Sunday, September 24, 2023

Diana Bread: The Lost Recipe

Years ago when Rick and I were living in Germany I accompanied him on a business trip to Stockholm, Sweden. A colleague of his and his wife took us out to dinner at a typical Swedish restaurant. I vaguely remember it as a dark and cozy place. Along with our meal, as restaurants tend to do, they brought a basket of bread for the table. It was delicious! It was a dark whole-grain bread, kind of dense and we identified lingonberries as the sweetness we were tasting. Our wait person told us it was known as "Diana" bread. I knew that somehow we needed that recipe. 

Bless Jan-Erik's wifes' heart, she managed to get the resturant to share the recipe with her. Only problem was that it was in Swedish, of course. We never saw the original recipe (see it above), just her translation of it. She wasn't comfortable translating into English, so she translated the recipe into German, which we knew and she felt comfortable with. But funny things happen sometimes and things are "lost in translation." She translated the Swedish "kummin" seeds to the German "kümmel", which we then translated into English as "cumin." The German to English translation was ambiguous and hard to figure out, but we took our best shot. Remember, this was 1983/84 and there was no Internet to help us, only our English/German dictionary. Well, you can imagine our shock when we bit into that cumin-laden bread!! Blech!! This was nothing like the delicious bread we had eaten in the restuarant. Of course it wasn't—it should have been caraway seeds, not cumin.

I can't remember ever attempting to make the bread again, but I do know we had the recipe for years, even after our multiple moves to Europe. The last time I remember seeing it was stuck in a binder with other recipes I had clipped and kept. Some years back, I think it was while living in New Jersey, I went looking for the recipe. I still had the binder and all the other recipes inside of it, but the page where Diana Bread was posted was empty. No recipe! Dang, somehow we lost it.

Well, years went by and off and on I wondered what had happened to it. I've looked everywhere. Just the other night Rick and I were sitting on the deck discussing recipes for the upcoming week and somehow Diana Bread popped into my head. We sat discussing if it was possible now to search online and find something about it. Trouble was, neither one of us knew the name of the resturant, only that it was in Stockholm somewhere. Rick is always up for a challlenge like that, so I let loose Sherlock Rick on the hunt for "The Lost Recipe: Diana Bread".

Here is the synopsis of his search which took place over several days in Rick's own words.

“Diana Bread” search

  • Not sure how the topic came up, but I started searching for the restaurant hoping to be able to contact them about the recipe.
  • First I searched on Google for “Diana Bread”. Obviously no meaningful results.
  • Adding the word “recipe” did not help.
  • So, I tried “Diana bread restaurant Stockholm Sweden”. I got a good hit on the words “Diana”, “restaurant” and “Stockholm”, finding the restaurant Kallaren Diana. But, the links were not useful. One was a review from a UK newspaper, but it did not provide contact info. Others were from sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, also not much help. There were a couple of links to Swedish resources, but scanning those was not helpful. I did get a general location: Gamla Stan. 
  • Research on that area led me to a bit more info, including a description of the restaurant: very old building, below street level, stone walls with wood beams…yup, that sounds right! Apparently a quite famous and popular restaurant first opened in 1971.
  • A Wikipedia search gave me an address without postal code. And, what might have been a good phone number.
  • I tried social media. There seems to be a Facebook page, but I was not allowed to view it.
  • In a “Hail Mary” move, I tried searching for “Kallaren Diana Stockholm menu”. Bingo! I found a link to photos of their menu in the New York City Public Library archives!
  • The four-page menu is mostly in Swedish, but with some English. And, on the last page…a recipe (in Swedish) for Diana’s Lingonbröd. (There is also full contact information.)

I did a word-by-word translation from Swedish to English and with a lot of guesses and assumptions, have come up with a recipe. We’ll try it (using caraway seeds not cumin seeds) and see how close I got.


So, being the adventurous cooks that we are, we are going to try once again to make "The Lost Recipe: Diana Bread" with our new translation. Stay tuned to this cooking channel to see the end result!

