At the receiving end

For that last maths lesson Daughter wanted to make cookies. If you ask me, they eat far too much in their maths lessons at her college. She’d found this new Swedish recipe which she was going to try. And never mind that it required 500 grammes of chocolate (!). I tried to concentrate on the fact that she was practising her language skills.

She had popped into Sainsbury’s on her way past and bought all that chocolate, and as I tidied the carrier bag away I looked at the receipt before crumpling it up. I was very surprised. Very very surprised. It seemed that my faddy eater had purchased no chocolate, but sushi. Two kinds of sushi at that. Some sort of drink and a large exotic fruit something-or-other.

It was clearly someone else’s receipt.

On our first day in Sweden we chased more recipes, without a receipt at all. When the fledgling bookwitch left home some decades ago, mother-of-witch bought her a cookbook. It’s still in service and Daughter occasionally works her way through the msk and the tsk and the dl of ingredients when making or baking. When she learned of her grandmother’s cookbook buying she wanted the tradition (once does not make for tradition!) to be carried on, so I promised she could have her own when she leaves home.

But then I thought of her getting to grips with her msk and tsk with no responsible adult present, and felt that maybe we could jump the gun and get it a year early. She can practise by feeding the old people over the next year. Having half fainted over the price of the thing in the bookshops last month, I ordered a copy online, with delivery to coincide with our arrival.

The trick with a country that has got rid of its post offices, is to work out how and where to get hold of your mail order goods. (Home delivery? You must be joking.) I was able to choose, so discarded the default and picked the kebab place in one of the main streets in town. (Appropriate for a cookbook.) When we eventually found the kebab restaurant the nice young man explained that I must temporarily collect my parcel across the road in the sweetshop, so we toddled across. After the shopkeeper had finished his phonecall and started manipulating his computer to see if I could have my parcel (because I had not received the text message confirming my pick-up), the shop was packed to the gills.

That’s what happens when you abolish the post office.

But at least Daughter now has a reasonably priced copy of Vår Kokbok, that old stalwart of the Swedish kitchen.

I can tell you she won’t be producing sushi. Or kebab. And not much to do with fruit either. Large exotic, or otherwise.

I’m feeling peckish. Room service!

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