Traditional Swedish cooking cannot be compared with the sophistication of, say, French or Italian cuisine. Swedish food is usually simple and satisfying, and nowadays also healthy. In the last few decades immigrants from all over the world have enriched Swedish food culture with a host of exciting dishes.
StampNews.com invites our readers to appreciate the original design of this set of five stamps.
New York, London and Paris are the world's three most important centers for new food culture trends, and it is here the new dishes are created that are actively adopted by trendsetters from Sweden and other countries. This is also where dishes from around the world are given a new interpretation.
Sweden did not bring in sushi directly from Japan. This dish, which is so popular today, came to us around 1980 via New York. An Americanized version of sushi was created there, and when it was adopted and re-planted in the Swedish food culture it underwent additional localization. We have more rice in our sushi, whereas in Japan the focus is more on fish.
Without the growing interest for Japan in the 1980s, sushi would hardly have rooted itself in Sweden. At that time the west was discovering smart, Japanese production systems and the "Just In Time" concept. Cultural factors such as the Shogun TV series and music groups such as Kroumata also supported the trend. The popularization of sushi was driven by the middle-class, who frequently ate out in restaurants.
Pizza depicted on one of the stamps was not first introduced in Skärholmen, but rather in Östermalm, and it did not come from Italy but from the French Riviera and New York as early as in the 1950s. One person behind its rise in popularity was top chef Bengt Wedholm. Pizza had its breakthrough around 1968, the year of the student revolts. With its informal and youthful emphasis, pizza was the perfect meal for the era.
When established dishes are introduced to an entirely new culture, it is important that they are given an appealing taste profile and that they complement the local food selection. Spices play an important role here in terms of recognition. In Sweden we are more reserved than the spice- loving Oriental and Asian kitchens.
One of the stamp motifs shows crisp bread and cheese, a historic combination that reaches back to at least the time of the Vikings. Only time will tell if the new, imported dishes can match this kind of longevity.