#SwedenGate: Swedish people don’t feed guests, especially their kids’ friends

It started over the weekend, and it was a refreshingly wholesome “controversy” about cultural differences. The controversy? Apparently, in Sweden, if your kid goes to play at a friend’s house, his friend’s family will not feed your child. In fact, the Swedish family will eat dinner and your child is just expected to play quietly away from everyone. This is apparently some kind of Nordic tradition, and it’s… um, considered really weird to most other cultures. Including mine! My Indian father loved feeding my friends. The number of times he would stir-fry shrimp for my friends “as a snack” is pretty remarkable. I would assume most Americans are like that too, culturally – parents have snacks for their kids’ friends, and everyone is welcome for dinner. This is not the way for Sweden. Some Swedish person wrote a column for the Independent about the controversy:

I was laughing when I checked Twitter and saw that #Swedengate was trending. All this fuss because of the revelation that Swedish people don’t – as a rule – serve food to guests (particularly to other children who are playing at their houses). It’s true, but what’s more confusing to me is why that’s even a problem.

As a child growing up in Gothenburg, I remember not really caring at all that I wasn’t being fed – I just continued playing and had a nice, quiet time while the other family had their dinner. It was usually just a quick “pause”; probably because they didn’t want to mess up my family’s plans.

The Swedish thinking goes like this: the other child (or the other family) may have plans for another kind of dinner, and you wouldn’t want to ruin the routine or preparations. I don’t think it is anything to do with not wanting to feed the other child or because it costs money or anything like that, it’s more to do with tradition and wanting to eat with your own family.

It would be different if you were actually invited over as a proper “playdate”, like people do more commonly here in the UK, but that wasn’t usually the case. We didn’t really have the same kind of formally arranged invitations. I think in many ways, Sweden is more of a free society than the UK. Children are allowed to run around more freely there, so they would usually just knock on the door and ask if they can come in and play – and obviously, you don’t “plan” how many children would be at your house in that instance. It would be a complete surprise. The parents wouldn’t be included usually, they wouldn’t come over to your house or expect to be catered for.

If you do have a planned playdate, of course, it’s different. Or, if the children are really young, then it’s a different story and you’d have a plan for people (their parents) to come over and eat. That would work the same way as it does in Britain.

Times have changed, too – today, it’s a different story. In Sweden now, if you have one child who comes over, they would likely get food as well. It’s not so much the way it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago, when I was growing up. But even then, it really wasn’t the “big deal” people on Twitter are making it sound like it was. Everyone did it. You just continued playing with dolls (or whatever it was) while your friend ate with their mum and dad.

[From The Independent]

Yeah, I’m probably the same age as this Swede, and back then, we didn’t have playdates either and nothing was formal. Now, do I have many memories of being fed at other people’s houses? No. Because my house was the one where kids would be fed. My parents were the ones who always had snacks and there was always enough food if a friend wanted to stay for dinner. Even more than that, friends were always invited for dinner!

Photos of Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgard, courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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208 Responses to “#SwedenGate: Swedish people don’t feed guests, especially their kids’ friends”

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  1. J. Ferber says:

    Skip the food stuff. Alexander is divine. That’s what we need to be focusing on.

  2. OriginalLaLa says:

    I’m Italian, we feed anyone who walks into the house, regardless of if they want to be fed lol.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      My Greek side does this. Food is constantly in your face every 10 minutes for maybe a few hours.

      • Jan90067 says:

        We’re Jewish. We practically meet you at the door with food. You are *immediately* asked if you’d like something to drink, or a nosh lol. And of *course* you feed EVERYONE in the house. ALWAYS lol

        I don’t *ever* remember my mom not putting out snacks for any kid who came over to play, invited or one who just knocked on the door (which we did, too, when I was a kid. You just went over and asked if *** could come and play. Whosever house you were at (or nearest to) when lunchtime came fed the gang. If it was near dinner, you either went home, or were asked to join (after calling your home and getting the ok to stay). If parents picked you up and came to the door, the “hosting” parent almost always asked that parent in for a drink “while the kids cleaned up”. If not, they honked and you ran out (or ran home).

        ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. How hard is it to toss a kid a cookie?? Lol

      • MeganC says:

        I’m Lebanese/Italian and my husband is Greek. Don’t even think about coming to our house and not eating. We simply won’t allow it.

      • Jessica says:

        Yes Greeks are crazy about their food! I went over to my friends house like a day after having my wisdom teeth pulled and her dad made a huge meal and was so mad when I couldn’t eat. He told me I could work in the yard until I was hungry! 😂 My friend explained I couldn’t eat because of surgery so he offered me wine instead…I was 15. Love the Greek.

