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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > December 2017 > LAGOM

LAGOM

Lagom is the Scandinavian art of balanced living. Stockholm-born food writer SteffiKnowles-Dellner pens this love letter to her home country through her first book, packed with wonderful traditional and modern recipes. We bring you an exclusive excerpt Photography: Yuki Sugiura

The Swedish art of eating harmoniously

Ever since I was old enough to walk, I was taught to pick ingredients (often from the wild) and recognise when they were ripe and ready. I grew up foraging for berries and whiling away afternoons fishing. We gathered bilberries, raspberries and dainty, perfumed wild strawberries in the late summer. In the spring, donning gardening gloves for protection, I snipped young nettles for soup, dandelion leaves for salads and plucked clove flowers, just to suck out the sweet nectar from the petals. I grew up thinking that all this was part and parcel of life.

For me, food became heavily associated with different times of the year and steeped in ritual. I’d gut herring with my mum before Midsummer’s Eve, staying up late into the bright night to complete the task. In August I would steal one or, depending on how brazen I was feeling, two live crayfish from the crate for our annual crayfish party. I thought I was doing nature a good turn by ‘setting them free’ in the sea. It wasn’t until much later that I realised that releasing freshwater crayfish into the Baltic probably did them more harm than good.

It always seemed to me that everything we cooked in the summers I spent in the Stockholm archipelago was underpinned by an appreciation and respect for ingredients or råvaror (raw goods). Until relatively recently, there was a limit to what was available all year round in this far-flung, snow-capped corner of the world. So when lingonberry season came, the berries were relished in cakes and preserved in jams and cordials in order to enjoy them to their full but also ensure they lasted well into the colder months. And while foraging and preserving may not be a necessity any more, the ebb and flow of the Swedish calendar would simply not be the same without these foods to punctuate it.

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In this month's issue of Kitchen garden... - Win Garden Essentials Tools,Seeds & Sundries worth over £1947 - Going nuts home-grown & Healthy - Free cherry tomatoes + 10 Packets of seeds - Season's eatings + The tastiest sprouts about! + A feast of festive flavours - Christmas gift ideas - Results from our Massive Marrow & Passionate plotter competition - Feed winter birds top tips! - Fruit trees for small spaces
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