And, oh, by the way, if you are reading this and speak Swedish, feel free to send us your translation of the recipe.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Waller [sic] Around Chair

There it sat in a room full of other assorted bits of furniture at the Salisbury Antique Emporium. The Chair. The warm gold of the fabric (and it is very gold) pulled me to it like a moth to a flame. It was a wing chair, but more. The tag attached to its wide back called it a "fan-back" chair. As I stood there taking it in, I felt like its wings were just waiting to enfold by body.  You need me it said every so gently. It didn't scream—oh no, it was much too refined for that. 

I sat down. Rick said it looked like the chair had swallowed me up. It was so cozy. So comfortable. I could see myself curled up reading, my feet tucked up underneath me, my head lying on one of its wings. I have always wanted a chair like this. I loved it. 

Rick said no. We don't need another chair for no one to sit in. Where would we put it? I had thoughts of exactly where to put it and how to rearrange existing furniture to make room. But I could see his point. So I caved and we drove home without it. 

Yet last night I was still thinking about it. I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I decided to sleep on it. Think about it carefully. Did I really need this chair?

This morning when I got up I was still thinking about the chair. It seemed to speak to me over the 20 or so miles between the Antique Emporium and our house. You need me. 

So I called the shop and asked them to please take a few measurements for me so I could see if it would fit where I wanted it too. It had looked enormous on the floor of the shop. He was nice enough to do so and also he rechecked the price, which I thought was way too inexpensive ($99). Yep, he said, $99 as if he couldn't believe it either. 

It took a bit of cajoling to get Rick to agree to "go and look at it one more time" since he knew there was probably no way we would come home without it.

As we were carrying it out the door the owner said to me "now there's a chair you can waller [sic] around in and in just about any position." Wallow around. What a perfect way to describe just how I was going to use my chair. Wallow, or waller [sic] if you're from the South. 

I can't wait for all the wallowing I am going to do from this day on.

(Pillows in chair woven by Rick; throw over back of chair knit by Yours Truly)

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Daily Bread

There is nothing quite like homemade bread. The aroma as it's baking, filling the house with a heavenly yeasty smell. The beautiful golden brown color of the loaves when they emerge from the oven. The crackling of the crust as it cools.

I hold the loaf up to my nose and breathe deeply of its warm scent. I am so tempted to cut into it there and then, slather it with sweet butter, picturing it in my head as the butter melts on the just-out-of-the-oven warmth. I ask Rick, as I do everytime he makes bread, can I please cut it now? I ask even though I already know the answer he will give. No, Lynne, it needs to cool before you can cut it, he says. It's a ritual. He knows I will ask.

So I wait. Impatiently. Walking past it again and again, touching the loaves to see if they are cool enough. The waiting is really hard. But as I was always told when I was little, good things come to those who wait.

Finally it's time, and I cut through the crispy outer crust with a bread knife. It's perfectly baked with a beautiful crumb, and warm enough that the butter melts immediately. Sooooo good. Yum. Now we can look forward to great toast for breakfast. 

Rick has not made bread all summer—too hot to keep the oven going for hours—both during the preheating time necessary for the pan it gets baked in, and for the baking time itself. But with the beautiful temperatures we've had for days it finally made sense to fire up the oven. Welcome, cooler weather.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

A Name for My Blog ... Finally

No, you have not come to wrong site. This old "new" Jersey Girl lives in the South now and is not really a "girl" anymore. No, I have not changed my gender, just my age. Finally, I found a name for my blog. Please don't tell me you hate it (although my sister will hate it because she dislikes anything Southern—including sweet tea and grits—although she has lived here since forever, or it least it seems that way to her). It reflects my Southern exposure which is my life now. I do like sweet tea, and I didn't think I would, but really it's no different or any sweeter than drinking a Coke. And I do love grits, or if you want to be fancy and give it an Italian flair you can call it polenta. Same thing either way. 

Whether or not I continue to blog in this space is anybody's guess. I am going to try. I do occasionally still feel the urge to write things down. Not often, but when the urge hits I now have a new space to put down those thoughts. My old blog had a lot of photos, mainly because I used to take many, many photos. My camera and I were inseparable. These days It's a little different. I don't have the botanical gardens anymore to roam around in and I find fewer things entice me to pick up the camera. I might go through my old photos and post some of my favorites. Relive the "old" days, if you will.

Who knows what you might find if you come back once in a while? Leave me a comment and let me know you were here.


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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