Over at Plinky, yesterday’s question of the day was, “What is your favorite comfort food and why?” Now, I could have gone with one of the obvious and oft-eaten comfort foods, ones that I eat all the time, like pizza or mac & cheese or I could have gone with a general category, like, say, noodles. Oh lord, how I love noodles. Even the great mac & cheese falls under the Greater Noodle banner.
But no. Though the noodle and pie permutations are my most-oft mouth-filling emotional pacifiers, they are not my favorite. My favorite comfort food is actually sort of…exotic.
Yes, that’s right, what may be the Swedish equivalent of White Castle (oh, how I love those, too), tunnbrödsrulle, is my favorite comfort food. “But why?!?” you’re (probably not, actually) asking right now.
Because tunnbrödsrulle is the reason I shoot with Leica cameras and glass. Because tunnbrödsrulle changed my life. Because tunnbrödsrulle is a freakin’ fried hot dog jammed in a flatbread with mashed potatoes, onions, shrimp salad, ketchup, lettuce, mustard and tomatoes and then jammed into a plastic cup and handed to you to eat on the cold streets of Stockholm, that’s why.
“Wait,” I imagine you saying, “you make photos with a Leica because of a freaky Swedish street treat?”
You can blame Anthony Bourdain. Back in April of 2006, his show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations did an episode where Tony traveled to Sweden. There, in Stockholm a nice lady from Swedish MTV took Tony to a nightclub and then to a street stand that sells tunnbrödsrulle. Right then and there, in my living room, watching TV, I knew that I must, somehow, travel to Sweden and eat a tunnbrödsrulle. I mention this, possibly in quite strong terms, like, “I GOTTA GO TO STOCKHOLM TO EAT A FREAKIN’ TUNNBRÖDSRULLE,” to my best pal in the world (and Über-Mensch), Michael Berch.
I keep mentioning how I NEED to go to Sweden and eat a tunnbrödsrulle. I don’t even remember how to pronounce it, as the Nice Lady From Swedish MTV seemed to be calling it something like, “ruuuullllllaaah!” (Yes, always with an exclamation point, like, “MAMA MIA!”) I begin to insert exclamations of “ruuuullllllaaah!” in the middle of sentences, as if I have Tunnbrödsrulle Tourette’s Syndrome or something.
There are negotiations. Give-and-take. I’ve become a bit of a hermit and a homebody. It’s hard to get me to leave the house, let alone the country. But I am in the grip of an obsession and even my agoraphobia relents on the tunnbrödsrulle issue. Michael insists on Paris. Only if we get to go to Stockholm, I counter. (Paris? A negotiating chip? Wow, you are agoraphobic, Maggie!)
Michael produces airline tickets to Europe. Stockholm is part of the itenerary.
Michael then says, “since this trip is a BIG DEAL, I think you should have a decent camera. I think you should have a better-than-decent camera. I think you should have a Leica M8.” I am humbled and feel unworthy of the incredible generosity shown by MCB, but by ghod, I accept that gift and have been trying to live up to it ever since.
So, yeah, we went to Stockholm and I got a tunnbrödsrulle. Several, in fact. But, see that tunnbrödsrulle in the photo at the top of this entry? That is a special tunnbrödsrulle. See, by my last day in Stockholm, I’d acquired a traveler’s cold and was tied to the hotel room table and box of tissues in the photo. That morning, I’d sent Michael out to explore a bit on his own, and, bless his enormous heart, he returned to the hotel room at noon with the tunnbrödsrulle in today’s photo. On a day when I was stuck in a hotel room in Stockholm Sweden, sick and tired and as gray as the October skies above, Michael brought me a reminder of just how cool he is and how cool life can be when you’re with the right people and in the right place and Michael and that tunnbrödsrulle made me feel better. That’s why the tunnbrödsrulle in today’s photo is THE BEST TUNNBRÖDSRULLE EVER.