Grandma style

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Staying in

When I grew up, stewed fruit with milk was a regular summertime dinner.  Well, actually not just in the summertime and not just for dinner, stewed fruit was both a popular in-betweener (as in in-between meals) and dessert at daycare and school. I don’t know if it’s a Swedish thing or if you people eat it too?

“Stewed fruit (thickened with potato flour)” is the dictionary translation, but over here, we call it “fruit cream” and the best way to describe it is probably as jelly-soup. Like a lot of traditional cooking, it’s becoming more and more unusual. As far as I know I think it’s mostly eaten at old people’s home and at daycares because a) it’s light, sweet, cheap and homey and b) you don’t need that many teeth to work with. For me, it’s pure comfort food and even though I don’t make it often, it’s a must at least once every summer.

You can use almost any kind of fruit, I’ve used strawberry, rhubarb and cherry. My grandmother made a killer version with raspberries from her garden. Stewed fruit with milk for dinner is very much my grandma’s cooking. My grandmother was slim and tanned and put her dark blonde hair in curlers. The skin under her arms was floppy and soft and she’d let me fiddle with it as much as I wanted.

My grandmother grew up poor and suffered from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority, also when it came to cooking. “This is nothing, I don’t know how to make fancy food” she would say and serve delicious meatballs and perfect Sunday roasts. “I just made something simple to go with the coffee” she excused herself and took out a tray with seven different kinds of cookies on it. And “this is just some stewed raspberry, I hope it’s OK”. No matter how many times we told her, she didn’t seem to get that we loved her cooking, or at least not why we did. I guess we should have been better to explain: because it tastes like home.

Here’s how I made the rhubarb kind: cut six rhubarbs or so in even pieces and boil them with 4 dl of water and 1 dl of sugar until soft. Dissolve 2,5 tbsp potato flour in some water and then add the mix very gently in the pan with rhubarbs while stirring like mad. Bring to boil and remove from the heat. Stir some more to make sure it doesn’t get lumpy from the flour and pour the whole thing in a nice bowl. Serve lukewarm or cold with milk.

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Malin Ågren is a copywriter living in Sweden. Food is her number one hobby.

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