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!
  • https://menus.nypl.org/menu_pages/44928/explore
  • 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.

<SNIP>

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.

About

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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