Homesick? We know the feeling. If you or someone you know are missing their native Denmark, this Hjemve bundle is exactly what you need. Our favourite Danish sweets and salty snacks, including Anthon Berg, Piratos, Kims and Marabou. Everything you need for en dejlig aften.
Do you read our daily facts on Facebook? Maybe you should. It’s your daily dose of nonsense Nordic Knowledge #BeNordic. Follow it here.
Feel free to comment below of any extras we have forgotten….
That’s life when the skirt is striped (Sånt är livet när kjolen är randig). (Swedish) Meaning: Such is life.
If a Swede says “something landed between two chairs” he means that something has been forgotten and nobody is taking responsibility for it.
The Finns don’t “get diarrhoea”… they “have poop flying out of their bums like flocks of sparrows” (paska lentää kuin varpusparvi).
If a Dane says “Taking the bus is the sausage of dearth” (“Det er dødens pølse at tage bussen”) he simply means it’s boring or annoying. “Sausage of death” is everything trivial.
If there’s room in heart there’s room for the arse (Finns det hjärterum så finns det stjärterum) (Swedish saying) Meaning: Everybody can fit in here).
If someone is caught with your beard in the mailbox (Skägget i brevlådan) (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) Meaning: “To be caught with your pants down.”
If someone ‘slides in on a prawn sandwich’ in Sweden (“Glida in på en räkmacka”) it means someone who didn’t have to work to get where they are in life.
In Finland, if someone is “like a bear shot in the ass” (kuin perseeseen ammuttu karhu), it means they are cranky.
In Iceland, they don’t say “I’ll get my revenge”, instead they’ll say ‘I’ll find you at the beach’ (Ég mun finna þig í fjöru).
Made a fool of yourself? In Norway, you say that you “shat on your leg” (Nå har du bæsjet på leggen).
I suspect there are owls in the bog (Jeg aner ugler I mosen) (a versatile saying used in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian). Meaning: Something fishy is going on.
In Denmark, if something is really expensive, you can say ‘it costs the white bits out of the eyes’ (det koster det hvide ud af øjnene).
If a Dane tells you he is ‘angry in the garbage’ (gal i skralden) he means to tell you he is furious.
If a Swede tells you to go to the forest, he is telling you to get lost (Dra åt skogen).
If a Dane makes a mental note of something, he ‘writes it behind the ear’ (at skrive noget bag øret).
If you’re sitting in meeting with some Danes and one of them says that everything has gone to goat (gå I ged), they are merely trying to explain that it fell through (or failed), as in “that project went to goat”.
If a Swede says he is going to ‘throw a goat’s eye at it’, it means he’ll have a quick glance at something (att kasta ett getöga).
Some people in Norway mighty say you have ‘pooped in the drawer’ if you have been caught out in a difficult situation (Å bæsje i skuffen).
In Sweden, if a person looks like he’s sold all the butter and lost all the money (Ha sålt smöret och tappat pengarna), it means he looks both sad and guilty at the same time.
If a Finn tells you that you are “shooting flies with a cannon” he simply means to tell you that you are overcomplicating things, putting a lot of effort into achieving something impossible (ampua tykillä kärpäsiä).
If an Icelandic accuses you of Jumping onto your own nose (Að stökkva upp á nef sér), they mean to tell you that you get angry and worked up too quickly.
If a Finn tells you ‘Let me show you where the chicken pees from’ (Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii) he simply means “Let me show you how it’s done”.
A Danes might say he feels like an egg yolk (‘Jeg har det som blommen i et æg‘) which and he means that he feels comfort and fulfilment.
In Finland, instead of saying “And that’s that”, you say “And because… onion” (Ja sillä sipuli).
Swedish saying: “What is hidden in snow, is revealed at thaw” (Det som göms i snö, kommer fram vid tö). Meaning, things will be revealed, secrets will out.
A Dane might say “one more time for prince Knud” (en gang til for prins Knud) – this refers to the former king’s (Frederik IX) brother, who was known to need an explanation more than once.
If a Dane says he has his ass in the surface of the water (Røven i vandskorpen), it means things are not going that well.
