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THE HOMELY FARE’S OF SWEDEN

YELLOW PEA SOUP WITH HAM
In Sweden, we have been eating Yellow pea soup since before the time of the Vikings. Yellow pea soup was especially good with the salted meat that was used during Viking times. To that, we drank a tremendous amount of beer. This meal is probably the oldest traditional meal we have today.
THURSDAY IS YELLOW PEA SOUP DAY
Yellow pea soupwas eaten by all but the people in the region up north by the Finnish border where they also had green pea soup. From the early start, the family nearly made all cooking in one pot, putting vegetables and the meat together, over open fire. When the wood fired iron stove came in the mid-19th century it changed the way of cooking in Sweden but the Yellow pea soup stays the same. The Yellow pea soup was a mix of dried yellow peas with the brew from the boiled ham; you added some onion, spices and thyme. You could either have the ham in the soup or eat it by the side, with some mustard. The Yellow pea soup was always eaten on a Thursday. The catholic fast day was on a Friday and the people wanted something good and filling the day before. The Yellow pea soup was considered a feast among the commoner’s. When we became reformed from the Catholic Church the Thursday connection became irrelevant. It become also a tradition in the better family’s to serve hot Swedish Punch (a strong liqueur with arrack) with the pea soup. With the rich trade from Indonesia and Java, we got arrack during the 18th century so this is a new tradition. It became very popular on the Swedish Universities to drink hot Punsch with Yellow pea soup. Royalties had it also as food and the history tells that a king, Erik the 14th, was killed eating Yellow pea soup
. In the SWEDISH ARMY we always, on all Thursdays, have Yellow pea soup and pancakes. It is especially good in the military because you cook large portions of pork and yellow peas during a long time.

HOW TO HAVE A FULL TRADITIONAL THURSDAY MEAL:
Yellow pea soup with pork/ham.
You can either have the pork/ham by the side on a plate were you also have some mustard. Take a small piece of ham with mustard and take some soup together with it. Mostly when people make the soup they begin with dicing the ham and mix it in the soup. On the rim of the plate you put some mustard and when you eat you take some mustard on the tip of your spoon and eat the soup.

With the Yellow pea soup is traditionally always served Swedish pancakes as dessert. To the pancakes, we have a special mix, a pancake jam. Pancakes with Lingonberries are also a possibility. The Pancakes was considered so good that even the kings ate it as is mentioned about King Gustaf 3rd in the 18th century.
The mustard to the pea soup is special mild Swedish mustard. Some of us prefer a little bit stronger but sweet mustard. You do not use the strong French type of mustard.

To drink: Beer and special occasions hot Punsch. When you heat the Punsch you put the bottle in a container with water and heat it on the stove until it is quite hot but not boiling. Keep the bottle in the water to keep it warm. The opposite way was to chill the Punsch by putting it on ice and serve it ice cold, but that is to break the tradition.

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