Think of a community of the living and the dead, mingling together in water, jostling back and forth with each other; bones and flesh, blood and fin, and all sorts of vegetal matter bubbling and foaming, slowly turning into a dense red bog. In the beginning however, ah, in the beginning, there’s the fishmonger Melanders Fisk Och Vilt at Östermalms Saluhall with an iced display of cod, flounder and mussels.
A catch I bring home, making sure to ask for the cast-off remains–the always precious bone, skin and tail. Often found in the subarctic Northern Hemisphere, from northern Norwegian islands to Normandy, France, bogs may also be found in kitchens round the globe slowly simmering into existence. So, begin the begin with bits and pieces of fish to slowly decay, dissolve in warming waters. What I’m cooking is a coastal bog, a convex Atlantic bog fed exclusively by the rainfall out of my kitchen sink tap.
Cod and flounder perfect for a local bog. Gadus morhua with its thick, flaky white flesh feeds the cuisines of England, Scotland, Sweden, Portugal, Spain and Brazil. Platichthys flesus serves as one example out of many of cooking flatfish, a collection of recipes wrapping the globe.
Having returned the fish to a watery environment, it’s time to include the bits and pieces of another animal, semi-aquatic for our all-inclusive bog. I purchased a wild duck from B. Anderssons Eftr. Fågel & Vilt. A wild duck which will be cooked and included in Day Two of Cooking a Bog. For now, heart, liver and lungs for a gamey-meatiness in the waters, for a dash of red.
And behold, the beginnings on Day One of our Cooking Atlantic Coastal Bog, brought into being between the 70th and 50th parallels. The waters already turn milky with an artistic feathering of red, the hint of the redder lake to come.
Of course, to cook a bog one must also drink a bog, and nothing pours a bog better than the famous, the mythic Laphroaig 10. All that peat in a bottle, all that decayed vegetation in my glass, all that carbon and moss, all those peat fires and malted barley, all those Atlantic waves brining the inside and outside of all those casks waiting on the southeast coast of Islay to make the not-too-long-voyage to Stockholm, System Bolaget, my bag, our home on Nacka, and our sideboard to rest alongside my cooking bog. Let the waters whiffle and burble for many hours. Sláinte!