The Finns don’t say something “fits well”… they say it “fits like a fist in the eye” (sopii kuin nyrkki silmään).
If a Dane tells you that you are ‘pouring water out of your ears’ (at hælde vand ud af ørerne), he means to tell you that you’re talking rubbish, of stuff of no importance, or just moaning a lot.
In Iceland, if someone tells you they are off to play chess with the pope (Að tefla við páfann) they are telling your they need to go for a number 2.
The Finns don’t say something “disappeared without trace”… they say it “vanished like a fart in Sahara” (kadota kuin pieru Saharaan).
If you see an Icelandic baby that is super cute and adorable, you can try telling the mother that you think her off spring is “just such a butthole” (rassgat). In Icelandic, this means you are praising the baby’s adorableness.
If a Dane tells you that you’re laughing like a torn pair of clogs, he means you are laughing out loud (grine som en flækket træsko).
In Finland if someone says: “The forest answers in the same way one shouts at it” (Niin metsä vastaa kuin sinne huudetaan), he means ‘what goes around, comes around’. The proverb refers to the echo from the treeline.
A Swede is not “dressed to the nines”… he is “dressed up to his teeth.” (Klädd up till tänderna).
In Finland, if someone isn’t quite that clever, a Finn might say “He doesn’t have all Moomin trolls in the valley” (Hänellä ei ole kaikki muumit laaksossa). Okay, its trolls, but Moomins sounds better.
If a Dane tells you he doesn’t have a red prawn (ikke en rød reje) it means he is skint.
“To step in the spinach” (At træde i spinaten) (Danish, Norwegian (although in Norway it’s salad instead of spinach!) Meaning: To make a mistake.
If a Swede thinks you are stupid he might say you “don’t have all the hens at home.” (Att ha alla hönsen hemma).
It’s blowing half a pelican (Det blæser en halv pelican) (Danish) Meaning: It’s really windy.
To be born behind a brown cheese (Født bak en brunost) (Norwegian) – Meaning: the person is a bit slow.
In Denmark, when someone hurries up, he ‘takes his legs on the back of his neck’ (Han tager benene på nakken’.
If a Dane is ‘pulling cod fish to the shore’ (at trække torsk I land) it means he is snoring VERY loudly.
In Swedish, you don’t say ‘Speak of the devil’, instead you say “Speak of the troll and he appears on the porch” (När man talar om trollen så står de i farstun).
If a Swede says “Now shame walks on dry land” (Nu går skam på torra land’ ) it means immorality has taken over and you cant do anything to stop it.
If a Dane tells you that you are earthing-up potatoes (hyppe kartofter), it means you are pushing your own agenda too much.
In Iceland, they don’t say “I’ll get my revenge”, instead they’ll say ‘I’ll find you at the beach’ (Ég mun finna þig í fjöru)
Pretend that it’s raining (‘Låtsas som att det regnar’) (Swedish) – Meaning: To act normally, so as not to attract any attention.
Let me show you where a chicken pees from (Näytän sulle, mistä kana pissii) (Finnish) Meaning: ‘Let me show you how it’s done’.
In Scandinavia, we don’t have a bone to pick with people – instead, we have a hen to pluck with you (Jeg har en høne å plukke med deg / I have a hen to pluck with you).
If a Dane is ‘standing like herring in a barrel’, it means he’s feeling a bit squashed (Stå som sild i en tønde).
In Norway and Denmark, if you make cabbage of something (å gjøre kål på), it means you are ending something, even maybe destroying it. For example: “We made cabbage of all those leftovers in the fridge” or even “She made cabbage out of him.
I’m cold in the ass (Jeg er kold i røven) (Danish) – Meaning: I don’t care.
Go where the pepper grows (Dra dit pepparn gror) (Swedish) Meaning: Go to hell.
In Finland, you don’t dip your toe to test the water. Instead, you test the ice with a stick (kokeilla kepillä jäätä).
If a Norwegian ‘has blood on his teeth’ (Å få blod på tannen) it means he’s inspired to do something.
Even small saucepans have ears (Även små grytor har öron) (Swedish, Danish) Meaning: the kids might hear.
