Food, the scaffold ;)

This time of year is the admissions season. Last few days have been reminiscent of the time last year when I was occupied in sorting out the nitty-gritty of moving to Sweden. With the facilitation provided by Chalmers, like arranging multiple interactions with students at Chalmers and clarifications extended by the University team itself the transition ended up being smooth. Now that I am on the other side of the table, based on my experiences hitherto, I hope some of these rants here will ease the migration for new applicants, or at least clarify some doubts.

In this post I will focus on one nuance in particular – a seemingly trivial aspect of the migration process.Although the standard repertoire of questions about pedagogy, job prospects and other career related concerns are most important in validating the decision of moving to a new country, other subtler aspects like weather, food and culture are in essence the scaffolding.

Let me begin by invoking George Bernard Shaw – There is no sincerer love than the love of food.

Not to undermine the academic endeavours in any way, but your success in any country would depend on how well you adapt and endorse the new culture you are walking into. And food is one of the most crucial dimensions of this integration. Not only your well-being is at stake, without good food you will not relish your time here.

Irrespective of what your preferences are, you wouldn’t be disappointed with the eating options in Sweden. For instance, I was quite surprised to find almost equal options for strictly vegetarians in restaurants. Of course, the no-constraint state is the best position you can be in for unfettered integration on culinary lines.

Further, do not hesitate to try out authentic Swedish food whenever you might have a chance. The most popular Swedish meal comprises of meatballs made of minced pork and beef, served with mashed potato, sauce and lingonberry jam. With a humongous coastline, as one would expect there is ample supply of variety of seafood too. When you want to get a little exotic try out the reindeer meat and moose. That’s a highly polarised insight into the Swedish culinary world from an ardent non-vegetarian.

Swedish Meat balls/ köttbullar

Swedish Meat balls/ köttbullar

Swedes as a population are one of the fittest in the world. But contrary to their looks, going by the number of candy stores and dedicated food days celebrated, it is heaven to you, if you are a sugar craving, sweet toothed foodie. Sweden commemorates many of their famous food items with dedicated days – there is a Cinnamon bun day, saffron buns on St Lucia, Waffles day and on Fat Tuesday’s there’s the sumptuous Semla that is eaten.

All this said and done, if you are planning to live thrift here, cut down eating every meal outside, and get to the kitchen. Who knows the chef inside you might be awaken out of compulsion, as has happened to plenty of us here. For instance, I enjoy cooking, and as I get most ingredients off-shelf from the super market it’s usually a feast daily. That I hail from the land of spices, makes it a little hard to find my right set of spices though. As a solution, most of the baggage I brought from India were those exquisite spices.

If you have made up your mind about your education, now, this very moment is the time to transport yourself to the kitchen. Begin by boiling that first pot of water right away 😉