      • Eurydice says:

        Yes, not offering food in a Greek house is practically a sin. Zeus is the God of Hospitality and will strike you down for being a bad host. (He will also strike you down for being a bad guest, like showing up empty-handed or stealing the host’s wife…)

    • LadyMTL says:

      Arab woman here, and every strand of my DNA is rebelling at the idea of not offering anything to eat / drink. Heck, I had a repairman over to fix my fridge about 2 weeks ago, and I even offered him water because it was hot outside.

      I obv understand that different cultures have their own ‘rules’ but yeah, I am also kind of baffled lol.

      • MMC says:

        In Croatia if you have repairmen over it’s quite common to provide them with lunch. For free of course.
        And in the olden days you also bought them beer.

      • HufflepuffLizLemon says:

        I fed my cable repairman fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a biscuit. I was really happy to have internet and he was really happy to have a moment and eat a meal. I wasn’t cooking FOR him, but I had plenty, so why not share (if they want it)? Everyone wins!

      • FHMom says:

        I’m Arabic (and Italian) and it would be an INSULT to not accept food when it’s offered, and it’s offered the moment you enter a house. I remember picking up my mom in a snow storm at a cousin’s (like 4th or 5th cousin) house and them INSISTING I eat when I rang the doorbell to pick her up. Someone was actually pulling off my coat. It was hysterical in hindsight, but annoying at the time because I hate driving in the snow.

      • Juniper says:

        I’m Lebanese and Polish. Food was our love language. When I first got my house and had workers over to do my flooring. I gave them coffee and donuts. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do that. My grandmothers were always pushing food. This is crazy to me.

    • TOM says:

      Married to a proud Swedish-American for going on 34 years. Just try to leave our house or any of his relatives’ houses without having at least coffee and cookies!

    • Lady Luna says:

      Yes! My Mexican grandma would turn in her grave if we acted like this.

    • WestCoastBestCoast says:

      My mom is Ukrainian; the running joke in my family is that she doesn’t say “I love you”, she says “eat”. Even my ex used to complain (quietly) that he can’t eat any more and he used to eat a pound of pasta in one sitting as a teen.

      • liz says:

        That was my Hungarian Jewish grandmother! I don’t ever remember her telling us that she loved us, but she knew all of our favorite foods and always had them for us. Food was most definitely her love language. No one ever left her home hungry.

        I can’t imagine not offering food or drink to someone who comes into my home. Repair people are always offered a glass of water or lemonade when they come in. There is a supply of snack food in the kitchen if Kiddo’s friends come over from school. I can always find a way to stretch a meal if someone is still with us when it is approaching dinner time (and if I don’t have leftovers for lunch the next day, oh well).

      • JRT says:

        My Dad’s side of the family is Ukrainian and that was the standard as soon as you walked into the farm house. My Baba would be asking if you ate and then listing all the food she had to give. Always, ‘Eat, eat, eat!’ No one ever left that house hungry!

    • Carrot says:

      @OriginalLaLa, can attest, if Italians (and I mean complete strangers) think you look too thin, someone will offer you food or try to drag you to their kitchen!

    • Esmerelda says:

      Italian too – please for the love of all that’s holy, accept at least a glass of water. Better if you accept a coffee too. And some biscuits. Or an aperitivo. And some olives. And won’t you try the anchovies? A little bruschetta, with tomatoes from my garden. And do try the wine, my cousin makes it. But really, won’t you stay for dinner?
      And if you’re a kid who’s around for lunch or dinner time, it’s no trouble to phone your parents and assure them we’re happy to have you (i.e. feed you), really ma’am, delighted – this applies even if the hosting family is planning to dine out.

    • Nikki says:

      Southerner here, and hospitality dictates I offer ANYONE who pops by iced tea (sweet or unsweetened) and preferably also some kind of snack at LEAST. I’ve taken to always having a bottle of chilled Bellini for my “porch swing” friends!

  3. Michelle says:

    Canadian here. I recall dropping in on friends and being told explicitly by parents “come on in but we’re not going to feed you”. From what was described above, I can understand how this is due to drop ins and no planned playdates, and it felt completely normal then and now.

    • amanda says:

      I would play with other kids on our street and we chose where we ate based on what our parents were making for dinner. I’m also in Canada.