There is a dog buried here (Det ligger en hund begraven här)(Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) Meaning: there’s something fishy going on.
If a Finnish person tell you it’s “like the snow of last winter”, he means it’s “like water under the bridge” (Menneen talven lumia).
A Swede doesn’t “beat around the bush”… he “walks like the cat around hot porridge.” (Gå som katten kring het gröt).
Hello jump in the blueberry forest! (Hej hopp i blåbärsskogen!) (Swedish) Meaning: A cheerful expression to be used when you are a bit surprised.
In Norway, if you float using your own body fat (flyte på flesket), it means you rely on own experience or resources. As in “You can float on your own body fat now, you really know this project”.
If a Dane is laying his head in water (at lægge hovedet i blød) it means he’ll think something over really hard.
If someone is arrogant and full of oneself, in Norwegian you can say “he’s high on the pear” (‘Høy på pæren’) – as in ‘Stop being so high on the pear, now..’
Your own cow is in the ditch ( Oma lehmä ojassa) (Finnish). – Meaning: Someone has an ulterior selfish motive behind an action.
A Danes doesn’t kill two birds with one stone; instead he ‘kills two flies with one swat’.
In Sweden, there is a classic idiom: “Everyone knows the monkey, but the monkey knows no-one.” (alla känner apan, apan känner ingen). It sort of means don’t think you’re popular just because you’re known to others. That everybody notices the one who sticks out, but he knows nobody.
To put onion on the salmon (Att lägga lök på laxen) (Swedish)- Meaning: To make things even worse…
To poop on your calf (Bæsje på leggen) (Norwegian) – Meaning: Make a mistake.
In Iceland, instead of saying ‘Let’s go’ or ‘Carry on’, people will say “On with the butter!” (Áfram með smjörið).
If something in Danish goes completely wrong, Danes will say ‘it has gone completely to fish” (gå helt i fisk).
Now you have shat in the blue cupboard! (Nu har du skitit i det blå skåpet) (Swedish) – Meaning: When you really have made a fool out of yourself.
Not for all the butter in Småland (Inte för allt smör i hela Småland) (Sweden) -Meaning: Equivalent to the English expression: “Not for all the tea in China”.
To swallow some camels (Å svelge noen kameler) (Norwegian) – Meaning: to give in.
Almost and close to doesn’t knock a man off his horse (Ligeved og næsten slår ingen mand af hæsten)(Danish) – Equivalent to the English saying: “Close, but no cigar”.
To be in the middle of the butter eye [melting in the porridge] (Å være midt i smørøyet) (Norwegian, Danish) Meaning: to be in a very favourable place or situation.
To pace around hot porridge like a cat (kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa) (Finnish) – Meaning: To beat about the bush.
To be under the ice (Under isen) (Swedish) – Meaning: feeling a bit depressed.
To jump on the gluestick (at hoppe på limpinden (Danish) – Meaning: To take the bait.
No danger on the roof (Ingen fara på taket) (Swedish) Meaning: No worries.
He took his legs on the back of his neck (Han tog benene på nakken) (Danish) – Meaning: He hurried up.
There are no cows on the ice (Der er ingen ko på isen) (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) – Meaning: Nothing to worry about. The full saying is “No cow on the ice when the back half is on the ground”.
In Norway, if someone ‘smiles in the beard’ it means they are chuckling quietly about past events (Å smile i skjegget).
If a Scandinavian tells you that someone has ‘a good nasal bone’, they are merely trying to say that the person is strong and determined (at have ben i næsen).
If an Icelandic tells you that it “isn’t enough to fill a Cat’s nostril”, it means it is very small. (Ekki upp í nös á ketti).
If a Norwegian tells you that he is speaking directly from the liver, he simply means to tell you he’s telling the truth. As in “I’m telling you, straight from the liver, I love you!” (Å snake rett fra leveren).
In Danish, if you ‘pass the monkey on’ (at sende aben videre) it means you’re passing on a problem to someone else.
