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Passport & Plate - My Edible Story

Canada | Friday, 14 March 2014 | 5 photos

I have grown up with a dish that my family refers to as “Kums” – a no doubt favorite among us all. Taking witness to our fight for the last bites will prove my above statement to be very true. My grandmother was never able to find a direct English translation for her coveted dish, so Kums may very well be a Persson family created word. Through research of my own, the best comparable dish I was able to find is called Kroppkakor, which is described as a Swedish potato dumpling and is very similar to our beloved version.

4-5 Pound Pork Roast; cubed, salted and peppered
¼ Cup of Lard; add to the pork when frying

Main Dish:
10 Pound bag of large-medium white skinned Potatoes
1 Cup of Flour
2 ½ Tablespoons of Salt
1 ½ Tablespoons of Pepper

*You must have a grinder in order to prepare the potatoes.

¼ Cup of Lard
½ Cup of Flour; this is an estimate as you will add flour to the melted lard until a paste-like consistency is achieved
4 Cups of Milk
Salt, Pepper and Sugar to taste

*Amounts will make 14-16 Kums


How to prepare this recipe
Assemble everyone in sight because you will need all the help you can get. This recipe is definitely a team effort; while one stage of the recipe is in process, the next step must already be in the works. As kids we always made it seem like such a chore to help grandma in the kitchen, however the process of preparing Kums is a memory that is equally as grand as sharing the meal at the end of the day – both best to be experienced to be truly appreciated.

Slice the pork roast into small cubes and fry together with lard; set aside for later.

1. Peel the potatoes and slice into thin strips; feed these strips through the grinder
2. While the potatoes are being grinded, another person has taken the completed portion to begin squeezing out excess potato juice by hand. Transfer these potatoes into grandma’s big yellow bowl. Each layer of drained potato is accompanied by a generous layer of flour, salt, and pepper. This will go on for roughly 4 cycles of layering
3. Now mix! Add flour accordingly in order to get a consistency that allows you to shape the mixture into fist-sized balls
4. Ever so slightly flatten the ball you have created, grooving out a small dent; scoop about a half dozen pieces of fried pork into the dent and roll back into a ball
5. Gently place the ball into simmering water
6. Repeat until all of the potato mixture is used

*Leave to cook for 1 hour.

1. Melt lard in the pan previously used to fry the pork; add flour to create a loose paste
2. Add milk; continue to whisk
3. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Most enjoy Kums topped with the freshly made sauce. My personal preference? Cut the Kums into bite size pieces and sprinkle with sugar.

Any leftover pork not used as filling is to be served as a complement to the Kums. Grandpa’s cure for a healthy appetite is to enjoy a whole pork chop on the side.

Leftovers: just as good the second day. My family likes to slice each Kum into 3 cakes. Fry up the cakes in a pan and enjoy with drizzled syrup.


The story behind this recipe
There is an unspoken thrill that is shared through the passing of a recipe from one generation to the next. I have only ever been on the receiving end of the pass, looking forward to the day when I can share my edible story with children, and eventually grandchildren of my own. Until that time, I leave with you, the reader, my story of old-fashioned cooking that originated in Sweden, travelled through the decades, and landed on my plate.

I come from a Swedish influence on both my mom and my dad’s side of the family. They both grew up in the village of Stockholm, Saskatchewan, which is a small Swedish settlement. The Swedes who came over to Canada carried with them some comforts of home – recipes from ‘the old country’ playing an obvious part. In times when money was scarce and potatoes were plentiful, Kums were a saving grace for many large families. Something that was once prepared to merely settle hunger pains, have evolved into a popular item throughout Sweden and within the immigrated families who still enjoy them to this day. The dish has evolved through time but that is what makes each regional version and each family’s variation unique.

I relish over the stories of how my grandparents offered my first sample of Kums at a fresh young age of one. I am certain that this early introduction had a lot to do with pure excitement and pride on their part, anxious to share a piece of our family history with the upcoming tastebuds.

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