Red Herrings

Today is May 1st. I have generally learned to forget about it in the UK, since our streets aren’t filled with marching people. (For all I know, neither are Swedish streets these days.)

Something else that you lose touch with in exile is who is alive and who has died. I need someone who will tell me the relevant news, and so far the list of dead ones kept by the Retired Children’s Librarian works OK, ish.

C-H Hermansson, article in Vi

I’m glad C-H Hermansson is still around, at the grand old age of 95. He was leader of the communist party in Sweden 40 to 50 years ago, and most notably the one who was leader when I became aware of politics. (It’s easy to forget those who came after.)

He was famous for a couple of things, aside for the usual. He swore on television (according to Wikipedia; at a time when you just didn’t), as he got annoyed with all the in-fighting in the party (the most rightwing of several communist parties, and the only one in parliament). You need to keep your house in order, so to speak.

And he’s famous for the herring recipe. He took part in a cookery programme on television in the 1960s, where he ‘buried herring.’ Gravad strömming, is what it’s called, and that might tell you it’s the herring version of gravad lax, which now seems to be an English word as well.

Gravad means buried, which is what you did back in the really olden days. Then you dug up the food a bit later and ate it.

C-H still gets requests for ‘that communist herring.’ A whole life in politics, and it’s a fish recipe that he will be remembered for. He was crafty back then, realising the power of television. Apart from the swearing, we don’t really recall much of what he said.

Here’s to Red Herring!


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