19 Jul 2024
Hot on the porridge: The YLC guide to Swedish expressions
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Hot on the porridge: The YLC guide to Swedish expressions

Ever worried that you are too hot on the porridge or that the boiled pork is really fried? Daunted by navigating the well-filled pantry of Swedish sayings? We’re here to help! Check out part 2 of the YLC top five  Swedish expressions you may come across while in Sweden.


5. Cream on root vegetables?

When Swedes want to talk about something that really made an experience perfect, they say it was the “cream on top of the mash” (grädden på moset). No icing on cakes for these guys! However, if something is seen as being a bit too much they turn to the lighter snacks and say it’s “biscuit on the biscuit”, (kaka på kaka).


Swede 1: I am so glad we booked tickets for the ABBA museum while visiting Stockholm – it will really be the cream on the mashed potatoes!

Swede 2: Yes, I was worried  that among all the other ABBA-related tours we’re taking, it would be like biscuit on biscuit but I was wrong – lets make sure we manage a trip to IKEA as well!



4. Boiling versus frying one’s pork

When real disaster strikes, Swedes will express concern about what cooking method has been used to prepare the bacon. “Now the boiled pork is fried!” (Nu är det kokta fläsket stekt!) indicates that something’s gone terribly wrong.

Swede 1: Did you remember to pack the tickets to the ABBA museum?

Swede 2: NO! I can’t believe it! Now the boiled pork is really fried!



3. Hot fish and other buns?

So, you actually did forget to pack the tickets to the ABBA museum? In Sweden, when life is about to get difficult, one “get one’s fish hot” (få sina fiskar varma). Those really unfortunate might even get “to see other buns” (se på andra bullar) –  indicating that the kid gloves are completely off.

Swede 1: You forgot the tickets?!! Now you will get your fish hot! From now on I won’t trust you with anything, you will really get to see some other buns!

Swede 2: … (gulp)



2. Keeping your porridge the right side of cinnamon

Bumped into an Agnetha Fältskog/Björn Ulvaeus look-alike you want to get to know better, have you? It happens. Mind you don’t get too ”hot on the porridge” (het på gröten). Chances are they will just think you are well and truly ”on the cinnamon” (på kanelen).

Swede 1: Hey, Ingrid, I’ve had a few schnapps with my sill tonight –  so forgive me if I am a bit on the cinnamon – but will you come to the ABBA museum with me tomorrow so I can show you some moves?

Swede 2: You’re moving too fast Sven, don’t be too hot on the porridge, we’ve just met!  ABBA comes later! (Walks off)



1. What’s with the rhubarb?

Watch out for the Swede who offers to put rhubarb on (lägga rabarber på) any of your belongings! Of course it would be inconvenient enough if they ACTUALLY meant it in the literal sense, but it usually indicates the intention to pinch it! So beware – if you’re unprepared, he/she will con you as “easy as a small pancake” (lätt som en plätt).

Swede 1: I have misplaced my IKEA catalogue – do you mind if I put rhubarb on yours?

Swede 2: Keep your hands where I can see them, matey – you can pick a new one up as easy as a small pancake!


For further YLC guides to Swedish expressions – click here!  


Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca and YourLivingCity on Twitter!

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