Hernekeitto (Finnish pea soup)
Pea soup is soup made, typically, from dried peas. It is,
with variations, a part of the cuisine of many cultures. It is greyish-green or
yellow in color depending on the regional variety of peas used; all are
cultivars of Pisum sativum.
Left: Finnish Pea
As Finland was until 1809 part of the Swedish Realm, Sweden
and Finland share many cultural traditions, including that of the pea soup
(Swedish ärtsoppa; Finnish hernekeitto; Norwegian ertesuppe; Danish
ærter), usually eaten on Thursdays, served with pork and mustard and accompanied
by pancakes for dessert. However, in Finland it is made of green peas, in Sweden
yellow. The tradition of eating pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays is said to
originate in the pre-Reformation era, as preparation for fasting on Friday.
Scandinavian pea soup normally includes pieces of pork – although it may
sometimes be served on the side – and a typical recipe would also include some
onion and herbs such as thyme and marjoram. It is usually eaten with some
mustard, often accompanied by crisp bread and sometimes the sweet liquor punsch
(served hot). Mustard is an important part of the dish, but the soup is served
without it so that diners can stir it in to taste. The soup is then normally
followed by pancakes with jam (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cloudberry or
similar) which are regarded more as part of the meal than as a dessert.
Pea soup with pancakes are served every Thursday (either for lunch
or dinner) in the Swedish Armed Forces and the Finnish Defense Forces (a
tradition dating back to World War II). Pea soup is also often served to large
crowds in gatherings, simply because it is easy to make in large amounts and
most people like it to some extent. Finns learn to eat pea soup as children, as
it is a popular school food, being very cheap and easy to prepare.
For other types of pea soup see
Erwtensoep (Dutch pea soup) and
Erbsensuppe (German pea soup).