Julbord, for those of you who have never been initiated into this particular Swedish extravaganza, is, literally, "Christmas table." It traditionally consists of a fish course of up to THIRTY different kinds of pickled herring (herring in tomato sauce, herring in mustard sauce, herring in cream sauce, herring in dill, herring in garlic sauce, herring in onion, pickled FRIED herring, herring with you-name-it. Then there are at least 3 kinds of salmon: cold smoked, warm smoked and "gravad" which isn't even pickled, it's cured in salt and sugar. Hard-boiled eggs with a dollop of mayo, a spoonful of caviar and a twist of dill. Smoked eel. Crayfish tails.
Then you move on to the "cold" table which is basically cold cuts of meat: Christmas ham with whole-seed mustard, sliced turkey, smoked reindeer, pastrami, liver paté, marinated roast beef, just for starters.
Finally, the "warm" table which ALWAYS has meatballs and prinskorv: a succulent small sausage; meat-stuffed cabbage rolls, oven-roasted pork ribs, several other kinds of sliced sausages, red beet salad...and if you're lucky (or unlucky, depending upon how you look at it)...lutfisk. Add boiled potatoes and creamy potato and onion dishes (with anchovies) called Janssons Temptation. Brown cabbage and red cabbage round it off. If you're at a non-traditional julbord, like I was at tonight, you may have all this AND MORE.
Then cheeses and fruits to clear the palate.
And finally, after you've made at least 3 trips to the table and been reduced to unbuttoning your pants and leaning further and further back in your chair, there is the dessert table: Swedish gingerbread (to help digestion!), traditional rice pudding with sweet strawberry sauce, apple pie with vanilla sauce, blueberry cobbler, lussekatter: a sweet saffron bun with raisins, Daim cake (mmmm!), almond cups with jam and whipped cream, spettkaka, chocolates and various Christmas candies.
Oh, and don't forget you need to wash all this down with something! Schnaps, aqvavit, wine or Christmas beer, julmust (a kind of rootbeer-like soda), and of course, coffee.
Did you notice what was missing? GREEN THINGS, that's what. It is a veritable plethora of meat and not a green vegetable in sight. The julbord I attended tonight DID have marinated garlic cloves, and sundried tomatoes and big green olives. One dish had ruccola with parmesan and some sort of parma ham...I scooped out a few forkfuls of the greenstuff while the Swedes weren't looking.
Personally, I'd be happy with just the 3 kinds of salmon and the potatisgrätang...oh! and the Daimtårta. My eyes, however, are definitely bigger than my stomach. Stupid eyes.