Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oxbringa från 1940

There is eating aged beef and then there is eating "oxbringa från 1940" (click for translation), as Swedish senior citizen Eskil Carlsson did earlier this month. The choice cut of beef had been jarred by his in-laws during wartime shortages and retained after the war in case the hard times returned. Carlsson married into the family in the 1950s and tells a reporter, "By then the family had developed respect for the jar, that it had stayed sealed. We talked about it from time to time and it became like a member of the family." His wife has since passed away, and he decided that the time had come to see how well the 70-year-old meat had fared. He invited the neighbors to his garage for the ceremonial opening of the brisket jar (video here). It took some doing to get it open, but after they tested it on the cat, some of those present sampled it with Carlsson. It didn't smell too bad, said the old man, but "it was no delicacy."

According to the only source I could find, the situation in Sweden during World War II was at its worst in 1942. At that time, the daily ration of meat was only 22 grams of meat or pork, which was supplemented by the occasional brooding hen too old to lay eggs. Like fowl, game was not rationed, but it was restricted by the hunting season. "[B]utchers became very skilled in producing mincemeat of various birds and hares and rabbits, that people brought up in parks and inner house yards to add to the meager meat ration." The phrase "Smörgåsbordet försvinner" on the vintage poster (1st image) translates as "Smorgasbord disappears."

Kristina, let me know if the translations are authentic!


  1. We were cleaning out my grandmother's HUGE refrigerator during Christmas Eve two years ago and found a glass jar of pimentos from the Montreal World's Fair from '67! We were going to throw it away, but decided against it. We've taken the pimentos out each Christmas and have a laugh. This year, I must take pics!


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