    • ME says:

      I grew up in Canada. We would play a game “what’s in your fridge” just to find out who had the good snacks/popsicles. We fed whomever came to our house (if they wanted food). This was in the 80s/90s when we didn’t even know about food allergies. It is different now. I can understand parents being more cautious feeding a kid if they haven’t talked to their parents about potential allergies first.

      I’m not gonna knock the Swedish culture. They do things how they do things. As an Indian, we would be insulted if someone didn’t want to eat lol. We also took our shoes off in the house and expected guests to do the same. I had non-Indian friends who were allowed to wear their shows in their house. It felt so weird to me walking around their house with my shoes on !

    • rawiya says:

      Canadian here and I have never experienced this. Growing up, all my friends’ parents would offer me dinner if I were there at meal time. Summer mealtime was like @amanda describes! I grew up in a survey, so parents got smart and would just start rotating Friday night pizza, so that one parent wasn’t always feeding 80992829 kids.

      • DM2 says:

        Absolutely. Being from the Maritimes, you feed your guests before yourself, and you’d give them the last morsel you might have. Even the quick pop-ins get the kettle on and the plate of sweets! Unheard of not to do otherwise, and the same as when we were kids…always with the other parents’ permission, of course. And then turnabout was always fair play.

      • Rachel says:

        Also a Canadian Maritimer! This is bizarre! I grew up in the 80’s and was fed everywhere I went. But I would rather eat my Mom’s food! She was an amazing cook! lol And you would not come to my house then or now without being offered a hot drink or booze, depending on the time of day!

      • SIde Eye says:

        Canadian here and French and we fed all of my friends and they fed me. Good luck walking into my mom’s house without being offered food or drink every 12 seconds. If you say no to a drink of water it’s are you sure? I have (fill in a drink she didn’t say before like oh I forgot I have lemonade! Surely you want lemonade on a hot day? No? Oh I have ice tea, you really need to try it! It’s raspberry flavored!) Finally you just break down and drink and eat something even though you are not hungry or thirsty. Otherwise it continues the entire time you’re there! That lady will wear you down. You aren’t leaving without eating. Don’t even think that’s an option.

    • Sarah says:

      I love that the Maritimes are showing up for this! I can’t imagine not offering food, it really is how we express love

    • Fabiola says:

      The article is referring to kids that just drop in unannounced to play for a bit with other kids not a scheduled play date. If the kid is only there for half an hour why would you have to cook them a meal? How do you know that their parents would even want you to provide lunch or dinner for them? Some kids have a dietary restrictions that they may not be aware of. Also, people are assuming that everyone has extra food to go around. Some families can barely feed themselves.

      • Sofia says:

        I live in Germany and a few years back there was a twitter trend where Germans with a Turkish background mocked the Germans for this as well. In Germany, dinner is often the only time during the week that the „core family“ spends together. So friends can be invited over for dinner, cleared with their parents of course, but if that was not the case it would be assumed the kid in question is expected for dinner by its own parents. Snacks might be something else, but yes you would not just ask a kid to stay for dinner without clearing it with his/her parents. And at times you would send them home, because dinner is family end of the day time and no longer play date with friends time. Again this does not mean other kids will not be invited for dinner, you would just not necessarily just feed them dinner without arranging with the parents first.

      • Eurydice says:

        Well, it’s also saying that the family eats while the child guest sits apart and waits for them to finish. If you’re not going to feed the child, then send it home to its family before you start eating.

  4. GoldenMom says:

    Any excuse for pics of this Swedish tall drink of water…..thank you!

  5. Merricat says:

    Lol, we were taught to never eat in front of someone without offering to share. Takes all sorts.

  6. ChillinginDC says:

    this was the craziest mess I have ever read. And the fact that you need to bring sheets/blankets to houses? WTF LOL

    • Fredegunda says:

      I live in Scandinavia but didn’t grow up here. I thought the sheets thing was weird at first, but later realized that it should be viewed through a different lens. It’s not that hosts are unreasonable or stingy, it’s that you as a guest are helping out your host so they don’t need to launder bedding after one use.

  7. HeyKay says:

    Just stopped by to comment that AS looks good it the dark suit. 😀
    Reading this tho, reminds me that I’m old. lol
    At 60 so much has changed from my childhood days. We were simply told “time for you to go home, you folks must be waiting dinner on you” no biggie.

    Then of course, us kids had Gramma R, a women who raised 12 kids on the family farm and seemed to cook and bake 24/7 even into her 90’s. Nobody visited her w/o being fed! 😀

    • I am turning 47 this autumn,from the Midwest and have Swedish heritage. I lived there for a time too. I know nothing of this culture of “not feeding “the children in any Swedish home.

