Smörgåsbord IPA| [ˌsmœrɡɔsˈbuːɖ] is a Swedish word which refers to a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet-style in Swedish cuisine. In Norway it is called a koldtbord and in Denmark it is called a kolde bord. It is typically a holiday or celebratory feast at which the family and guests can help themselves to whatever takes their fancy from a range of dishes laid out for their choice. In a restaurant, the term refers to a buffet-style table laid out with many small dishes from which, for a fixed amount of money, one is allowed to choose as many as one wishes. []

A traditional Swedish "smörgåsbord" consists of both hot and cold dishes. It is customary to begin with the cold fish dishes which are generally various form of herring, salmon, eel and so forth. After eating the dishes, people usually continue with other cold dishes, and round off with hot dishes such as Swedish meatballs ("köttbullar"), and other specialties like "Janssons frestelse." Dessert may or may not be included in a smörgåsbord. []


The Swedish word "smörgåsbord" is a combination word consisting of the words "smörgås" (translated "sandwich") and "bord" (translated "table"). "Smörgås" (sandwich) in turn consists of the words "smör" (literally "butter") and "gås" (literally "goose", but in its old meaning, it's the churned butter floating on the skimmed milk).

According to a Swedish linguist, "Catharina Grünbaum" [cite web
url =
title = Varför smörgåsar och inte smörgäss?
accessdate = 2007-11-14
author = Catharina Grünbaum
date = 2006-11-27
work =
publisher = Dagens Nyheter, Kultur
language = Swedish
archiveurl =
archivedate =
quote =
] , "gås" referred to pieces of butter that formed and floated to the surface of cream when it was churned; these pieces resembled fat geese swimming to the surface. Such pieces were just the right size to be placed and flattened out on bread. "Smörgås" came to mean butter and bread together. In Sweden, the term "bredda smörgåsar" (buttered sandwiches) has been used since at least the 16th century, and nowadays refers not only to buttered bread but also buttered bread with foodstuffs between sandwiches.


Julbord is a compound word consisting of the elements "jul", meaning Yule (today synonymous with Christmas) and "bord", literally table. The classic Swedish "julbord" is the traditional "smörgåsbord" served from the beginning of December until just before Christmas in homes and at restaurants. A traditional "julbord" is typically eaten in three courses. The first course consists of the cured salmon, pickled herring and eel served in a variety of sauces. It is customary to eat particular foods together to ensure the appropriate combination of taste and textures. For example, herring is typically eaten with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs and is frequently accompanied by a snaps of vodka with or without spice.

The second course of a selection consists of cold sliced meats, such as roast beef, and "julskinka" (Christmas ham). Sliced Cheese, cucumbers and liver pate are often eaten on top of hard bread.

The third course of hot dishes include "köttbullar" (Swedish meatballs), "prinskorv" (small sausages), "kåldolmar" (meat stuffed cabbage rolls), jellied pigs' feet, lutfisk (a reconstituted dried cod served with thick white sauce), "revbenspjäll" (oven-roasted pork ribs), and "Janssons frestelse" (literally "Jansson's Temptation", a baked dish of matchstick potatoes layered with cream, onion and sprats). Side dishes include beetroot salad and warm stewed red cabbage.

Julbord desserts include "risgrynsgröt", rice porridge sprinkled with cinnamon powder. [] Traditionally, an almond is hidden in the bowl of rice porridge and whoever finds it receives a small prize or is recognized for having good luck. There is also a traditional saying that the one who gets the almond will get married within a year.Fact|date=November 2007

Use of the term in English

In English, the word "smörgåsbord" (or often "smorgasbord") refers loosely to any buffet with a variety of dishes — not necessarily with any connection to the Swedish traditions discussed in this article. In an extended sense, the word is used to refer to any situation which invites patrons to select whatever they wish among several pleasant things, such as the smorgasbord of university courses, books in a bookstore, etc. It is also used as a metaphor to indicate any diverse group, synonymous with hodge-podge.Fact|date=November 2007

In Australia, the word "smorgasbord" is often used for any form of buffet, including the noted Australian Buffet. Smorgasbords are very popular at privately hosted parties.

In Canada, "Chinese smorgasbord" is a buffet style used for Canadian Chinese cuisine. This tradition dates back to Gastown, British Columbia, which later became Vancouver, when Scandinavian-immigrant mill workers and loggers encouraged their Chinese cooks to arrange Chinese food as it was done in their homelands.Fact|date=August 2007

ee also

* Buffet
* Janssons frestelse
* Cuisine of Sweden


External links

* [ The essential Julbord from Radio Sweden including recipes]
* [ History of Smörgåsbord, Smörgåsbord table setting and etiquette]

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