The Swedish word smörgåsbord consists of the words smörgås , (“sandwich”) and bord (“table”).
In Sweden, smörgåsbord refers to a buffet consisting mainly of traditional dishes.
In English, the word smorgasbord refers loosely to any buffet with a variety of dishes and is not necessarily used to reference traditional Swedish cuisine.
The buffet concept is popular in many countries. Buffets are, for example commonly served at larger private gatherings like weddings and anniversary celebrations.
The buffet consists of many types of food, each on the same table.
Hot and cold food sit together as do spicy and mild.
Sweet and savoury food share the same table; open sandwiches sit alongside closed pastries.
The ’Fisherman’s Table restaurant’ north of the city of Wellington has a buffet table of salads, ‘All-you-can-eat’ from the salad boat they advertise. (Fortunately, the diner does not require sea legs to approach such a ‘boat’!.)
While the diner can pick and choose from the selection offered what they wish to eat, they cannot choose what is set on the table!
The choice of what is set on the table is the prerogative of the host/hostess.
Today’s Gospel (Mtt. 21: 28 – 32) has these quite “smörgåsbord” like words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.” (21: 31).
Perhaps it is fortuitous that this Sunday is a day of celebration for Venerable Suzanne Aubert – if there was ever a woman who knew the meaning of the word “smorgasbord” it was indeed this truly venerable little woman from St-Symphorien-de-Lay near Lyon in France.