I’ve been known to enjoy the occasional steak bomb sub (aka hoagie or grinder). And I think we’ve all had a questionable meal or two that has, um, left the building, so to speak, in volatile fashion. But who knew that food could truly be considered explosive to the point where it needs to be disarmed?
It appeared that such was the case in Norway recently. Cottage owner Inge Haugen found a long-forgotten tin of the Swedish delicacy surströmming — fermented Baltic herring — lodged in the rooftop of his Norwegian cottage. He became concerned that the swollen can of fermented herring, which had raised the roof by two centimeters, could explode, literally causing a real stink in the neighborhood. Enter Ruben Madsen, an expert from Sweden’s Surströmming Academy, whom Haugen contacted to disarm the can.
“This is the most exciting thing I’ve been a part of in my entire life… when it comes to surströmming,” Madsen told the throng of international press that gathered to watch him neutralize the can.
Madsen said there was little risk of the can of surströmming exploding. Nonetheless, he was wearing a protective helmet and visor when he stepped forth on Feb. 18 to defuse the can, as you’ll see in the BBC News video below. It was no easy task, as removing the can from the roof without causing damage to the cabin proved to be a delicate operation.
Once the can was opened, the surströmming, as expected, announced its presence with authority. Perhaps you’re familiar with phrase “something’s rotten in Denmark.” Well, in this case, the odor emanating from the tin may have been powerful enough to make its way from Norway to Denmark.
“The smell was terrible,” Madsen told the online news network The Local. “At first when I opened the can, it smelled really good, but within 15, 20, 30 seconds, when the oxygen started to affect the brine, it started to smell really, really bad. Normally surströmming smells really aggressive, but this was worse. It was terrible.”