Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
1893, from Swedish smörgåsbord "open sandwich table," literally "butter-goose table," from smörgås, which is said to mean "bread and butter," but is compounded from smör "butter" (see smear (n.)) and gås, literally "goose" (and from the same Germanic root that yielded English goose (n.)), which is said by OED to have a secondary meaning of "a clump (of butter)." The final element is bord "table," from Proto-Germanic *burdam "plank, board, table" (see board (n.1)). Figurative sense of "medley, miscellany" is recorded from 1948.
in Swedish cuisine, buffet offering a variety of fish, cheeses, and hot and cold dishes. In the country districts of Sweden, it was customary for guests to contribute to the fare at large gatherings. The foods were set out on long tables from which the diners helped themselves. By the 18th century, festive meals were preceded by appetizers from a bannvinsbord, offering aquavit, herring, and other delicacies.