From The Desk Of Peter Bjorn And John: Surströmming

pbjlogo113ee1Living Thing, the fifth album from Peter Bjorn And John, is a strong indication that the acute pop minds behind 2006 breakthrough record Writer’s Block have much more to give. Despite its spare arrangements and instrumentation, Living Thing incorporates fuller melodies and more intricate sounds, ranging from dub to a sort of Merseybeat gone electro. Peter Bjorn And John are guest editing this week. Read our Q&A with them.


Peter: “Surströmming (“soured (Baltic) herring”) is a northern Swedish dish consisting of fermented Baltic herring. Surströmming is sold in cans, which often bulge during shipping and storage. With other kinds of canned goods, this is usually an indication that the contents have spoiled and are not safe to eat. When opened, the contents release a strong and sometimes overwhelming odor, which explains why the dish is often eaten outdoors.”

This is the description from Wikipedia. I love surströmming. It is the most amazing, exotic Swedish food ever. It is an acquired, mature taste, of course. But nothing can beat it in the late summertime, when it is traditionally eaten. Or anytime, really. You take it with potatoes, onions and homebaked tunnbröd (literally “thin bread” or “barrel bread,” the Swedish version of flatbread) and shove it down with beer and some good friends. The day after, you let your stomach have a well-deserved rest. A pure delicacy if there ever was one.