      However,when I was young we would play at somebody’s home(in the Midwest) and often be told they were having dinner.Sometimes that meant to go home and stay,sometimes that meant you could come back when dining was through.

      I believe this is/was simply done as a cultural thing that was about” dinner is family time”…My parents would never have not fed a guest,especially a child,but an actual invitation to stay for dinner was what my family considered respectful.

      I will feed anyone,just saying I remember the days of dinner being more formal and I think that plays into much of this debate.

  8. Concern Fae says:

    I kind of laughed over this. There are places in the Midwest where this still holds. My family went to a friends cabin on a fancy lake in Wisconsin. If you went to lunch at one of these mansions, you brought your own food with you. These were mansion level houses! It’s just a matter of expectations.

    I could make some religious observations about certain forms of Protestantism, but I won’t.

    • carla says:

      please, make someone religious observations. I think, i might have the same thoughts but can not write them in English. as a raised catholic south European i can tell, that my family was always skeptical about those north European protestants…

    • FHMom says:

      Is this cultural or were those people just cheap? I’m thinking cheap.

      • Kaykay says:

        I think it started out as cheap, from a time way back then when food was sparse and you couldn’t grow crops all year around. You had to count every potato so it was natural for each family to care for their own.

        This later became a cultural phenomenon and something accepted as normal by all within that society.

    • Kristin says:

      Yeah, this doesn’t sound cultural to me so much as just maybe cheap? I’m from southern Illinois (currently live in a Chicago suburb) and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t immediately set another plate for lunch or dinner even when the guest stopped by unannounced. Growing up, my mom was the mom who always had home-baked pies and cakes and stocked potato chips so all my brother’s and my friends (and random neighborhood kids lol) always congregated at our house to play and snack, and they were always welcome to stay for dinner. And my extended family and in-laws are the same. So yeah, as someone who grew up in the Midwest and returned after a stint on the East Coast, your friend’s experience in Wisconsin seems very foreign and isolated to me.

  9. Colby says:

    I also saw it described as not wanting to insult your visitors by offering them “charity.” Somehow offering visitors food implies they cannot feed themselves or that you are of a higher class than them.

    • LIONE says:

      Ah, that makes sense! Interesting way of looking at it.
      Would never fly where I come from, but this goes to show how cultural conditioning on food and visiting someone’s home differs in the world.

  10. Asking for a Friend says:

    After the feeding guests debate, the sheets tweet and comments killed me! It’s culturally interesting but also amusing to this American introvert. My bf is second generation from Sweden and when I asked him about it he just said – Swedes are weird.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      This is purely anecdotal – but I have been fed as a guest in Swedish homes and I’ve never had to bring my own sheets either. BTW, I’m Danish – and I’ve never experienced anything similar in my home country.

  11. Wiglet Watcher says:

    I’ve already been exposed to this. It’s normal. It’s never done in an insulting way and I think proper context goes a long way in how this isn’t offensive.

    I personally like this. You’re not imposing on your host and you’ll never be seen as a burden or having your presence associated with a disruption in your hosts day to day.

    • Lemon says:

      For kids wandering around and playing at other’s houses, it’s great. I had a childhood like that with a gang of neighbors and we weren’t allowed inside some houses (!) but welcome to play in yards all we wanted. Then you go home for dinner.

      • SpankyB says:

        Exactly. And food wasn’t part of any play. I don’t remember “snacks” being that important. We played, we went home for dinner. In the summer we did our chores, went out and played all day, went home for dinner.

      • Yes!I too recall not being allowed into someone’s house unless absolutely invited inside.It was just a thing…kids played in the yard,and you asked permission to enter the home of someone if you had to use the bathroom or something.

      • kgeo says:

        This is how it is for us. At any given time there might be 5 children that aren’t ours in our yard. I rarely let them in my house, and send them home for dinner unless it’s a pizza kind of night. They’re usually here because we have a trampoline and one of the most level yards in the neighborhood. Also, this food being a love language thing. I don’t know, sometimes I eat something out of the freezer, sometimes it’s a full on smorgasborg, but my life doesn’t revolve around eating. It’s gardening, playing, hiking, and learning, and that does involve cooking, but it’s not everything. However, they always know where to find an ice cream or push pop thing. Otherwise, go home.