If an Icelandic or Danish person tells you ‘that something is the raisin at the end of the sausage (Það er rúsínan í pylsuendanum/rosinen i pølsenden), it means there is an unexpected good surprise at the end of something.
If a Swede says ‘Pretend it’s raining’ he simply means act normally, so as not to attract any attention (Låtsas som att det regnar).
In Sweden, if someone tells you that “Now the boiled pork is fried” (Nu är det kokta fläsket stekt), what they are really saying is ‘now things are really, really bad’.
If an Icelandic person tells you that peeing in your shoes will only keep you warm for a short while, he simply means to tell you short term solutions don’t often work (Það er skammgóður vermir að pissa í skó sinn). Idioms rock, don’t you think?
A Swede doesn’t seek revenge – instead, he “gives back for old cheese.” (Ge tillbaka för gammal ost).
A Norwegian won’t say ‘upping the game’ instead he’ll say ‘the buns have changed’ (Nå blir det andre boller).
In Iceland, they don’t say they will sleep on it or think it over, instead they say they’ll put their head to soak in water (Að leggja höfuðið í bleyti).
In Finland, you don’t have a finger in every pie – instead, you have a ‘spoon in every bowl of soup’ (Lusikka joka sopassa).
You’re completely out cycling (Du er helt ude og cycle) (Danish) – Meaning: You’re completely wrong.
Go where the pepper grows (Dra dit pepparn gror) (Swedish) – Meaning: Go to hell!
If a Scandinavian says you need to “have ice in your stomach” (is i magen), it simply means you need to play it cool, be in control.
If a Dane or Norwegian tells you that ‘the toilet’s on fire’ it means the shits about to hit the fan big time (Lokummet brænder).
You’ve really shot the parrot (Du har virkeligt skudt papegøjen) (Danish) – Meaning: You’ve been lucky.
He’s got rotating farts in his cap (Han har roterende fis i kasketten) (Danish) – Meaning: He’s not quite all there.
A Swede doesn’t tell someone to “take a hike”… he tells someone to “throw themselves in the wall.” (Släng dig i väggen).
If a Dane says he isn’t quite orange free (Ikke helt appelsinfri), he means to tell you that he is not completely sober.
Is it the horse’s birthday? Er det hestens fødselsdag? (Danish) Meaning: the rye bread is too thick for my open sandwich.
To be up on the liquorices (at være oppe på lakridserne) (Danish) – Meaning: to be very attentive or busy.
If a Dane says you can both ‘blow and have flour in your mouth’, he means to say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. (Man kan ikke både blæse og have mel i munden).
Nothing to hang on the Christmas tree (Ingenting att hänga i julgranen) (Swedish) Meaning: not special enough.
At Christmas time we get really, really busy. Our Bronte especially, as she often ends up in the café, writing down festive recipes for homesick people on pieces of till roll. It is that time of year when people want to know just how Mamma used to make the rice pudding and how Granddad used to cook the Christmas ham.
So, Bronte decided that her 6th book should be a book about Christmas. It also happens to be her favourite time of the year. A book takes quite some time to write, which sneakily meant that Bronte’s Christmas last year started in November and ended in mid February. By this time, her kids were going bananas due to all the festive music and tinsel still present in her little kitchen in Queens Park: “I needed the inspiration” she reasoned. Really, she just loves Christmas and relished being able to drag it out.
What’s in the book? It is split into different sections:
It is always hard to make decisions on what to include, so Bronte decided to take the lead of all the wonderful people who follow us on social media and asked what recipes they most often have to go look for – as well as how often she gets asked for specific recipes in the café.
Here’s a sneak peak of the introduction (click on the image to get a readable version):
Look, it’s a big unattractive packet. We know. And it’s 500g of the stuff so you need to love it to buy it. But this product is the thing the Danes long for, so much, with bells on. Pork liver pate, the exact brand that their Mums buy when they are back home visiting. The most popular in all of the land – every fridge has an open packet. Best way to eat it is on seeded rye bread – with either sliced cucumber or crispy onion on top. Or beetroot. Add remoulade, if you are heathen. Some do (it’s weird).
