Pea Soup & Pancake Thursday – Being Truly Swedish

When I first heard about pea soup Thursday {ärtsoppa på tordagan}, I reenacted the scene from The Exorcist where Linda Blair throws up pea soup and does the infamous 360 degree head turn.

Pea soup gave me nightmares for years.

soup + dessert = epic swedish win?
Pea soup and pancakes

And it still does, but a couple weeks ago AB and I ventured to Blooms Café at Mariatorget and took the plunge for the traditional pea soup with pancakes lunch; a cornerstone of Swedish cuisine. The girl at the register was convincing.

trying my soup…
Pea soup day!

AB is suspicious of the greenness
Tasting pea soup

The soup was delicious. Blooms used fresh green peas, instead of the typical yellow peas for the Swedish version, and blended it with some cream and spice. I think the soup could have had more cream but it was filling and perfect for a rainy day.

We then ate our pancakes, I finished all mine since I left a little soup in the bowl; maximizing real estate in my tummy is paramount when dessert is involved. They served traditional Swedish style pancakes, closely resembling French crêpes, with whipped cream and raspberry jam.

My husband, like any Swede who’s attended school, or even military training and prison, will know that on Thursdays pea soup is served as the meal of the dal. Even today at his office cafetaria, they serve peasoup with pancakes.

The tradition stems from needing a hearty meal before Friday fasting in the Catholic faith. Sweden was Catholic for a short couple hundred years following the Danish influence of dismantling the old Gods in favor of one God. In the 1500s Sweden dropped Catholism and became a Protestant, Luthern, country.

Plus the Swedish King was evidently poisoned through his pea soup. Forensic evidence done recently however has not been able confirm if he would have been able to die the residual arsenic found in the soup.

The tradition of pea soup before fasting remains ingrained in the culture today. From schools and prisons serving it, you can find the ready made yellow pea soup at the groceries in the funny sausage style tubes.

I have not had yellow pea soup but I have had dalh, Indian lentil soup, from yellow split peas. Delicious because of the garam masala, onions, and ginger. The Swedish version I hear is not as exciting.

Instead, I recommend the fresh green pea soup for your Thursday Swedish meal. It is like spring with a dash of cream. If you want the yellow pea soup, perhaps go Indian style and be sacrilegious.


The best reward of finishing pea soup means enjoy pancakes with jam and grädde. Mumms!

7 thoughts on “Pea Soup & Pancake Thursday – Being Truly Swedish”

  1. @Knitandmake – Indeed!

    @Ken – Do you like the little spoon of mustard in the soup? I’ve not tried it before but it must make yellow pea soup a bit spicy and tangy. Not sure how it would taste with green pea soup…

  2. The mustard is for if you have pork in the soup.
    If not you don’t usually have mustard in it.

    Sounds like you didn’t have pork in it.

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