      • Che Che says:

        I really miss seeing kids just hanging out and playing outside. I didn’t realize how many kids were in my neighborhood until covid quarantines. With everyone at home, everyday at about 11AM the streets were full of kids roaming from yard to yard. Just remembering those joyful sounds makes me think the lockdown gave some kids a chance to just chill in their community. I called the street play” homeschool recess.” Getting back to the food issue some parents passed out snacks(all prepackaged).

  12. MMC says:

    Being from the Balkans, even the notion of bringing your own food to a gathering, or even splitting the bill in a restaurant is weird. If someone is even in the vicinity of your house you feed them. A lot. Even if they don’t want to. So this sounds incredibly strange.
    But cultures be cultures, something that would be incredibly rude in one place is normal in another.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Splitting the bill IS weird! I never got settled with that. In my state it’s actually common for couples on dates to be billed separately.

      • Mmc says:

        It’s a bit more common now with younger generations, but usually whoever did the inviting does the paying. And not just couples, even friends and colleagues don’t split the bill.

    • LIONE says:

      I’m originally Greek-Italian and almost stopped visiting some of my family and friends because I just couldn’t take being force fed every time, haha!
      Happened in the north of Norway also, people there were incredibly welcoming and expected you to eat with them at dinner or whenever you came around.
      Food is LOVE.

      • Ash says:

        Yeah, being forced to eat is not fun, and it’s more weird when people proudly say “we’ll make you eat whether you want to or not!!”

        Food is not “love”

    • Mimi says:

      I think this depends on the generation. Young people (20s) in the Balkans do very much split the bill and actually everyone pays for themselves, especially in big cities. If someone is celebrating their birthday or wedding and you come as an invited guest then of course not, but if you’re just meeting friends for drinks or dinner then yes everyone will pay for their own order. Nobody has that much money to be able to suddenly pay for a lot of people every time they go out, lol. It’s a different era.

  13. Hootenannie says:

    I live in the U.S., and my nephew just turned four. When there are play dates at my sister’s house, she’ll make snacks like cut up apples and cheese or have goldfish or yogurt, etc. She was amazed by how many parents (ones whose kids had not come over before) were very strict about what their kids could and could not eat and brought it up out of nowhere but also didn’t actually bring any food. I understand not wanting your kid to have an allergic reaction, but it’s kind of presumptuous to say my child doesn’t eat gluten and doesn’t like peanuts and doesn’t like these fruits, while expecting the host to have anticipated this. When adults have dietary restrictions/allergies, they handle it. They should do the same for their children.

    • Sam K says:

      Hello Pakistani British lady here.
      Food and hospitality is a BIG deal in my culture, we make huge amounts of food, so if someone pops round out of the blue, there’s no need to panic and there’s always some left over for the next day too.
      Food is served in huge platters and bowls, so visitors/ guests can help themselves. We don’t decide portion size either.
      We don’t do just tea and biscuits! If you come round to my house, there will be at least 5 cooked dishes on the coffee table, which is a huge square one, a small coffee table is a NO in a Pakistani home.
      If you come round for dinner, you will have at least 10 dishes to choose from and if it’s a party… easily 20-25.
      I keep the freezer stocked with samosas, rolls, kebabs so it’s easy to rustle up a little something even if it’s just family.
      Culturally we don’t ask if a guest would like food / drink as they might be shy and decline, even if they are hungry. We just serve the food and insist they eat.
      If I have a lot of food left over, I pack some for everybody to take home, so always keep disposable boxes in the cupboard.
      From my experience, the Arabs are also very generous and hospitable.
      I find the English to be like the Swedish people too. I’ve been into English homes where I wasn’t even offered a glass of water.

  14. Concern Fae says:

    I will say, I have some Swedish friends. A friend was visiting her son stationed in Germany and went to stay with them. It turns out that Swedish apartments tend to be small, so the building has a guest room you can put people up in if they come to stay. You had to provide the sheets, of course, but I though that was really cool.

    • Duch says:

      Bring sheets “of course”? I don’t get this one – never heard of this before and have traveled some in Scandinavia.

  15. AnneL says:

    When I grew up, the whole playing set-up was also much more informal. You usually just knocked on the door of a neighbor or cycled a few blocks (or more) to their house. If you had been invited to spend the night and that invite was parent sanctioned (as it was when you around 13 and younger), then sure, they fed you. Otherwise, while you might be offered a snack sometimes, dinner was usually off the table, so to speak.

