Thursday, September 5, 2013


One of those beautiful moments happened the other day, when you are chatting with your family and unexpectedly, an old cultural thing comes up concerning our immigrant grandparents. I always get surprised by these little gems that crop up because I've asked so many questions and sat down with so many family members so many times, just drooling at the opportunity to hear some of their childhood memories of the generations before me that I did not have the pleasure of getting to know, or even meet. After so many years you naively think you've covered all the bases and documented every memory from every nook and cranny of every aunt and uncle's, parent, grandparent and cousin's brain.

But we all know that will never happen. 

And so we get moments like this, that I have to write down so I don't forget them.

(Side note: I am writing using the blogger app, and it's allowing me to type up my drafts on the road, from the passenger seat of course. And as I document these family memories, I am driving past O'Hare airport in Chicago, which is part of the land originally settled by my Wille family. I get to drive past the exit that leads to the highway still named Wille Road. Remnants of each of us are left everywhere. You just have to find them....These things, they make me smile.)

  So on to filmjölk... Which apparently in our family was known as simply "fil" You can read more about the scoop on fil Here.

 And in searching for more information about Fil, I found this:   HA!

    So,  It came about in a car ride between talking about trying to duplicate recipes and guessing how long it took for grandma and grandpa to get to America by ship. These conversations tend to run a pretty broad spectrum :)
     We were talking about when the grandparents traveled back to Sweden over the years to visit family. And something during the talks jogged my aunt's memory.
     She said every time her grandparents came back from Sweden they would bring something called "fil" home with them. They obviously couldn't refrigerate it on the way home, so what grandma would do was dry it out on cheesecloth while in Sweden, and pack up the cloth in her luggage and bring it home. Once home, she'd put the cheesecloth with the dried fil into a bowl of milk, and wait for it to turn back into, well, what it once was. 
      The result was this "yogurt" that was very sour or tangy. My aunt remembers her dad and herself always being excited over it. Putting it into a bowl and adding lots and lots of sugar. It was one of those delicious childhood memories she has tried to recreate from recipes, but was never quite right. 
      I should note, that this was not the general consensus for everyone, as my other aunt remembers it as disgusting, and never being able to eat it because it had the texture of snot. Funny how the memories differ person to person :)

  For the record, my aunt has had little luck recreating it the way she had it during her childhood. She was given a hint by someone to try Stonybrook's plain light yogurt. So she bought some, poured her sugar into it, and said with joy that it was the closest thing she's had to the real thing since!

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