Smorgasbord of Information

I love that word…smorgasboard! When I was a child, my grandparents (Dad’s side) used to take my sister and I to a “smorgasbord” to eat dinner. It was called The Main Street Smorgasbord.

From Wikipedia: Smörgåsbord [ˌsmœrɡɔsˈbuːɖ] is a Swedish word which refers to a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet-style in Swedish cuisine. In Norway it is called a koldtbord and in Denmark it is called a kolde bord. It is typically a holiday or celebratory feast at which the family and guests can help themselves to whatever takes their fancy from a range of dishes laid out for their choice. In a restaurant, the term refers to a buffet-style table laid out with many small dishes from which, for a fixed amount of money, one is allowed to choose as many as one wishes.

A traditional Swedish smörgåsbord consists of both hot and cold dishes. It is customary to begin with the cold fish dishes which are generally various form of herring, salmon, eel and so forth. After eating the dishes, people usually continue with other cold dishes, and round off with hot dishes such as Swedish meatballs (köttbullar), and other specialties like Janssons frestelse. Dessert may or may not be included in a smörgåsbord.


A plate from a smörgåsbordThe Swedish word “smörgåsbord” is a combination word consisting of the words smörgås (translated “sandwich”) and bord (translated “table”). “Smörgås” (sandwich) in turn consists of the words smör (literally “butter”) and gås (literally “goose”, but in its old meaning, it’s the churned butter floating on the skimmed milk).

According to a Swedish linguist, Catharina Grünbaum[3], gås referred to pieces of butter that formed and floated to the surface of cream when it was churned; these pieces resembled fat geese swimming to the surface. Such pieces were just the right size to be placed and flattened out on bread. Smörgås came to mean butter and bread together. In Sweden, the term bredda smörgåsar (buttered sandwiches) has been used since at least the 16th century, and nowadays refers not only to buttered bread but also buttered bread with foodstuffs between sandwiches.


Julbord is a compound word consisting of the elements jul, meaning Yule (today synonymous with Christmas) and bord, literally table. The classic Swedish julbord is the traditional smörgåsbord served from the beginning of December until just before Christmas in homes and at restaurants. A traditional julbord is typically eaten in three courses. The first course consists of the cured salmon, pickled herring and eel served in a variety of sauces. It is customary to eat particular foods together to ensure the appropriate combination of taste and textures. For example, herring is typically eaten with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs and is frequently accompanied by a snaps of vodka with or without spice.

The second course of a selection consists of cold sliced meats, such as roast beef, and julskinka (Christmas ham). Sliced Cheese, cucumbers and liver pate are often eaten on top of hard bread.

The third course of hot dishes include köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), prinskorv (small sausages), kåldolmar (meat stuffed cabbage rolls), jellied pigs’ feet, lutfisk (a reconstituted dried cod served with thick white sauce), revbenspjäll (oven-roasted pork ribs), and Janssons frestelse (literally “Jansson’s Temptation”, a baked dish of matchstick potatoes layered with cream, onion and sprats). Side dishes include beetroot salad and warm stewed red cabbage.

Julbord desserts include risgrynsgröt, rice porridge sprinkled with cinnamon Traditionally, an almond is hidden in the bowl of rice pudding and whoever finds it receives a small prize or is recognized for having good luck. There is also a traditional saying that the one who gets the almond will get married within a year.

Use of the term in English

In English, the word smörgåsbord (or often smorgasbord) refers loosely to any buffet with a variety of dishes — not necessarily with any connection to the Swedish traditions discussed in this article. In an extended sense, the word is used to refer to any situation which invites patrons to select whatever they wish among several pleasant things, such as the smorgasbord of university courses, books in a bookstore, etc. It is also used as a metaphor to indicate any diverse group, synonymous with hodge-podge.

In Australia, the word smorgasbord is often used for any form of buffet, including the noted Australian Buffet. Smorgasbords are very popular at privately hosted parties.

In Canada, Chinese smorgasbord is a buffet style used for Canadian Chinese cuisine. This tradition dates back to Gastown, British Columbia, which later became Vancouver, when Scandinavian-immigrant mill workers and loggers encouraged their Chinese cooks to arrange Chinese food as it was done in their homelands.

Back to real life. So, The Main Street Smorgasbord was not exactly like that, but you get the idea. It was the precursor to Ryan’s Steakhouse, Home Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, etc. It was all you could eat for one price. Kids were all they could eat for their weight! The last time I remember going there I weighed 85 pounds. That was $.85!! I could eat a ton of food; I think I was 11 or 12 years old.

Anywho, this post is not about a GF smorgasbord, don’t get your hopes up. Just a collection of different information that I wanted to share and didn’t want to make several different entries. Though, I could be bribed to cook enough food for a GF smorgasboard! LOL!

First, I baked one of Joan’s GF Great Bakes Bagels this morning for Jon. WOW!! It was very easy to make, just turned on my toaster oven and put the bagel in after defrosting in the microwave. The bagel came out beautifully!

Here is a picture of it cut and buttered:

Kudos to Joan…this bagel had the texture of a gluten-filled bagel. The taste was amazing. I literally went on a trip back to my pre-gluten-free days. Jon said it was really, really, good, but a little chewy. I told him that that was how a bagel was supposed to be!!!! He wasn’t old enough to appreciate a good bagel (especially if you have had NYC bagels) by the time he was diagnosed with Celiac. He maybe had 1 or 2 Lender’s Bagels and those don’t count, in my opinion. I can’t wait to get into the remaining 4. I may have to make Jon some buttermilk pancakes or french toast to distract him from those remaining bagels. Then when they are all gone, oh well!

Next, I just wanted to share my first real fall meal of the season. Nothing spectacular, just pot roast, potatoes and carrots cooked in my crockpot all day long. I think that I have to say that fall is my favorite season. As I have posted before, I love pumpkin and I can’t wait to get into my pumpking baking. I already did the Chocolate Chip Banana Pumpkin Bread earlier this week (gone in 2 days, BTW). I have Pumpkin Cookies, a recipe from my dear Grandmother up next. So, without any further babbling, my first fall meal: (oh, had to have my spinach salad, though it was missing tomatoes b/c some critter is stealing my tomatoes out of my garden!)

Breast Cancer Awareness

Also, I believe October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Get your Mammogram Reminder HERE. I am going for my digital mammogram early tomorrow AM. Yes, it is a Saturday, but they had early appointments and Aaron will be home to stay with the kids. I don’t think that they need to witness a mammogram at ages 6 and 12. 😉


2 Responses

  1. I didn’t know they charged us by weight!! How funny! I remember loving the mashed potatoes and mac n’ cheese, soft-serve ice cream, and we were able to get our own soda! There’s a business for you, Kimmer – open a GF smorgasboard — yum!

    BTW, your dinner looks delicious – I had a french bread pizza…boring!

  2. Yes, they had awesome soft-serve ice cream and mashed potatoes!

    Hannah likes going to Pei Wei b/c she can get her own pop (soda for you southerners) there. 🙂

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