Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Wholesome Saab Lets You Step on the Grass; Full Chat

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Wholesome Saab Lets You Step on the Grass; Full Chat

Article excerpt

Byline: By STEVE ORME

YOU may have woken this morning full of trepidation over Pakistan, worried about collapsing house prices or fearful of who will be voted off Celebrity Come Dancing but here's the really bad news. It's only five weeks to Christmas.

Bloatfest is now so close, dealers are openly pushing Slimfast on street corners. Make no mistake, the pudding's going to get you.

Unless, that is, you try something different this year. A Swedish Christmas dinner for instance.

For this you will require the following; mustard coated ham, smoked eel, air-dried cod, red cabbage, two types of pickled herring, a slice of delicious elk sausage, red cabbage and of course, that old favourite, knackebrod.

This is, in fact, the traditional and famed smorgasbord or 'sandwich table' and is served stone cold. A day early.

Now let's dwell here for a moment. In temperatures that would cause stress fractures in an ornamental brass monkey, the Swedes choose to celebrate with cold fish and Ryvita. Meanwhile in semi-tropical Britain we are tucking into high octane gravy and the traditional slow cooked sprouts.

This comparison clearly demonstrates a Swedish strength of identity that shames our own mongrel indifference to roots. Roast turkey, for example, is American and sprouts - well, where is Hercule Poirot from?

This sense of identity is evident elsewhere. Sweden has an able air force of respected home-engineered Viggin jets. Yet whenever anyone throws an impromptu war they stay at home. As do the Swiss but they make their position clear by mobilising the army on bicycles.

How would you label the Swedish national identity? Well, like their Christmas dinner, wholesome seems reasonable. The most controversial thing they ever exported was Abba.

Bringing us neatly, via an afternoon picking fresh lingonberries, to the Saab 9-3 bio-fuel.

You would think that even the most wild-eyed of lentilists would support a car that runs on grass. …

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