    With my kids, we generally had snacks for when their friends came over. For a long while we were “the” house to visit because we had the best swing (my kids weren’t bad either, lol), so I had popsicles and cheese sticks etc. I wouldn’t feed all the neighbors’ kids dinner, though. I didn’t have the space and I shopped for a family of four, not a family of eight. I would also take carloads of kids to the movies, and for those occasions, I bought candy at the 99 Cent Store and snuck it in. I wasn’t going to shell out $30 for snacks.

    I don’t find this terribly weird. All cultures are different about food.

    • Southern Fried says:

      Freeze pops. Our answer to treating the neighborhood kids when they came to play. Even cheaper than popsicles. Summer $1 movies, oh yeah, load up the car and drop them off. Older kids did a great job overseeing the youngers.

    • kirk says:

      Context and the times matter. Where I grew up in small town US in the 60s, our group of friends was always at each other’s houses or out rambling through the back 40, so parents weren’t pressing food on us. Likewise when I was a teen taking care of my sister’s three kids in the summertime, the entire long block of kids were always at our place. Were the other parents taking advantage of my sister’s babysitter? Probably. I rarely, if ever, fed the neighborhood because my sister couldn’t afford it. Some kids grew up in closer neighborhoods and basically just ran through all the yards on a regular basis. Playdates – what are those? Sports were disorganized with ad hoc teams. Of course things had changed by the time I had kids: organized sports with rotating assignments for parents to bring food; playdate appointments to accommodate working parents or regularly scheduled scout meetings.

  16. LIONE says:

    Yeah, it happens, but it’s not the norm!
    Maybe it’s a rich Swedish thing?

    I lived in 2 different Nordic countries growing up and experienced the opposite thing. I would be forced to eat dinner with my friends family’s even when I had just had dinner and came around to just hang out.
    EXCEPT for a few times when I visited my rich Nordic friends house, then I used to sit in his room waiting for them to eat dinner. They never invited me. And I was about 9 or 10.

    They weren’t very welcoming or warm in the first place, so Idk.

    • Colby says:

      I read it explained as not waiting to insult people by offering charity or implying you are in a class above them. So maybe you’re on to something! The rich people didn’t want to insult your family perhaps?

  17. Alma says:

    It’s so funny how people are coming for Sweden when this also happens in other scandinavien countries! I’m 26 and of african decent but was born and raised in Denmark and I experienced this when I was a kid and it so awkward to get “kicked out”or expected to “wait” in your friends bedroom while they had family dinner. My brother experienced it too and his white Danish girlfriend experienced it also. My brother’s girlfriend once told me this story and it so weird! In Denmark we have a thing called “Fredagsslik” which is when kids are allowed to get candy on fridays and she was invited home to a friend on a friday and that friends family had a cabinet filled with candy but the parent only shared the candy with her own kids and my brother’s gf a child then had to bring her own candy!!

  18. TL says:

    I appreciate the pictures accompanying this article. Thank you

  19. Still In My Robf says:

    When I was a kid and playing with other kids was far more informal, we were just sent home at dinner time. Sitting down for a meal with the family was never offered unless that had been pre-arranged in advance. But hearty snacks were offered in abundance. My friends still laugh about my mom offering to make them “a quick hamburger,” as if that was typical snack fare.

    I do get grumpy, though, sometimes about the expectation to feed other kids who show up to play. Awesome that you’ve come to play, kid. Have fun, but I am in the middle of my work day. Do not come tell me you are hungry within 5 minutes of arriving and every 10 minutes thereafter. You live 4 houses down. Go there for food. (And, no, can confirm the family is not food insecure, etc.)

    • equality says:

      Sometimes children try that on because parents don’t allow them to have certain snack foods or sodas so they try to get them elsewhere.

  20. Mich says:

    I’m American and my best friend’s parents never (ever) fed me. I’m the stereotypical GenX latchkey kid with a workaholic single mother so I would be at their house a LOT. When dinner time came, I watched TV in the living room while they ate. Their dinners were uncomfortable so I don’t remember feeling deprived. I mentioned it to my friend not too long ago and she was horrified. Neither of us thought anything about it back then though. As parents ourselves, we definitely fed our children’s friends!

    Far more unsettling is that they (and my mother) would let me walk the mile plus home by myself, including long after the sun had gone down in the winter. This was way before cellphones. I was walking home to an empty house and literally no one would have known for hours if anything had ever happened to me. Different times.

    • equality says:

      Yeah, that’s what struck me-children being allowed to wander around with family not knowing where they were for hours. We could when we were children out in the country but things are different now.

      • Becks1 says:

        Different in terms of society’s take on risk and what we deem acceptable, but not different in terms of actual safety.