Every summer, Danes get homesick for this buttermilk soup. Enjoy cold, just as it is – with little kammerjunker biscuits on top and maybe some fresh strawberries. A beautiful summer dessert. Also, if you ever want to make a homesick Dane happy…
Strong bite but deliciously creamy. Amazing cheese for open sandwiches or just breakfast. Please do cut responsibly using the correct cheese slicer – nobody likes a hacked cheese.
Danes love marzipan. Imagine 60% pure marzipan dipped in the most beautiful dark chocolate? This is it. Especially popular with grandmothers, most people likely got offered these every Christmas and birthdays at Grandma’s house – and so, holds a special place of happiness in most Danes’ hearts.
Did we forget anything, Danes? Leave comments below and let us know. What is the thing you can’t live without?
This is the fourth of six posts – each presenting one of our favourite everyday products. The things we eat again and again and that always provide a taste of home.
Brown cheese is something unique to Norway. Not very cheese-like at all, but as essential for your stereotypical Norwegian fridge. Referred to and sold as ‘brown cheese’, ski queen, goat’s cheese, geitost, caramel cheese, toffee cheese – you get the drill. Lots of names for something initially made to avoid wasting the by-product of cheese making, whey.
It comes in several varieties – the most famous is the red Gudbrandsdalsost, made from a mix of goat’s and cow’s milk, flotemysost, made from cow’s milk alone – this is milder in flavour and a dessert in itself , and Geitost. Geitost is made from 100% goat’s milk and has a sharper, richer flavour than the other – the connoisseur’s choice, if you’d like.
All types go very well on fresh, still warm, bread – with a little dollop of raspberry jam or a drizzle of honey on top. A slather of salted butter underneath and prepare yourself for a cheese-nirvana. Or, take it one step further and make heart shaped waffles. A match made in Norway and loved everywhere. Oh, and if you know any homesick Norwegians – get them one of these.
13th December is the Lucia Celebrations all over the Nordic countries. It’s a big thing. It’s also known as the Festival of Lights – processions, candles, singing – the lot.
If you are Scandinavian and feel a bit homesick, click HERE before you start reading and keep it playing in the background. On repeat.
This is what December looks like in many parts of the Nordics
Because of this, we have an excuse to light hundreds of candles.
St Lucia means you get to dress up in white robes (grandma’s nightgown can work). Add a red sash around your waist – it’s a symbol of death, but lets not mention that – it gets all dark and macabre then.
St Lucia originally comes from Sicily.
She died in the year 304. Lucia of Syracuse, also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia, was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution.
You get to fight to become the Lucia Bride (usually a girl, but now also sometimes a boy because, why not?)
It’s every little girls dream to be a Lucia bride
Swedes eat Lucia buns (Saffron flavoured buns with raisins in them). Swedes love Saffron so much that in December they try to sneak Saffron into as many treats as possible. From the traditional buns to any other cake that can possibly have half a gram of saffron added (even semlor buns)
Danes eat æbleskiver – literally: Apple slices. They little pancake balls, but they don’t contain apples. 100 million + are eaten in Denmark every year. Eat with jam and icing sugar.
It’s also a very pagan celebration: it was the night when animals became possessed and could talk. Okay, not quite like these, but they are funny…
The processions start early mornings on 13th December and carry on throughout the whole day and evening. This means we get to drink THIS at 7 am. It has alcohol in it. The day starts here.
Which makes us look like this
And Swedes drink a gallon of this, too.
And eat a mountain of ginger biscuits. Buy them ready made, or buy the dough. Nobody will judge you. Or make your own, whatever, you show off…
If you live in Scandinavia, you will attend at least one Lucia every year. If in Sweden, around 5 (and dodge a few).
Processions take place everywhere – from offices to old people’s homes, schools and more. If there is a hallway with a light switch, Lucia will happen
In Denmark, everybody is in white robes, but in Sweden, they also have star boys, gingerbread men and other fancy inventions. Some look happier than others.
Everybody will have candles in their hands but the Lucia bride will have a crown of candles. Real ones. On average, Lucia brides spend 6 hours picking wax out of their hair afterwards. It’s the price you pay for being the bride.
