This weekend started well with a Swedish tradition at IKEA, College Park (MD). My Swedish friend Monika and I had already decided to go on IKEA’s (1st) “Annual Crayfish Party” when I got an e-mail from Kerstin, who leads the small Swedish group that I have been singing with this spring, announcing that we had been asked to sing a few songs at this event. Eating crayfish with friends and family in August is a cherished Swedish tradition, preferably undertaken at an outdoor table on a someone’s porch in the archipelago one of the last evenings of the Swedish summer. If you are really lucky, you’ll be served home-fished crayfish, but regardless, there will for sure be snaps on the table.
Anyway, given that this was to take place at IKEA and that the ticket was $ 10, I did not have very high expectation. I thought it would just be crayfish served instead of the usual meatballs with lingonberries in the IKEA restaurant. And they did serve it at the restaurant, but not at the normal counter where you go with your tray (anyone who has been to IKEA can picture this as it looks exactly the same all over the world). Instead they had arranged a very nice buffet with both crayfish, potatoes, vegetables, crisp bread, cheese, and yes, even meatballs. For dessert, they offered Swedish princess cakes and Mums Mums. There were about 400 guests, and both a duet playing jazz music and a group playing folk music and dancing folk dance, in addition to our little group singing. And it was great to see all the Americans and “new Americans” struggle with the crayfish and mixing Swedish dishes that I would never have thought would be eatable together. It started at 6:30 and I wasn’t home until 10:30, but it was really a lot of fun! I hope they do it again next year.