October 14 In Swedish History
2009: "Räkmackans dag" (the day of the shrimp sandwich) is launched at Arlanda Airport. Today the day is also celebrated at Landvetter Airport in Göteborg.
What’s important with a Swedish “räkmacka”? Well, the mayonnaise, no doubt, but most of all it has to be topped by a heap of fresh shrimp. In Sweden, the shrimp sandwich is connected to traveling, mostly traveling by sea obviously. It has always been offered onboard ferries. It was in the late 19th century that the first sandwich with “fresh shrimp from the fjords” was born in Denmark, and it is thought the delicacy came to Sweden via the ferries running between Denmark and Sweden. Later on, the sandwich made it to the airports. We have earlier reported that the popular west coast shrimp seems to be in trouble: Red listed: The West Coast shrimp among the endangered species

There’s also a saying in Sweden: “Glida runt på en räkmacka”, translated to: “gliding along on a shrimp sandwich”, which is another way of saying you have an easy life. Says Swedish archivist, trade historian, writer and TV personality Edward Blom: “At first it meant someone had it too easy. Later on it has come to mean you manage to get by without really deserving to.” Blom continues to explain that the “räkmacka” was the most luxurious item at the local café, and that it thus has become a symbol for the good life.


Open-faced sandwiches and shrimp go well together. You have heard of the traditional Toast Skagen (Recipe! ..a favorite of Swedish master painter Anders Zorn). Here, a slightly more exotic take on Skagen: 'Skagen Mix' on lobster -- all recipes at one point or another included in Nordstjernan, America's favorite Swedish newspaper.

Why not celebrate “räkmackans dag” at your own home? We found a traditional Danish recipe that serves two.

2 slices French loaf bread, ½ inch thick
lightly salted European-style butter
2 large Boston lettuce or Romaine leaves
6 ounces bay or small baby shrimp
4 Tablespoons crème fraîche or Greek-style yoghurt (although we would definitely use mayonnaise. Some say Hellman's works even better than the Swedish/Scandinavian variety, less vinegar.)
freshly ground pepper
dill sprigs
lemon wedges

Spread each bread slice with butter. Cover with a lettuce leaf. Arrange shrimp in rows on lettuce. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or yogurt (or mayo) over shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with dill sprigs and serve with a lemon wedge.
Recipe courtesy of Lynda Balslev for NPR.