Swede Tooth

July 11, 2008


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Stockholm: I' ve never seen so many sweets in the streets. I almost called my friend enrolled in dental school to say, “Move to Sweden. You will be rich.”But then I stumbled into an ice cream shop and forgot my preoccupations. I was not alone in licking from a cone at the wee hour of 10am. Virtually everyone I saw in Old Town was somehow involved with ice cream—either by procuring it, producing it, or ogling the cones of passersby. Until I got my own scoops, I too was a rubber-necker. I suppose it makes sense to eat ice cream so early: when the sun rises at 4am, 10 seems like mid afternoon. Instead of high tea, you take ice cream. And then, in the actual late afternoon, you take gummies. I have no idea what the English translation would be for these interminable Twizzler types, but I noticed a proliferation of brown paper bags full of sugar coated strands of candy being munched at about the same time my belly started to rumble a few hours after lunch. Unable to determine the names of any flavors, I picked mostly red yellow and black strands from the candy stands hoping for a cherry, lemon and licorice. The nice thing about these gummy whips were that they lasted a long, long time– several museums worth. It took forever to chew each one down. Even my morning ice cream inspired none of that eat- it- before- it- runs- down- your- sleeve panic that so often strikes when I indulge in the summertime. Stockholm was breezy and bright: warm enough to relish the ice cream, but not hot enough to melt it down your arm. If you’re trying to resist temptation, it doesn' t help that very attractive, blond and athletic looking women dominate the sweet-selling culture: modern day Swedish milk maids. Their smiles are so very inviting as they stand behind their sugar stalls or sit in their waffle-cone making apparatuses. I' ve concluded that there must be something magical in the cream and sugar up in Sweden. Perhaps the trick of it is to forget about temptation–when in Stockholm, ice cream and crystallized sugar are the norm. Sweden = Heaven on Earth.

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