot dishes.  Don't miss the Swedish meatballs with lingonberries.

Swedish meatballs = delicious.  Lingonberries are great too. At this point we were starting to get full and had to save room for desserts.  So I ate my meatballs and Joey tried a few other items.  I understand that the food found nearby is incorporated into the food but I really wish they hadn't put fish in the cheesy potatoes.

Step 7: To round off the meal, we suggest our famous desserts, especially the fruit salad.  A cup of coffee and an iced Swedish punsch completes the meal. 

1. round indeed. 
2. fruit salad???  Yeah, right.

3. obviously we had to try the punsch.  Delight- ful, if I do slur so myself.  Tasted some- what like a sauternes and I was quite happy with that.  And quite happy after that too.  Oh and then they have to go and serve these delicious strawberry gum drops that seriously melt in your mouth after I'm two beers, one aquavit and one punsch in with the coffee - thank God for the coffee.

Step 8: Hold the railing as you descend the stairs from the hotel to the exit. 

Okay, this step isn't really in the pamphlet.  I hooked my elbow around Joey's arm a little more firmly than normal and we departed the Grand Hotel to waddle wander the streets of Stockholm for the rest of the afternoon.