Lessons: How to be more Swedish


Hej – and welcome to your weekly ScandiKitchen lesson.

So, you want to be more Swedish? We can teach you’ – just follow this quick do-it-at-home guide and you’ll be more Swedish than Abba before you know it.

Every week, we give a little lesson on how to be a bit more Scandinavian in your everyday life. If you’d like the full-length version of these lessons direct into your inbox every Friday morning, simply click here to sign up.


Be Lagom

Everything is balance. Not too much, not too little: just right. Don’t be flashy, don’t be frugal. Be like semi-skimmed milk: in the middle. Drive a grey Volvo, a house well built, stylish useful clothing. Everything from now on is a comfortable shade of lagom.

swedish chef

Sweden is BEST

The conversation: “Oh, taste these lovely British chocolates I just bought”.

You: We have the same sort in Sweden, except our chocolate is lingonberry/liquorice/dill flavoured. And better. Also, have you SEEN our nature? Better.”

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All the coffee

More coffee. Even if you think you drink a lot of coffee, double it. Go for the strong filter brew that keeps you going like an old Volvo.

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Fika practice

At least twice a day, stop what you are doing and go get another coffee. Sit, eat a bun. Talk to others doing the same. This is what you do twice a day for the rest of your life. Fika is a noun and a verb, so you can meet for a fika – or you can fika with someone.

cinnamon rolls from sweden

Cinnamon buns

The average Swede eats 316 buns a year. Learn to make them properly, because Swedes bake at home. If you ever add any kind of icing on top of cinnamon buns, you lose the game.


Cheese slicing

If you make a ski slope on your cheese, you can’t be Swedish. Always use the designated, correct slicer and always keep your cheese level: someone is judging you. (And only buy blocks of cheese that are the size of a small child).

pee pee

Announce the pee-pee

In a board meeting? Stand up and confidently announce: “Jag måste kissa” (I need to pee), then leave the room and do not look embarrassed. You’ve just earned 5 Swedish points.

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No shoes

Every time you enter someone’s house, remove your shoes. Including at your own house. Tell your guests to remove their shoes, too. Nobody is wearing shoes indoors from now on.

Swedish meatballs with macaroni and ketchup

Eat like a Swede

Meatballs with mash and gravy is too stereotypical. The real Swedish the national dish is Kottbullar & Snabb Makroner (meatballs, ketchup and quick-cook macaroni).  Prawns & banana on pizza is now a thing.


Swedish Bite (Svensk bitan)

Never, ever take the last bit of food on the tray. Always leave some. One bun left? Half it. Then half the half. Half the quarter. Send a version of the split atom back to the kitchen, but do NOT take the last bit. Ever.


Eat in the dark

As darkness falls, light 15 candles and turn off most electric light (keep heating at 24 degrees, the natural indoor Swedish temperature). This is to be referred to as mysigt, meaning ‘really cosy’.


Breakfast like a Swede

It’s a ritual: Bread (the crispy stuff), add boiled egg, creamed cod roe. Top up with a lot of coffee. Drink a glass of milk. More coffee.

food tubes

Buy food in tubes

From now on, buy food tubes. Cheese, kaviar, mackerel, toothpaste: it can all go in tubes. Don’t confuse Kaviar roe with toothpaste.


Sweden: closed

July is now when you holiday. All of it. Sweden is closed. You’re closed.

You’re also closed for Midsummer, as you’ll be busy dancing in a field pretending to be a frog.


Basic Queue

At bus stops, ensure at least 1½ m safety between you and the closest stranger. Do not make conversation (not even about the weather).


Double for emphasis

To emphasise something, Swedes say it twice: Yes, yes. Hello, hello. Thank you, thank you. Congratulations, congratulations.


Ticket queue

The ticket queuing machines that went out of fashion in 1987 are all the rage in Sweden (they invented them). Any place a queue might form, take a ticket. You’ll not be served without one, even if there are no other people for miles.


Cosy Friday

It’s Friday night. Stay in and do Cosy Friday, fredagsmys. This involves opening a large bag of dill-flavoured crisps and pouring them into a bowl. Make dips. You must dip every crisp before eating.


Sweet Saturday

From now on, you only eat sweets on Saturdays. Lördagsgodis: Saturday sweets (by definition, you then can’t eat it on other days). It is acceptable to consume a half kilo bag – but only once a week.


Swedify your space

Blank canvas, clean lines and efficient layout. Add IKEA. Add candles and a lot of lamps. You know that IKEA gets you – and you get IKEA. You even know the quyick way out, like only a true Swede. And you know what DalaBördiGurdiHolm means…(and that things you step on usually have Danish names).


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