It’s Not That I Don’t Love a Good Scandinavian Tradition…

Allow me to begin by saying that I’m not Scandinavian.

Without spell check, I wouldn’t have properly spelled Scandinavian. True story. The little red squiggles alerted me to my cultural dumbness.


Look at the catalog I just got in the mail:


My first thought was that this was supposed to go to someone else…someone out there who not only knows how to spell “Scandinavian” but also perhaps has ancestors from there or a shelf full of books about it. Flip to the back…nope. It’s addressed to me by name.

Then I thought, “Welllp…wonder what sweepstakes I entered that made Hemslojd think this type of thing would be my jam? Perhaps I should stop handing out my address like Halloween candy.” I’m telling you, though – you win one little trip to Australia, and you are doomed to enter every sweepstakes you see. It’s a thing. (That trip was in 2009 – totally separate story, but a good one. Perhaps I’ll get to that in another post).

Anyway, however it got here, I was standing there with the Hemslojd magazine in hand. I probably should have thrown it away with the political ads and credit card applications and pesky last notice electricity bills (jk), but the tagline caught me – an adventure in Scandinavian tradition? Who doesn’t love a good adventure in Scandinavian tradition? So I procrastinated on doing the dishes and dove in.

Since most of you didn’t get a Hemslojd catalog in the mail today (poor you), I’ll highlight a couple of the products you can buy.

1. This upside-down “Uff da!” mug. I had no idea what “uff da” meant, but judging by the looks of the mug I figured it wasn’t something great. I figured maybe f*** you or something.


Google tells me that “uff da” is an interjection expressing bafflement, surprise, or dismay. Kind of like an unfortunate “Oh!” except way cooler because it’s “Uff da!” Goal for the day: use this phrase in context at least once. You can feel free to use it too. We’ll all tap into our nonexistent Swedish heritage (except if there are any Swedes reading this – then you’re awesome and thanks for such a fun expression to add to my vocabulary).

Don’t you feel cultured already? But wait, the adventure in Scandinavian tradition doesn’t stop there (dang it, red squiggles! I’ve done it again).

2. What is Surstromming? Because apparently it smells like shit but tastes like heaven, and I AM INTRIGUED, Y’ALL. I’m 50/50 on ordering this product off Amazon immediately. I’d order it from the Hemslojd catalog, but they’re only offering a dishtowel and cloth.


UPDATE: I went to Amazon to investigate, and the top hit when I typed in “surstromming” was – I kid you not – this:


I just… I have no explanation. I’m concerned to see what this does to my “suggested items” list on Amazon. I didn’t mean it, Amazon!! I don’t want to buy liquid ass! This was an adventure in Scandinavian tradition that has gone horribly wrong!

Moving on. I had to find something pleasant.

3. Awww…look at these little gnome guys!


Oops. Not gnomes. Tomtes. In case you didn’t read the product description, here it is: “It is said that every home and farm has it’s own tomte, a good-natured little elf who has lived there for generations. He/she is a friend to the animals and all that needs looking after. All that is asked in return is a bowl of Christmas porridge with butter, and woe to those who forget!”


Now life makes sense. Like how our gutters fell off last year? And how our garage door just broke? That wasn’t because of too much ice or normal wear and tear…that was a pissed off Tomte saying, “WHERE’S MY PORRIDGE, B?! I’ve taken care of this place for GENERATIONS. You suck!!” And now I feel really bad. Like, can I give it to him/her late? Do I have to wait until Christmas? Do I have to give a triple portion because we’ve lived here for three years? My bad, Tomte of my house. My bad.

4. Check this one out: Lutefisk soup.


Upon preliminary research, I’ve discovered that Lutefisk soup is make from aged whitefish and is gelatinous in texture. It’s a little like Jello jigglers but except not like those at all, as far as I can tell. For a second with those tomtes and uff da I was wishing I was Swedish, but upon seeing that I might have had a childhood full of lutefisk soup, now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, I legit have to stop procrastinating, but I had to share my Scandinavian (BLAST YOU, RED LINES! HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT WORD?!) adventure with you. This one might even merit a follow-up post in the future, because now don’t you want to know what else is in this freaking awesome catalog?? I do! Plus, free shipping if I spend over $200…

Oh my. Someone throw this thing away.

4 thoughts on “It’s Not That I Don’t Love a Good Scandinavian Tradition…

  1. Not that all of your deep and thought provoking posts aren’t wonderful, because they truly are, but this may be the best post you have ever written and also possibly one of the best blog posts I have ever read- ever. “ handing out my address like Halloween candy.” Genius line. Genius.

    However, you know, I also didn’t think I was Scandinavian at all. Never crossed my red haired, green eyed, my -name- is -Irish mind. I took a DNS Ancestry year. I am like 20% Irish and 467% Scandanavian. I was all what the hell- and then it dawned on me. VINIINGS! Apparently. So someone somewhere may be trying to tell you something! Oh- and to hell with the dishes. They aren’t going anywhere. That’s for certain.


      • You mean Vikings. LOL

        And I did one of those tests this year (it was a birthday present)–it seems that I come by my stupid school girl like crush on Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth 1 honestly, as I am apparently 66% English and Welsh, 22% Scots-Irish (Slainte’!), 4% French and the rest is a smattering of “Germanic Europe”, Scandinavia and Norway.


  2. Surstromming is (according to Wikipedia) fermented fish in a can. I’m pretty sure that on the second season of Better Late Than Never, the guys tried this when they went to Sweden and everybody but George Foreman (who apparently has an iron stomach) puked from it.


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