Irma la douce

Dinner-time around my grandmother’s table on our summer-breaks in southern Sweden. The turning point of the day, signaling the transition to the evening calm.

Two little girls who had been biking around the neighbourhood in opposite directions, sometimes not being able to avoid frontal collision: life can indeed serve you the very thing you’re trying to avoid right up in the face.

Or maybe we would have spent the day at the nearby beach, or in one of the  lush parks of the area with rolled-out blankets, badminton rackets and warm O’ boy waiting in a thermos. On the less sunny days, stocking up with books from  the public library or handicrafting inside.

Wether dining inside or out on the terrace, the table would be beautifully set by my stylish grandmother. She’d never put a pot or a pan on the table; instead she’d nicely arrange everything on serving plates.  I am not exaggerating when saying that everything that has ever come out of my grandmother’s kitchen has tasted delicious.

newtonianappleSometimes, I would be assigned the fun task of fetching some fresh potatoes or beans from the garden. To this day I can recall the feeling of wiggly and warm tiles under my feet and the tender smell of the earth.

grandmotherstyleMany years later, I pick up an apple that has fallen from a garden tree. It is just about ripe. Miniscule but beautifully red. When I cook dinner, I make it a  tribute to her – Irma la douce.

Her signature salad of grated carrots and apple. Oven-baked fish in fresh cream, summer potatoes, a simple salad made on lettuce, tomatoes and sliced green olives.

Taste-buds exposed to  familiar harmony.

pommecarotteIn these beautiful summer days and evenings, I miss that sweet, understated yet strong-willed woman.

Her sense of flair, her tender care and effort to transform  the mundane into something interesting and exciting together with her aversion to waste underpin my way of relating to everyday life. For that  I thank her.


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