Italy—as seen from the shores of America

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, you can learn a lot about the world. You can order a caffe latte. Your drinking experience will act as a tiny window into Italian culture. You can also enjoy a breve latte. This is a coffee drink prepared by mixing an espresso shot with steamed “Half & Half” (an American dairy product containing 18% fat, compare: kaffegrädde). The breve latte is always ordered in the largest available size and usually contains more than 3000 calories. Continue reading

The Tyranny of Their Breakfast Cereal

Dear Sweden,

Here in America, I eat a lot of breakfast cereal. I have a cupboard full of cereal boxes and I arrange them based on nutrition: the healthiest on the left (GoLean) and the deadliest on the right (Cocoa Puffs). A few days ago, I stood in my kitchen—waiting for the election to be over—and perused the “Nutrition Facts” on the side of each box. I went from box to box, calculating calories per gram, and it slowly dawned on me that they all contained about 400 calories per 100 grams. I heard myself say: “I have made a huge mistake.” Continue reading

My First Credit Rating

Dear Sweden,

When I was fourteen years old I saw the movie Fight Club and was gobsmacked by the coolness of Brad Pitt trying to sell soap to rich women. In one scene, he leans over a glass counter in a non-descript mall and his 90s shirt rides up to expose his ripped physique. That frame is still crisp in my mind. Continue reading