Smooth ride with shrimp


”As always, she came sliding in on a shrimp sandwich”, says P.

My brain immediately begins investigating all mental associations for something that makes sense. No result, but entertaining Kopfkino of our friend entering the locale on a prawn bun, decelerating softly in an elegant turn. And then of course dismounting without the slightest bit of caviar on her stilettos.

”What are you talking about? Which räkmacka?”

Swedes have a very emotional relationship with their räkmackor – shrimp sandwiches. I am not sure they are aware of this deep connection themselves, but I don’t think any of them can imagine a week without one.

There are several facebook groups for “Friends of shrimp sandwiches” or “living on shrimp sandwiches” (join here) and the connotation with “fantastic” is so strong, that Räkmacka became these people’s company name as well as a northern Swedish recruitment concept with a competition called “date your dream manager”.

Shrimp sandwiches seem to be the basic meal on every menu and I get the feeling you can judge the quality of an entire place (including the waitresses shoes and the bathroom design) by trying their räkmacka.
Google finds 14.900 räkmackor pictures in 0,4 seconds. According to SHR there are 18.987 restaurants and 2028 hotels in Sweden. Since even every villages’ obligatory pizza place tends to list one, we can assume there are 100.000 shrimp sandwiches sold even on really bad days.
If what they say is true and all the calcium goes right into the spine (I get to hear that a lot, being one of the five publicly known vegetarians), shrimp sandwiches are Sweden’s backbone.

Which explains that the expression of someone gliding around on a shrimp sandwich (glida på en räkmacka) means it is going well for the person in question. They are on a smooth ride so to say – effortlessly parking their bun next to mine, nonchalantly swinging their purse on the way out.

PS: Googling the German equivalent “Krabbenbrötchen” leads to 2480 results of the following kind.

No wonder it’s not a national dish.



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