This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"The station at Katrineholm I shall never forget, nor the dinner that I had there. I was exceedingly hungry, having started early in the morning, and when the guard cried 'tjugo for middag' (twenty minutes for dinner) I lost no time in making preparations. On entering the matsal (dining room) I for a moment forgot my hunger, everything was so different from what I had before seen. In. the center of the room was a long table, with a snowy white table-cloth, upon which was seen the most tempting food imaginable, all smoking hot, having just been taken from the oven. At one end of the table were two tureens, one of soup and the other of buttermilk, the last a favorite dish in Sweden and of which many partake before their soup. Beside these tureens were piles of warm plates, knifes, forks, spoons and napkins. Each traveler who was desirous of dining helped himself or herself to a plate, etc., walking around the table, selected what best pleased the appetite, then seated himself at one of the small tables around the room. After soup came fish, then roast beef, lamb, chicken, vegetables, jellies, puddings, bread, butter, cream and coffee.
One could eat all he wished, help himself a second time if he desired to, and the price of a dinner, five or six courses, was only 1 krona and 50 Ore, about 40 cents. Those who did nst wish a full dinner helped themselves from the smorgasbord, or to a cup of coffee from a coffee urn. There were no waiters running to and fro, no crashing of dishes, no noise or confusion in any way. Each person went to the desk and paid for what he had eaten, either the dinner from the smorgasbord, from which a good meal of cold meats, bread and butter, for 50 Ore (13 cents), or for a lunch of coffee and cakes. The word of each person was taken, and there were no waiters to watch to see what each had eaten. I never enjoyed a dinner more, and I thought how pleasant it would be to have similar restaurants in America." - Foreign Letter.