Langangens Gard, Where Vikings Ate
Martin Luther King day was on Monday; Cooper had the day off but the kids were still in school (hooray, a real holiday) so we drove into the city to run errands and have lunch at a place recommended to us, called East. It was a trendy sushi joint—men and women in business suits looking as if they were discussing urgent things. We sat amongst them, (there was no other choice, the tables were so close together even the waiters had trouble getting around). I ordered Tom Yum and when my soup arrived I sipped it to make sure it wasn’t too hot then, taking a large spoonful, I swallowed the coconut chicken broth and POW! My mouth was in flames. A 3-Alarm-Fire!!! It felt like my tongue had grown spikes and for some disconcerting reason my eyes wanted to go cross-eyed. Cooper looked at me and for a second he was wobbling until I realized it wasn’t him, it was the entire room spinning.
At that moment I didn’t know I was experiencing a “chili high”. We googled my symptoms, right there at the table, and discovered my reaction was my brain protecting itself from the pain, doing me a favor by releasing endorphins—the bodies natural opiates. In a few minutes I was feeling fine, better even. I’d had a cold for the last few days and suddenly I could breath clearly (imagine that). I ate about half the bowl of soup and gave the rest to Cooper, who didn’t get “high” but broke out in a sweat. I’m not sure it’s a feeling I want to repeat, but if it should happen again, I’ll at least know I’m not dying.
It’s been cold here. Freezing. Frigid. Positively arctic. More than ten minutes in this weather and you can’t feel your own face. I’ve tried to avoid leaving the house, or the car, wearing the same wool sweater (showering, yes) but not bothering to put on make-up, (in the cold my face turns bright red anyway). But an invitation to go to lunch at Langangens Gard is worth braving the elements, for that I was willing to gussy up, meaning: change my sweater.
Langangens Gard is a farm on Lidingo, located along the Stockaby trail (I wrote about the trail earlier in my blog—it’s amazing). The area dates back to Viking times and just a ways off is a grave field where Viking age residents are buried. At the farm they have a restaurant specializing in foods made the old-fashioned way–with organic sustainable ingredients. The menu, written on a chalkboard, is sparse, but everything is superb. We had the goulash soup, served with a dollop of crème fresh and thick slices of buttery cheese bread—perfect for a winter’s day. Here’s a picture of the front door.
I drove there, but people hike in or cross-country ski their way to the wooded location. There was a cozy fire blazing inside, but it was so cold we still ate with our scarfs and coats on; outside it was -16, colder when you factor in the humidity. Brrrr…
So did I mention yet it’s cold? Well, Maggie informed me yesterday, with irritation, “I’m ready for it to be summer. And I want a nectarine.” I quite agree. Everyone is coughing, or has some kind of inexplicable pressure in their head. A few of my friend have lived through the “vomiting disease”. It sounds dreadful. I’d never heard of it until moving to Sweden but here it’s regarded as one of the inevitable winter viruses. It affects children, mostly, but adults get it too, causing them to vomit for 2-3 days; you might get a fever, you might not. There’s nothing you can do about it, except rest and try to stay hydrated.
I’m taking vitamin D, washing my hands, and staying away from the bulk candy bins that everyone touches. Candy bins are everywhere in Sweden. In every 7-11, gas station and grocery store. Swedes unabashedly love candy (and they’re not fat—it’s so unfair). There’s even a tradition surrounding the purchase of sweets, dating back till who-knows-when, where grandparents take their grandchildren on Saturdays to buy candy. It’s a beloved weekend ritual, filling a plastic bag with a kilo of favorites to indulge. The weekend is here and if you ask me…that sounds pretty good.