Summer Traditions: Midsummer Party
Get ready to add another summer celebration to your agenda. Tommy Engström of Smak treats us to delicious recipes from one of his favorite Swedish traditional holidays, the Midsummer Party.
Summer is here! Rooftops, trips to the beach, refreshing cocktails, the smell of freshly cut grass, BBQs galore – these are a few of my favorite summertime things! After what more often than not seems like the longest winter in recorded history, I am quick to jump on the summer bandwagon and take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather.
Growing up with a family that was almost obnoxiously proud of our Swedish heritage, each season of the year was steeped with Swedish tradition. From the St. Lucia festivities around the Christmas season to eating loaves of limpa bread slathered with butter, our Swedish ancestry was prevalent in much of our lives. However, perhaps my favorite of all took place during the summer months, June to be exact. During this month, Swedes take to the countryside to celebrate the summer solstice.
Next to Christmas, Midsummer is the most important holiday. Food, drinks, dancing around the maypole and games ensue, and much fun is had by all. There even lie a few superstitions around this particular holiday. A Swedish verse says, “Midsummer night is not long but it sets many cradles to rock.” It is said that if an unmarried girl picks seven types of flowers and places them under her pillows, she will dream of her future husband. Do I sense a little matchmaking by dearest old Mother Nature?
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Tommy, I am not Swedish. Nor do I know anything about Swedish culture or tradition. I especially don’t know anything about Swedish food.” None of that matters. A mid-summer party is all about enjoying the weather. The long summer days. Food and drink. And more than anything, the company of friends and family!
Fret no more, today is your lucky day, as I am here to help share a few tips and recipes for the absolute perfect mid-summer party.
Step one: Invite all of your friends and family. There is no such thing as too many people.
Step two: Fill your day with lots of music and fun. Dancing and games are an absolute must. In search for a new game? Look up the Swedish game “kubb” – I do believe if you are lucky, you can buy a set online! If you aren’t quite as adventurous, feel free to play a casual game of catch or bags.
Step three: You cannot have too much food and drink. I’ve included a few recipes below to help start you off on the right track. But when it comes to Swedish dining, stick to the staples: crawfish, salmon, potatoes, herring, and lots of fresh fruit. In the realm of drinks? Have at it! Wine, beer, cocktails, they are all fair game.
With summer just truly taking off, there is plenty of time for you to start preparing for your own midsummer party.