The best known song is Sankta Lucia. Most people know only the first verse. Here is a phonetic Swedish version.
SUNK TAR LOU, SEE YA
Nut and gore tune-off yet
Ruined gourd ox-stew, vah
Cring you’d some sulfer yet
School gore, now roux vah
Doughy wort murk a whose
Steeger met end-a-juice
Sunk tar Lou, see ya
Sunk taaaar Lou, see ya!
You will cry. All of a sudden, Christmas has arrived…
If abroad, scramble for the last no view seats at the churches/embassies/clubs… Here is where to see it in the UK. Sorry, most places have sold out – but there are sometimes cancellations to be found:
Last week, we made a list about the things we miss when living abroad. Like windows that open inwards, insulated houses and not having to say sorry all the time.
This week, we go the other way and ask what stuff we do that puzzles the People of Britain and further afield. Fair is fair – and our good friends had lots to say about this on Facebook:
“Announcing when you need to pee”
Scandinavians, but Swedes especially, announce when they need to pee. Jag måste kissa, the Swedes will say – happily in the middle of a business meeting: I need to pee. Not “where’s the loo’ but I NEED TO PEE.
“Seriously, what’s up with that? Salty, tar-like substance that makes your face scrunch into something resembling a bum hole? How can you eat it? It’s not a SWEET”.
We love it. Don’t mess with our liquorice and we will keep trying to make you love it, too.
Drinking a glass of milk with your dinner. What are you, five years old?
Scandinavians love drinking milk. And we don’t think it’s just for the young kids, either- we will happily have a large class of milk with our dinner. Is it weird? It IS?
Off –milk and other odd dairy products
“Filmjolk, Afil and A38… Basically, sour yoghurts. Not even thick ones, but runny. Is it a drink or a yoghurt? How do you eat it? Why are you so obsessed with it? It’s SOUR. And don’t get started on the sour buttermilk.”
All true. But it’s good for your belly and it tastes really nice. Go on, have some, and then maybe some Skyr (which is also sour and is actually a cheese…)
(illustration by Jenny K Blake)
The Sandwich Rules
So, our open sandwiches are nice, most people agree. But all our rules? Don’t add fish with meat, only add remoulade with certain things. Asier is only for pork. Prawn is on white bread, but egg and prawn is on rye bread. How are people supposed to learn all these rules? What do you mean, herring first, always? What, eat with a knife and fork only? Really?
Maybe we should write these things down… Wait, where’s the fun in that?
Oh, please, not another cup of coffee.
Our coffee is so strong, too strong for most. We drink more coffee than the Italians. Our filter coffee makes your veins pulsate like a Basshunter song. It will keep any tired poor sod awake for an extra hour and invoke insomnia to the unsuspecting. On top of that, we are happy to drink 2-3 cups in a row. It’s no wonder we’re very effective in our lives and always on the go.
What’s up with all the OUTDOORS stuff?
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” – said all Scandinavian mothers, everywhere.
Okay, we like to be outside – a lot. Hike, walk, ski, run. Outside, in minus -20 degree and preferably with snow/rain/sleet/sun/ice age. Get outside.
Candle obsession with cosy feelings
We do like candles. We also love cosy. Yes, maybe we do go a bit overboard sometimes. Like when we put 50 candles in the room, turn all the lights off and ask each other if we’re feeling really ‘hyggelige’. No, it’s not some sort of Satanic ritual.
Jam and Cheese
No, it’s not a universal thing – it’s pretty much a Scandi thing. That sandwich with a slice of cheese and a dollop of raspberry or strawberry jam. Yes, we know its lovely, but its still odd, in the eyes of other people.
Okay, we know you mean something, but you don’t have to SAY it, do you?
Non-Scandi: Would you like to come for dinner at mine tomorrow?
Scandi person: No.
Apparently, the correct response is: Ohhh, thanks for the invite, I may consider it. (Or something…then ignore it and conveniently forget to call back).
The lack of a proper word for please.
We do forget to say it. We do. We don’t have a direct translation. We don’t mean to be rude. We really don’t. The closest thing we have is along the lines of ‘if you wouldn’t mind being so kind as to” and it’s too long.
