Surviving a dark, cold, Swedish winter

One Swedish local explained to us that January is the most depressing month there. It’s dark, cold and no one has money because of the recent Christmas holidays.

With a little poking around we found that the Danish, just across the bridge, have a word that helps guide them into a postive state during these tough months. The word is “hygge” which means “creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you“.  It’s origins are Norwegian, where it meant something like “well-being”. With this in mind we’ve found that no matter where we are, if we have good comfort food, we can ensure that no external factors (like a depressing Swedish winter) bring us down. For willie happiness comes straight from his full belly 🙂

After visiting the local grocery store, we were able to gather some items for the “willie” smorgasbord that can help anyone get through the winter and into the fabled Swedish summer.

Swedish Meatballs – Let’s start with willie’s favorite simple protein food of meatballs. He can eat these all day and never get sick of them. They are best when you can get a local to make them from scratch, but not to worry…they are available in just about any grocery or corner store that sells food.

Smoked Fish – Sweden is quite an expensive country, however, the fish is quite cheap due to a large local fishing insdustry. It’s usually less expensive than chicken or beef. There’s a lot of mis-information about salmon on the internet when it comes to feeding it to dogs. From our research, we’ve found that it’s safe for willie to eat as long as it’s cooked.

Here’s some info we found about dogs eating raw salmon:

“Salmon Poisoning Disease is a potentially fatal condition seen in dogs that eat certain types of raw fish. Salmon (salmonid fish) and other anadromous fish (fish that swim upstream to breed) can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. Overall, the parasite is relatively harmless. The danger occurs when the parasite itself is infected with a rickettsial organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. It’s this microorganism that causes salmon poisoning.

Canids (dogs) are the only species susceptible to salmon poisoning. That’s why cats, raccoons and bears eat raw fish regularly without consequence. Generally clinical signs appear within six days of a dog eating an infected fish.”

O’boy – this is a favorite hot beverage of Scandinavians. Unfortunately, willie cannot have any as its main ingredient is cocoa which contains the agent “theobromine” which is toxic to dogs.

Kalles Kaviar – now this is some kind of wonderful invention. A caviar paste that is smeared onto boiled eggs or anything else you desire! Tastes great if you like salty and fishy. It’s high in salt so willie really cannot eat too much of it 🙁

As the Swedish will tell you, this is pretty much all you need, folks…a warm place to hold tight, some comfort food, good company and the Light within.

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