Kalles Creamed Smoked Roe

This will be the first of three Wacky Snacks to focus on the food of Sweden, because as it turns out, there's a treasure trove of wacky stuff right under my nose at IKEA's Swedish Food Market. So kids, are ya ready for Kalles Creamed Smoked Roe?


Why I bought it:
My Swedish shopping spree (as I said, this will be the first of three products I hope to document in the following weeks) started with this irresistible food in a tube. Not just a tube, but the kind of tube you'd expect to squeeze out paint or ointment. The fact that it is manufactured by a company called Abba (they had the name before the Swedish music group) also factored into my decision. And the picture of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed cartoon kid? Well if he eats it and has become that happy, I also must!

Kalles is also known by its alias, Kalles Kaviar, which, to me, doesn't make it more or less appetizing. IKEA sells it with a suggestion that one should “serve on crispbread w/ butter; a hardboiled egg, in omelettes w/ fill or chives, in a fish sauce or w/ fishballs.” Helpful, but if you're targeting people who are willing to eat something squeezed out of a tube, I don't see a lot prep time happening.

Tasting Notes:
Since I had no “crispbread” (I think they meant toast), nor the inclination of hard-boiling any eggs to try this thing out, I squeezed a squiggly serving onto a tortilla chip.

I must say that the very act of doing so made my stomach turn. It's the packaging. Call it a lifetime of conditioning, but my brain does not compute anything that comes out of a tube looking like this as food. Something to brush my teeth with? Maybe. But not food.

Surprisingly, it isn't as fishy as I had expected; but it is overpoweringly chemical. Like Cheez Wiz, it has an over-processed taste that you must get past. I winced at my first bite, and felt the stinging flavor drift up my nose as if it were wasabi or raw garlic. Then the sweetness and grittiness of something organic lingered. Imagine tuna salad and pickle juice pureed to a paste.

Before long I realized something else: I don't know if I would like this even if it came out of a jar.

Maybe I'll try it with a hardboiled egg and spread it in a toasted bread sandwich like they suggest, because the last time I failed to follow directions from IKEA, I ended up with a wobbly chair.

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