Obsession with Cheez Doodles
In Sweden especially, no Friday night’s “Fredagsmys” (Cosy Friday) is complete without a bowl of dusty corn covered snacks by our sides. We love them so much we probably think we invented them (we didn’t). No, Wotsits will not do: Not the same.
We’d probably bathe in them if you let us.
Lack of greeting cards
What’s with the lack of Christmas cards, birthday cards, moving-house card, and thank you cards?
We don’t write many cards. We don’t have shops that just sell cards. We’d like to say it is because we’re saving the forests, but really, it’s just because we don’t see the need in writing a card to your neighbour when they live next door and you just pop over and talk to them. We do learn, eventually, once we have been abroad for long enough and are feeling ignored.
Tobacco, squashed into little balls and stuffed under your top lip. Yes, other people can see it, too. It’s a Scandi thing others will probably never understand. Here’s to you, Fat Lip Snuser.
Father Christmas comes to your house
“He turns up, at your house, when you are AWAKE?!”
Actually, no, he doesn’t, The Tomte/Nisse turns up. Father Christmas is an American thing, we have our own Christmas elves. They all look just like our dads.
Our obsessiveness about the slicing of cheese
“It’s a piece of cheese, what’s the big deal if I use a knife to slice it?”
Look, we know some nations don’t appreciate this obsessiveness about the slicing of the cheese, but just DON’T slice it the wrong way and we can be friends. We invented cheese slicers for a reason, guys. It makes sense. Don’t make a ski-slope on our cheese block. Please. We beg you. You will invoke all kids of OCD and we just cannot forgive and forget.
We once wrote a blog post about a British food stylist who cut our cheese wrong and it made the Swedish newspaper. It really did. We take this very seriously.
Okay, it’s weird.
Stuff in tubes
So, in Sweden especially, we’ve realised that good things can be stuffed into handy tubes for easy consumption. It’s like buying food for your journey into space, except you are in your local ICA Maxi and not going on a trip to Mars.
There is not Christmas without a re-run of the Donald Duck Show from 1976.
Okay, maybe a bit weird.
You may laugh at us. Do go on. But mark our words: 2016 in the year when Britain gets into Eurovision again. We feel the comeback, it’s in the air. We’re working on it. You will realise it was never a political issue, simply one of you entering crappy songs and making fun of us.
What do you mean you didn’t enter crappy songs? Really?
Laughing at people trying to pronounce our weird guttural sounds
“Trying to get me to say rødgrød all the time. Even after I’ve learned how to say it, it’s still apparently knee-slappingly hilarious.”
Drinking something that is 38% alcohol at 9 am in the morning.
Okay, to be fair, this is mainly the Danes and we need to blame them on this one. There is this drink called Gammel Dansk – it’s a bit like a bad version of Fernet Branca. Drink a few shots in the morning with your Danish pastries and you’re all set for the day.
The obsession with singing ‘Snaps Visor” and “skål”
Most people get the enjoyment of having a shot of aquavit with your herring (sort of – most actually, in reality, think it tastes gross but nobody would be so impolite as to tell us).
But singing a song every time we raise our glasses? That’s a bit… Ehh… different.
Also, you have to ‘Skål’ in style. There are rules about how to do it. Best learn.
Stuff that ex-pat Scandinavians in Britain never really stop missing from back home…
We asked the good people of Facebook – and wow, did we get a lot of suggestions!
Here are some of the top tongue-in-cheek replies about the little grips that will always make us Scandinavian at heart – feel free to add your own in the comment’s section and we’ll update the list.
1. Underfloor heating as standard. Once you have tried to have your hangover on a floor with under floor heating, you just can’t go back.
2. Missing not having to say ‘sorry’ all the time. We Scandies don’t say it a lot – only when we really, really mean it. Sorry about being so frank… But we don’t like saying sorry all day long. Sorry for this, sorry for that… Sorry I looked at you, sorry I stood in front of you in the queue. Sorry we had to mention this. Okay, sorry about all the sorry. Sorry.