      • equality says:

        I think that depends somewhat on where you live. We lived in the country where we knew the limited number of neighbors but we were mostly on our own farm when wandering. Of course, there are hazards on farms also.

  21. Bettyrose says:

    Did everyone else know that Lynda Carter is Latina? I love her tweet.

  22. Gil says:

    I missed the #swedengate on Twitter but what on earth is this thing of not feeding guest? I am Mexican and we would feed anyone coming to our house specially children. Last time I was in Mexico I had lunch three times because I made the “mistake” of visiting all my grandma sisters them same day.

    • AnneL says:

      My son spent a summer term in Mexico during college and he lived with a family there. He said his Mexican “mother” made him three hot meals a day. I could never compete with that, lol. I always got in trouble with my kids because I didn’t have a fridge and freezer stacked with food. I always had ENOUGH. They got three meals (not all hot, sandwiches are fine for lunch) and an afternoon snack. I grew up in a house with a diabetic sibling, and we just didn’t have sugary junk food or much junk/snack food at all. If you wanted a snack half an hour before dinner, the answer was no.

      I don’t see the benefit of letting kids – your own or anyone else’s – just graze on an endless supply of snacks, frozen pizzas, whatever. I feel like my parents taught us disciplined eating, not disordered eating. You ate regularly and when you were hungry. I feel like there is too much pressure these days to bring snacks or have snacks at every single event and to always have them at the ready.

      • Fabiola says:

        I keep enough snacks around for my son only. I don’t like to waste food or store a bunch of food just in case someone might drop by unannounced. People nowadays barely have any time to cool. After work I barely have time to cook my son his dinner. I don’t have time or the energy to cook extra for just in case guests. The price of food is also very expensive now so why do people expect that it should be given away? If a kid wants to drop in and play thru should have been taught manners to leave by dinner time. I have a husband but I can’t even imagine the stress on a single parent having to do it all and then expect to cook extra for uninvited guests and the extra costs. Some people are barely getting by. I’m sick of this food equals love culture. Just because people don’t have time or the money to make massive meals for everyone that drops by doesn’t make them less of a person.

  23. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m from the Jurassic period and yes, true, there were planned dinners, sleepovers, what have you, but more often than not, we simply ended up at someone’s house early evening. What normality transpired is the mom asking me to call my mom to make sure I can stay for dinner or if I had to go home. I was everywhere all the time growing up, and I was always fed. Homemade tortillas atw!

  24. LIONE says:


    I agree!
    It’s exhausting to be forced fed. I’ve had a lot of gut issues in my life and had to be the “rude one” and turn down food. It’s so exhausting when people don’t respect your “no, thank you” and keep pushing.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      My mom thinks “No, thank you” is just a polite way of saying “please shove food in my face” and cannot understand that sometimes people just don’t want to eat. Especially if you weren’t specifically invited over for a meal.

  25. Becks1 says:

    First, I like how the person in the article is describing how Swedish children play without scheduled playdates etc and then says well its not really the way it was 20, 30, 40 years ago lol.

    If its the cultural norm and expectation then it means everyone is on the same page so its not rude. But i can’t imagine at least offering, and if the child didn’t want to eat just letting them sit at the table while we did.

    anyway, so my kids are 10 and 7 and we don’t really have scheduled playdates either. I mean someone has to arrange transportation if they’re going to a house where we need to drive them but its usually like “hey does X want to play with Y on Saturday? 2 oclock work for you guys?” And the parents never stay at this age. I think that was probably more common when the kids were really little if there was a SAHP (I always worked outside the home full time, so I wasn’t going to playdates during the week, you know?)

    I just like how this person is all “things in Sweden are so different” and then says “well with little kids it would be the same. and if its a planned playdate it would be the same. and things have changed in sweden anyway so its more like the UK.”

    Like don’t compare your childhood in Sweden to what the current norm is in the UK, you know?

  26. Kat says:

    I’m not surprised. I learned years ago, to my surprise, that you’re supposed to bring your own alcoholic beverages to parties in Norway, which was totally alien to me. So I’m not surprised by the not feeding kids policy.

    • Elizabeth says:

      That’s not bad. We always bring beer, wine, or something with us when we go to another house or to a party.

    • Becks1 says:

      We always do this lol. If we go to a party or someone’s house to hang out we bring our own alcohol. If we have people over we do have some alcohol for them (or maybe the fixings for a special mixed drink or something) but they also bring their own. honestly it just makes it more affordable all around lol.

