After I made a preposterous promotional photo for this project, where I dressed up as the ogre-character from the package of a popular but weird Swedish candy, JätteSalt, there was an unexpectedly large amount of interest in tasting this candy which is not available in the US. You can see both the original packaging and my rendition of the ogre with the mysterious door in his crotch (which I am told leads to a balcony!) below.
not my photo!
öppna dörren © Laura Kicey
It was actually on our long drive from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón and back to Reykjavík (a grueling but beautiful 12 hour jaunt) that I was first initiated into the taste explosion that is JätteSalt by way of being handfed by my travel companion Sandra. In the final two hours of the home stretch, I was getting quite drowsy and a misty-foggy-rain draped the road in a milky curtain, making the precarious cliff drops hard to see - and JätteSalt with its pungent flavor brought me back to alertness, better than caffeine is able.
Sandra pieced together that this photo of her on the southern coast of Iceland was actually taken very close to Vík and VERY near the site of the raging volcano at Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced like "Hey ya fergot La Yogurt" softly).
Hopefully the swiftly shifting ash cloud won't prove to either prevent me from leaving the US or Sweden once I get there! I am keeping a very close eye on things.
hitching © Laura Kicey
Last week my friend Candace threw together a Scandinavian inspired food and film party as a send-off for me. I brought a mountain of Bergman and she brought the goodies. She made a baked brie topped with lingonberry and basil, almond butter cookies topped with lingonberry or cloudberries, sugar cookies spiked with orange and elderflower, elderflower drinks (my favorite!), Swedish vodka cheese, knäckerbrod (big seedy crackers), cardamom skorpor (like anisette biscotti) with a side of Død Snø (Norwegian Nazi-Zombie movie Dead Snow) and Bergman's Wild Strawberries.
Swedes love sweets - both pastries and candy - even a lot of savory main dishes have a sweet element (think Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce) - and bizarre candy flavors are especially popular. The candy JätteSalt (Giant Salt) is a hard licorice candy (which is less like standard American black licorice flavor - more of a mild anisette flavor) coated with ammonia salt. It is not for everyone and is very much an acquired taste. It took a lot of effort not to spit it out the first time, but I have learned to love it. Most (non-Swedes) people I know who have tried it couldn't handle its pungent flavor or odor. Even those who were able to eat it often said it tasted like cat urine. Not a strong selling point, I know.
I recently learned there are other Jätte varieties besides JätteSalt, including:
JätteSur (Giant Sour - described as corrosive-lemon-acid but very nice')
JätteStark (Giant STRONG!- as if the Salt is not strong enough this is licorice+salty+SPICY)
and a couple other curiously strong combos not Jätte:
Filidutter is salty-banana-sour, super delicious
Kryptoniter is sour on the outside and salmiak (ammonia-salted licorice) on the inside.
here is a page of the products http://www.konfekta.se/1/sv/products/pasar.php
If anyone would like for me to include a pack of their choice of odd candy from this list of 5 in with their print/book, I would be happy to do so, just let me know when you make your reward selection what tickles your peculiar flavor fancy. Strange tangential offer I know, but what's a bit of fun in the name of culture sharing?
I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has come forward and participated - I'm thrilled to see both new faces and returning sponsors from last year's Kicey to Iceland. The last few weeks have been rather harrowing so every bit of help you've given me to go onward and make beautiful things is appreciated far more than I can say. I will not let you down!
bound for nowhere going everywhere © Laura Kicey
Let the resfeber/travel fever wash over me!
EDIT TO ADD
In addition to the flurry of excitement surrounding the upcoming trip, things have been moving and shaking on a lot of other fronts. I had an epic shoot almost two weeks ago now with the two girls from the last cycle of America's Next Top Model - Jenn An (who I worked with before a couple times, you may recall) and Miss Sweet Southern Sunshine herself, Laura Kirkpatrick, who came in second place! We got together with 28 Crash!, April Ramirez and Sasha Zavadsky at a bizarre location and put together an incredible, energetic and wildly colorful series that I can't wait to release. We also found out that Mami Magazine will be printing the series in their Summer Issue!!
It has been ages since I put made a construct. I was inspired by a flickr friend, awertz, who hails from Trenton, to go an re-explore the often rather rough corner of The Jerz.
The top right corner building-piece has a story behind it....
which pretty much guaranteed if had to be included, despite it being a less than exciting slice of architecture:
I spotted this building on the corner and when we turned down the street, we could see a drug deal happening down the block- a guy standing by a white car in the middle of the street. Goldberg made a u-turn so that this was going on behind us and I could get the shot - truth told this was the boring part of the building, the real gem was the sign by the main door. Goldberg had not pulled the car all the way over and right before I put my camera up I see the drug-deal-car coming up the street in the rear view, thinking he would go around us, to the left. Instead, he drives by us on the right.
I turn and take the shot once he passed. I turn back and realize he has stopped not far in front of us, but there was no stop sign. He starts honking and his reverse lights come on. And I yell, "GOLDBERG!! GO GO GO GO GO!!!!!!" and we fly past him on the left.
I have no clue who he thought we were, or what he thought we were doing/going to do - or what he planned on doing, but I haven't been that terrified since I got robbed at gunpoint with a few friends in Gray's Ferry years ago.
The title, thanks in part to Goldberg, is a weird twist on the rather well known bitter-sounding bridge in Trenton which has huge letters on the side with the slogan: Trenton Makes, The World Takes.