Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hot Sauce and Homesickness in Sweden

Recently I received a mysterious package. Not like someone left it on my doorstep, ran away, and it turned out to be a baby mysterious, but a package that I wasn’t expecting. I of course tore into it immediately like a kid at Christmas. And by kid I mean myself last year at Christmas.

Turns out it was hundreds of small packages of Cholula. One of the greatest tasting hot sauces on the mass market today. If anyone works for Cholula, or knows anyone who does, I can be convinced to work for you. Seriously. I love you.

But I digress. The sender turned out to be my father. So I duly thanked the old man for his gracious gifts. As the honorable man that he is, he admitted that he was in fact the sender, but was not responsible for the gift itself. Apparently I have friends in high places. Or at least friends willing to walk into restaurants and take hundreds of packets of Cholula, pack them, and attempt to ship them to Sweden.

The attempted shipping was what went wrong. Which is where my dad came into play. With the help of his trusty green card, he was able to navigate the tricky customs situation between Sweden and the US. Actually, I think he just slapped a label on it and drove to the post office. But that’s almost the same thing.

Since then I’ve been smothering my food in Cholula. Rice and beans. Meat. Potatoes. Pyttipanna. Spaghetti. It’s been amazing. I’ve even attempted to recreate what I like to call Red Sea Goldfish. Goldfish crackers mixed with lots of hot sauce and eaten with a spoon. I’ve substituted cheese tortilla chips for the Goldfish, it’s not quite the same but it will do.

Moving to Sweden and having lived here now for over two years, it’s amazing how homesickness can manifest itself. Sometimes it’s missing the big things, like family and friends. Sometimes it’s missing the little things, like Cholula and smothering cheesy snacks with hot sauce. Either way, when one or the other shows up on your door step, it’s a good day.

Welcome to Sweden. And Cholula.

Subscribe to a Swedish American in Sweden


  1. Wow, I really enjoy your blog, the little I've seen that is, as I just stumbled upon it. Really interesting. I just moved back to Sweden after a couple of years in the US, it is a weird experience! Specially as it gets dark at 3pm right now. Oh well. I'll be keeping my eye on this one!

  2. I have the exact same thing, only revearse the countries..
    I miss the big things like my family and friends.. and the little things like lingonberry jam and Palt.
    Oh god how i miss eating palt with lingonberry jam and butter.
    And Reindeer Jerky.. oh god.. I miss it so much.
    Atleast over here I can make my own gravlax. Reindeer Jerky and proper palt, not so much.

  3. I see your Cholula, and raise you a Franks. Seriously, the best hot sauce out there (though Cholula is wonderful, Franks is just that much better). We bring gallon jugs of it back with us in our suitcases, and not just for the husband and myself, but we have a few Swedish friends that we have shown the light to as well that we need to bring it back for.
    All's I am saying is that I understand completely. (Now I'm missing Moe's Southwest Grill...)

  4. Your "friends" are right now sitting around having a few pre hockey beers and reading this post. Only two good places to get Colula packets-Raising Canes & Pelican Lakes. We all felt the theft of packets would mean much more than a much more easily aquired "bottle" of cholula.

  5. You have to put it on eggs!

    Boo to homesickness! I've been feeling it a lot lately and I'm only 1600 miles or so from "home." Still, I'm in the Midwest (which should get me a few extra pity points because it's...well...the Midwest.)

  6. Red Sea Goldfish sounds thorughly disgusting.

    Your dad is a sweetheart, though.

  7. Pyttipanna with hot sauce! gee. man it's all spicy itself, you must have a stomach of cast iron

  8. Because of the miracle of skype, I can honestly say that I miss American food more than my friends. You can't skype Chipotle.

  9. The Red Sea Goldfish sounds a little...uh, how can I say this politely?..GROSS, but I too adore Cholula. I also like Sriracha sauce. Yummy, yummy :) -S.

  10. long time no talk hairy....but the blog stays good... hot sauce....mumms...cowboyfromnowhere

  11. @Hermione – glad youve enjoyed it, the winter is quite a special time here. I would imagine it takes some time getting used to even if you were only away for a couple of years.

    @mamaya – reindeer jerky is pretty delicious. Understandable that you miss it.

    @Shawna – Franks is also good, but I have a soft spot for Cholula.

    @Anonymous – Im just glad that you specified that the beers you were having were pre hockey. Which would suggest that there may be some post hockey beers as well.

    And youre right, the packets show just how much you care.

    @E – the midwest is special though. Theres corn. And cows. Well thats about it, but corn and cows are both delicious.

    @Stacy – just try it. Trust me.

    @Tod – my stomach has been trained by culinary dishes like Red Sea Goldfish.

    @Anonymous – you are absolutely right. Skype moved food above friends and family in the list of things people miss while abroad. Im pretty sure they should use that in their marketing campaigns.

    @Anonymous – again... you just have to try it. And Sriracha is also delicious.

    @Anonymous (cowboy) – agreed, hot sauce does get a mums.