The dinner started with the usual Stockholm formalities: a couple of drinks and a discussion of real estate. The host and hostess - my husband used to work with her - had just managed to sell their apartment, which is in an old industrial part of town that is now expensive new apartments and stores, complete with a streetcar line, all sprung up in the last five years.
A discussion of the price of rent, mortgages or an apartment just bought or sold is essential for the typical Stockholm dinner party.
But then when we sat down to eat the smoked duck breast and greens they'd brought back with them from Paris, all we talked about was food. What to get in Paris and what you can get here in the markets, how to make pesto better by mixing the nuts, the simplest way to cook salmon, how nowadays you can get such good wine that isn't French. Food, drink and food and recipes and more food, for more than three hours.
Since when did talking about food become as important as the food itself?
Funny how food is so much more of a class marker than it was in my parents' day. Well, maybe not more, but just in a different way, I suppose.
We did manage to change the subject a bit toward the end, but unlike our usual dinner parties, there were no heated discussions.
I think the husband's favorite part of the evening was when he got a goody bag full of bottles and jars from the hostess, who works for a huge French company that makes beauty products.
"Yes," she said, "I think the blue is for you. I use the green myself."
The Swedish word for the day is matkultur. It means cuisine.
p.s. I am slowly adding all my links at left, so don't feel left out if I haven't gotten to you yet. I will eventually...