Elin Strömberg moved from Hammarstrand, an hour outside of Östersund in northern Sweden, to New York to study graphic design. But the multi-talented Swede doesn’t only bring her creative genius to the world of graphic design, she also takes it with her to the kitchen. On her Instagram account @elininthekitchen, you can follow Elin as she creates fun, healthy-ish dishes, and desserts.

Of course, you can take a girl out of Sweden but you can’t take Sweden out of the girl. Elin whips up amazing recipes inspired by the Swedish cuisine, and at Swedes in the States is where she shares those recipes.

We look forward to introducing you to our new food contributor!

Tell us about your journey from Hammarstrand to New York City?

Growing up, I definitely felt that itch that I’m sure many ex-pats have felt at some point – that I wanted to get away and experience something different.

I felt a little out of place and kind of restless all throughout high school, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. Luckily, I ended up meeting this absolutely wonderful student counselor during my last year of high school (shout-out to Ulla!), she signed me up for a class in graphic design – which was taught by this awesome and dedicated teacher, Alee, who had studied design here in New York.

Having always been a creative person, whether it be painting, drawing, cooking – I was hooked immediately! It didn’t go unnoticed, and Alee really encouraged me to apply to some schools in New York.

It took me a while to build up the courage to do so, but obviously, I am very glad that I did. I’m incredibly thankful that I had these people around me who believed in me and cheered me on. And then I met my now-husband within weeks of arriving here, and the rest is history! 😊

How did you form a passion for baking?

I’ve always loved both cooking and baking! Both my parents are really good at it, although they approach it very differently – my mom makes the best traditional, indulgent Swedish food, and my dad is a health nut who loves to explore different cuisines. So I guess I’m a healthy mix of both of them!

You share recipes that are gluten-free and mostly dairy-free. Do you find it harder to create recipes with a healthy twist?

Not necessarily – there are so many different products out there that can substitute for white flour or white sugar, as an example. I am reluctant to label what I make as “healthy” or even as a universally better alternative, we’re all different, with different ideas of what’s “healthy”. I’m definitely not a nutritionist, I’m just approaching my cooking and baking in a way that I feel works for me.

How does the food in the United States compare to the food in Sweden?

I’m not sure it does! It’s very different, especially for someone like me who comes from this small town in northern Sweden, and now I’m here in this whirlwind of different cultures and cuisines that is New York City. The United States is such a massive country, so it’s really impossible to even begin to compare.

Baking and cooking enthusiasts can follow you and your journey on your Instagram @elininthekitchen. What led you to start sharing your recipes on social media?

My friends have been saying that I should do it for a while – but it felt a little intimidating, especially since I didn’t really know anything about photography. But I’m slowly learning and improving!

You are the new food contributor at Swedes in the States. What can our readers expect to see from you?

With Christmas coming up (yay!), expect to see a lot of traditional Swedish Christmas baking and cooking! It really is my favorite holiday, and I am so excited to share it with all of you! 😊

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am extremely excited to read and see Elin’s recipes, especially traditional Christmas recipes. My father was born in Ostersund and his father was born in Aas. My mother was so gifted in baking her 7 or 8 special Christmas cookies every single year until she was in her 80’s. People never believed that her cookies were homemade because of their beauty and perfection. Every cookie she made was identical to the hundreds she made each year. She made traditional Pepparkaker, Spritz, Raspberry Thumbprints, Parisier Wafers, Apelsinrulle which by far was the most beautiful and difficult to make. There were 2 others but they had English names.
    My mother was born and raised in Kalmar, Sweden, and came to the U.S. in 1947 to marry my father. My father traveled to the United States in 1924 with his father, mother and sister. A long harsh trip, they traveled by trains from
    Ostersund through Norway and from there by ship from Norway to Hull, England and another ship to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Up in Canada they took the Transcontinental Railway to Vancouver, B.C. They then traveled down into Washington state and ended up in Everett, Washington. My grandmother could only take one steamer trunk with personal items and some clothes for the family and her homemade washboard.
    They were truly poor. During WWII after his father died and although he was already in his 30’s and didn’t have to go, he volunteered in the U.S. Army and ended up in New Guinea. My mother became his pen pal sheerly by accident and through their letters they fell in love.
    In any case I have lost several of her famous Smorgasbord for Christmas because of moving. Some of these include Kalvsylta, Green Onion Graten, and some special breads like Limpa. I hope I gain access to your recipes and photos, but I only have a cellphone with internet. My computer and printer was stolen so I hope to be able to buy new ones, so I wouldn’t have to write recipes by hand.
    I am excited to see your work, Erin. I still have some relatives in Sweden, but since I am 72 and my parents married so late in life all their families are long ago deceased. But, despite my being born in Everett, Washington and my one cousin born in Seattle I still think of myself as Swedish. It was my first language when my parents and I went back to each of their birthplaces when I was only one year old. I am not great at speaking Svenska, but I try to read and speak some. Too long ago…we came back to the U.S. when I was almost 4. My father’s surname was Larsson and he had cousins who married into the Starland family.
    Greetings to you, from Everett. Anita

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