The father’s sister “INGER”

Fricadelle Fricadelle

to reconsider the “Lady and the Tramp” translation

When I return to the house I meet Siv, the oldest Aunt, a hunchbacked little woman with blond hair, and famous Aunt Inger with her wife Kristine. I heard a lot about Inger; Fredrick talks a lot about her, actually more than about his parents. And he never says “my aunt,” but “my father’s sister.” They have an excellent relationship, perhaps because they both live in Stockholm, are both gay and therefore have more affinity. To be honest I get excited because after having heard so much, finally I have the honor to see her in front of me. From the first moment she makes a good impression, has a face that looks like the blond actress in “What Women Want;” her glasses hide her blue eyes, she has short hair and a lovely smile.

Kristina, her girlfriend is originally from Switzerland, very friendly, has short hair too, is a little masculine but not excessively, has a pleasant voice as opposed to the Swiss who have a German accent. She serves as an interpreter between me and Fredrick’s mother who tries to repeat what Kristina says in Swedish. I am really comfortable talking with her, mostly about travel and culture. Inger kids with me as she mumbles something in Italian, “Cocco Bello,” “Mamma Mia,” and gesticulates like the Italians.

Actually in Italy we don’t notice it, but when we go abroad we realize that we have our “Body Language.” She tells me a word that I genuinely don’t know: “Fricadelle.” I ask her what that means and where she heard this word. She heard it inLady and the Tramp, when Tony, the Italian waiter, brings spaghetti with meatballs. Umh, I think I should tell the Disney translators to reconsider their translation of Fricadelle. Or perhaps Fricadelle could be meatballs in a specific dialect which I don’t know.

Elna, Fredrick’s mother, continues to churn out kanelbulle like magic. I love it and I take the opportunity to eat much, especially since they’re homemade! When I taste it I can’t resist the pleasure and let out: “MHHHHH!” They all turn to me. Oh damn! I apologize and blame Elna. They are so delicious; the dough is soft and smells like cinnamon. I wonder why we don’t make it in Italy. It’s really a pity! Everyone bursts out laughing and Inger steals a piece and mocks me! She’s soooo funny! I love her!

Elna makes me try the anise bread; it reminds me of my childhood, a bit like Jacques Prévert with Madeleine in the bookÀ la recherche du temp perdu, because in my country we have something similar to Taralli, but larger, darker than the anise seed. It is called “ciambelle a zampa”—that means literally donut-paw. It is a little bit different though: the “ciambelle a zampa” is more crunchy than the bread, is sweeter, looks like a brioche and is as soft and warm. Elna reveals to me her secret ingredient: she put a typical syrup of Norrland.

We say goodbye to the aunts and we come back for the “spring cleaning” in the chalet. Inger and Kristina go back to their chalet just next to that of the parents and they invites us for a drink after dinner.

After an hour Fredrick’s father, Rolf, calls us for dinner. While we eat Elna and Rolf are chained to the TV watching the football match SWEDEN vs SERBIA. I try for the first time the famous Elk, the MOOSE! It’s not bad, there’s a tasty sauce and it’s reminds me of my father’s “Polpettone!” One thing that surprises me is the  pear flavored sparkling water. At first I had a sweet aftertaste, but I couldn’t understand. Here in Scandinavia flavored water is very popular: lemon, strawberry, pineapple, etc.mI had only tasted strawberry and pineapple before.

Distractedly I watch the football match, not excited by it; honestly I don’t care, but I’m surprised to find that Ibrahimovich, the number 10 on team Milan is Swedish. I thought he was Croatian or Czech. Once the match is over, we go visit the “girls” at their home for a glass of wine and a chat.