I think I may have been the last person in the country to have read the “Dragon Tattoo” trilogy, and I really can’t believe I waited so long.  Being more than a little partial to Jane Austen, I just couldn’t imagine that I’d be captured by a Scandinavian thriller series, involving a heavily pierced and tattooed, reclusive female protagonist.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I devoured these books, completely captivated by the characters, particularly our heroine.  She really is a role model for all women, young and old, who have ever been inclined to put up with a bit too much – of anything.

So engrossed did I become that I have watched the Swedish movie versions of the first and second novel, saving the third and the American first in order to prolong my involvement.  And perhaps it can be chalked up to the once-you-buy-a-Passat VW-everyone-has-a-Passat VW phenomenon, but it seems that I now cannot escape all things Nordic.  In sorting through the various sections of the NY Times that I had held aside for follow-up reading, I discovered “An Open Invitation to Eat in Copenhagen”, quickly followed by Mimi Sheraton’s ode to Nordic cuisine, “Nordic Once, Nordic Twice.”  And on the list of “Where Will You Go in 2012?”  Why, Helsinki, Finland, of course.

I was therefore not terribly surprised to run across Trina Hahnemann‘s recipe for Nordic Winter Vegetable Soup in a back issue of Food and Wine while hanging out at Kathleen’s house recently.   Barley, leeks, celery root, parsnips, thyme, spinach.  A perfect early January post-holiday meal.  I “borrowed” the magazine and headed home.

I chopped, I sautéed, I simmered, and I browned some bratwurst.  Eventually I buttered some rustic rye bread.  And when I had tucked my daughters into bed, after this perfect wintry meal, I checked the airline prices for Stockholm.

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