3. Proper snow. What, you call THAT snow? We’ll show you snow…
4. Coming home to a house like this…
5. Mixer taps. We’ll never stop missing them. Just for the ease of washing our hands in water with nice temperature. Seriously, how DO you wash your face when one tap is scalding hot and one is freezing?
6. Windows that open inwards. This may seem like a small thing, but once you have seen the logic of inward opening windows (for cleaning, even), you can never go back.
7. Directness. That’s just how we do it. You think we’re direct when we’re abroad? You should see us in our natural habitat.
8. Water pressure in your shower. Like, a real shower, that is high up so you don’t have to bend down to be under it (sorry that we’re a bit tall for your houses… oh, look, we said sorry again). Where the water comes out in a steady stream, not a trickle. Ahh…And relax…
9. Our comfort foods: We did a but of a survey, and Swedes’ top food they miss is Kalles Kaviar. Top Norwegian food is Brown cheese – and Danes will never give up on Remoulade.
10. Not having carpets. Why has the rest of the world not yet given up on carpets? Do we really need them?
11. Saunas. Because being all warm and sweaty in a wooden box is just so very nice.
12. White walls. Really white walls. We call it ‘Scandinavian white”. No, not egg shell or magnolia. WHITE. All of it. And take your dado rails with you when you leave.
13. Views like these…
14. Cycle lanes so you don’t risk your life every morning.
15. Coffee tables. What’s up with the sofa with no table in front of it? Where are you supposed to put your cup of tea?
16. Being able to keep the heating on all year if we need it – and not bankrupt ourselves in the process. Scandinavians prefer 22 degrees, in every room, at all times. We don’t mind the cold when it’s outside, but our houses are toasty.
17. Nobody makes fun of you for loving Eurovision. Stop making fun of us – yes, you – you just DID, in your head!
18. Candles everywhere. As soon as darkness sets, everybody lights candles. In every house. Everywhere. Because the more candles you have and the darker the room, the more ‘cosy’ you feel – and cosy means ‘Kos’ and ‘hygge’ – and those things are essential to being a real Scandinavian. Get some candles, will you (must be purchased in IKEA or similar Scandinavian store, or they are not the “right” kind).
19. People just popping by. Because in Scandinavia, you don’t have to call ahead or make appointments. Just pop over.
20. Comfortable nakedness. It’s just a body, we all have one. Take off all your clothes and be at one with nature.
21. Hytteliv (cottage life). We miss our cottages by the mountains/fjord/beach/lake/forrest (delete as appropriate). The place where there is no ‘scandi design’, only copper pots hanging on the wall and maybe a stuffed dead animal head. Even better if the toilet is in the garden.
22. Filter coffee. Do not mess with our coffee. Because we drink more than anyone else. We can handle our caffeine. And when we go back home, we drop the skinny lattes and go for diesel strength filter, every time.
23. Scandinavian brunches. A bit like this, where you have hours and hours and bottomless coffee.
24. Milk in cartons. And not in plastic jugs. The cartons are easy to pour from, recyclable as paper and have lots of interesting stuff on them. Little who dunnit’s for Easter, for example.
25. Pick and mix. Scandinavian ones. For Fredagsmys or Lördagsgodis, or for going to the cinema. A bag of tangfastics just is not the same. We like to pick and mix our favourites – some sweet, some sour, some salty, some chocolatey – for the ultimate treat.
26. Hiking culture. Well at least in Norway, where the weekend is synonymous with a hike of some sort for many.
27. Real cheese slicers. A knife just won’t cut it (pardon the pun).
Homesick? We know the feeling! If you or someone you know are missing their sweet native Sweden, this Hemlängtan bundle is sure to make them smile. Our favourite selection of Swedish sweets and salty snacks, including Ahlgrens, Marabou, Malaco and Estrella. Everything they need for some fredagsmys. The perfect gift for any Swede in your life.
Homesick? We know the feeling. If you or someone you know are missing old Norway, this bundle is guaranteed to make them smile. Our top selection of Norwegian sweets and salty snacks, including Freia, Nidar, Solo and Kims. Everything they need for some helgekos. The perfect gift.