«Lagom» is a Swedish word, that means ‘not too much — not too little’, ‘not too hot, not too cold‘ …or ‘just right/sufficient’. It’s a very common word.

This morning, I clicked on a link from Sweden’s official website in Facebook. The headline was «20 things to know before moving to Sweden». Still, after ten years of living abroad, I find these things interesting to read, and funny! Sometimes I discover things that I find to be very true, but that I haven’t even thought about as being a difference.

mayo_tubeOne thing, that struck me, while reading this, this morning was #5 … ‘Squeezing food out of a tube’ [To prepare you for your first visit to the cold foods section of a grocery store, understand that in Sweden, tubes are also used to package foods such as caviar, mayonnaise, mustard, and other similar condiments. At some point, you’ll probably squeeze some caviar from a tube onto half a boiled egg for breakfast.]. Until now, I’ve never thought about the fact that I don’t see mayo or mustard in tubes here! Wow! One thing though, that really has irked me, is that I can’t find tomato paste in a tube … and that I’ve thought about since almost day one. Even though the cans of tomato paste are really tiny, I rarely need a full can for whatever I’m cooking. One time, I did find tubes … that was in Quebec … but they disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

Then there’s of course #9 Lagom [There is a societal code of conduct in Sweden which really has no direct translation. Loosely translated, the word lagom means ‘just enough’, ‘in moderation’, ‘appropriate’ and other synonyms you can pull out of the dictionary. When used in reference to societal behaviour, it means blending in appropriately without extreme displays of emotion.] I knew they would bring that one up, and they explained it well. It’s very complex and, I think, deep within the genes of the Swedish people … not to stand out in any way, or brag about yourself. This is a whole, different subject — deeply affected by something called The Law of Jante — that I won’t go into today, and hopefully, it’s on its way out.

11 thoughts on “Lagom

  1. Annakarin

    Its fun to read about how we are in Sweden, its a lot of thing that are “normal” for us and very unnormal for the rest of the vorld.

    1. quackofdawn

      Yes, sometimes when I read these type of postings, I smile as I nod — so many things I’ve just taken for granted and never reflected upon before.

  2. suzink

    I just saw tomato paste in a tube not long ago. I use canned. You can scoop out tablespoons and put them in a freezer bag or a mold or ice tray. You just have to heat them up or microwave them.

  3. David Bennett

    Very interesting article. It seems to me that the worst thing about the law of Jante is that it must by its nature tend to the extreme and eventually stifle every creative endeavour.

    1. quackofdawn

      Exactly! You could hear strange conversations, like when sports reporters were interviewing a … let’s say a skier, before a race. ‘Are you aiming to win?’ Swedish skier: ‘Well, I’m happy if I’m amongst the ten best!’ (!!!) It wasn’t okay to try and be good at anything … so it’s actually baffling that we’ve had so many good sports people, and that’s just one part of it. Imagine job interviews, where they had to tell what they were good at?! They could come up with a number of negative sides about themselves, but hardly any positive … I’m still affected by this, myself.

  4. Cardinal Guzman

    Tomato paste in cans are absolutely useless! You only need a little bit: then you’ll have to deep freeze the rest of the can and then there’s a bitch getting the frozen stuff out later on… I don’t understand why they even continue selling it in cans after they invented tubes..

    Tomato paste in tubes rule!

    (but the spreadable cheese in tubes are totally disgusting and caviar is basically nothing but sugar and salt)

    1. quackofdawn

      I’d never bother with that freezing stuff … it’s not in my nature LOL …

      The spreadable cheese is yummy, and ‘kantarellost’ was one of the first I bought on my latest trip. I know, about the caviar, but when you’ve grown up with it … *shrug* …I still like it with egg 🙂


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