Sweden’s Culinary Treats Posted by Marcus Cederström on May 8, 2010 in Culture
Husmanskost is the Swedish word for traditional Swedish food. Many of the traditional meals that are included in the husmanskost category include potatoes and fish or some other form of meat.
While some dishes or foods are more common than others, some are more famous than others. For better or worse. For example, there’s the fermented herring known as surströmming which should never be opened indoors. Or even consumed for that matter. Yet every year, some brave soul cracks open a tin of surströmming and takes that first bite.
Of course, nearly everyone has heard of Swedish meatballs which, contrary to popular belief, are not made with grape jelly. At least not in Sweden. Instead, they are made with ground meat, bread crumbs, and usually onions.
There’s pytt i panna, which is essentially a collection of left overs thrown in a pan and fried. The main ingredient being diced potatoes with some onions and chopped meat thrown in for good measure. Traditionally, pytt i panna is served with red beets and a fried egg.
Some people might find the Swedish habit of putting ketchup on nearly everything just as strange as eating fermented fish. A classic dish, and one that every student has probably lived on at the end of the month, is spaghetti with ketchup. It’s delicious, and when it comes down to it, just another form of tomato sauce. It’s even been reported that Swedes are the world’s number one consumer per capita of ketchup. An impressive feat really.
I have eaten my fair share of spaghetti with ketchup (and pytt i panna with ketchup for that matter), but it’s the pea soup and pancakes traditionally served on Thursdays that I prefer. In restaurants throughout Sweden on Thursdays, dagens lunch offers pea soup and pancakes. The pea soup includes bits of ham and is usually served with a dollop of mustard. The pancakes are the traditional thin Swedish pancakes and are usually served with sylt and grädde. Why pea soup and pancakes have become synonymous with Thursdays is sometimes debated. Some say it started with the military. Others that it was the because of the Church and people wanted to get that last bit of meat before Friday. Whatever the reason, it is delicious.
While definitely not considered husmanskost, Swedish cuisine can also be found in tubes. A wide array of pålägg can be found in tubes in nearly every grocery store. Everything from caviar, to mayonnaise, to ham flavored soft cheese. Squeeze some of your favorite condiment on knäckebröd and you’ll have yourself a classic Swedish snack.
What is your favorite Swedish food?