Home cooked Swedish food

Husmanskost

Husmanskost is a term commonly used term in Sweden to refer to traditional home-cooked Swedish food. It is used as an indicator of quality in much the same way as 'home cooked' food is used in the UK.

The word husmanskost stems from husman, meaning "house owner", and kost, meaning "fare". Although in theory any home cooked food could be given the label husmanskost, it is normally reserved for traditional Swedish food. It also implies the ingredients are locally sourced.

Prismas Engelska Ordbok (an English-Swedish dictionary) defines husmanskost as plain food but I think that is unfair. Dillkött (meat cooked in a creamy dill sauce) is, I think, a good example of a husmanskost dish, but I wouldn't describe it as plain food.

Most of the dishes in our Top 50 Classic Recipes are examples of husmanskost. A good example of husmanskost is köttbullar med gräddsås (meatballs with cream sauce).

With increased interest in Swedish food, many chefs are revisiting the traditional husmanskost dishes, drawing on the nostalgic affection for these dishes, but giving them a modern twist. This often involves reducing the amount of butter and cream used because, although in the old days a large fat content was included to sustain the hard labour in a cold climate, this is no longer necessary. Most modern Swedish restaurants would draw on nouvelle cuisine presentation techniques to give the dishes a lighter and more stylish appearance.

John Duxbury

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