    • Normades says:

      Booze is really, really expensive in Nordic countries, so that makes total sense. I’ve been on the ferry going from Sweden to Finland. They make the trip just to buy booze and it is a hot mess.

      • Kat says:

        Yeah, it’s crazy expensive there and understandable. But what I’m talking about is not like bringing a gift for the hosts. Everyone just brings their own booze and then drinks that, without sharing with anyone else. At least that’s what the young people did back then at house parties/birthdays etc. Maybe it’s different for a formal dinner party.

      • Normades says:

        No I get what you’re saying, in that case get flowers. When I was there *many* years ago a six pack was like 15 bucks. It was byob and sorry I was on a budget and wasn’t going to share with anyone (and no one expected me too either!).

        That said, it really wasn’t a drinking culture like mainland Europe. This food thing is probably the same thing.

      • Fredegunda says:

        The BYOB thing for house parties and student birthdays is still a thing. Alcohol is crazy expensive and people often drink the highest proofs at the cheapest price point with the express intention of getting drunk.

        For a dinner party, I would take fancy chocolates or flowers. Ironically, they would probably cost the same or more as a cheap bottle of wine.

    • Ange says:

      That’s common in Australia too. Makes sense to me, bring what you like and enjoy it rather than make your host try to figure out what to buy that will appeal to everyone. We supply some when we host but it’s rarely taken as everyone is already stocked up. Alcohol is also pretty expensive here FWIW.

    • Kaykay says:

      You’ve never heard of BYOB?
      I currently live in the US and it’s very common that it says BOYB on the invitation, unless it’s something formal.

  27. Likeyoucare says:

    I dont have to plan on a play date as i live in the country side. Our neighbours are within walking distance.

    We know when it is time for dinner or lunch, we need to go back to our house or our mom will whoop our ass if we not at the kitchen table at that time.

    So no meal at friend’s house unless the mother has to ask for permission that the children can eat at their house from the other mother.

  28. Cee says:

    LOL I am from Argentina, where everyone and their mother are fed the moment they step into someone’s home, so #SwedenGate was so disconcerting to me. Like, this is your child’s friend, why can’t you feed him?

  29. A Swede says:

    It’s a cultural norm in Sweden and completely normal to us and nothing bad at all. It’s taken WAY out of context and seeing Americans go mad over a foreign culture that has nothing to do with them is crazy. It’s none of your business! In Sweden family dinner is very important, so is meal planning. I live in northern Sweden and a trip to the grocery store takes time, we shop once a week and carefully plan 7 meals and can’t afford having 5 kids over every day. It’s also considered rude to feed someone elses child without asking and just take away an important family dinner that is being prepard by hardworking parents at their own home. Beside all of this, I was more often than not offered dinner at my friends place so it’s a fine line, but my friends parents ALWAYS said they wanted to call my mom and ask if it was OK because like I said… The parents are thinking of the other parents who are preparing dinner and want their child to come home. I even had friends over as a child who was offered dinner and called home to ask their parents for permission but was told no because they wanted their child to have family dinner at home at a specific time. We often bring our own towels or pillows etc when we are visiting someone because it’s considered a polite thing to do. I hate it when people judge other cultures because YOU find it weird. Trust me, I like a lot of things about Americans BUT I also think a lot of stuff Americans are doing is crazy and insane but I would NEVER think of having any moral right to tell them what they should or should not do. It comes off as extremely superior. Respect other countries cultures, even if it’s different from yours. That’s how my mother raised me. Also why do people even care? It’s not your culture anyway and on the other side of the globe.

    • Zantasia says:

      This confirms what I was thinking. I assumed it was about a cultural value of conservation and avoiding wasting resources. Swedes are known for excellent recycling practices, so it follows that a value of conserving resources would include only making/having enough for your family and thereby avoiding throwing out food.

    • Mira says:

      I’m American, and so is my husband, but his extended family is Swedish. I send the #Swedengate articles to him and we both had a laugh because it’s such a silly controversy. I always felt it was worse to be force-fed by friends’ families growing up, particularly when they’d get mad if I wasn’t interested in eating their food; they took it as an insult, even if I knew it would cause stomach issues (I later found out I’m lactose intolerant). I would rather have been left out of dinner than forced to eat—sometimes too early in the day—a meal that would make me sick later. Ultimately, every family, regardless of culture, handles feeding guests differently; food allergies, differing mealtimes, budgets, the parents’ work schedules all come into play. The most important thing is open communication between families.

    • idk says:

      I’m American and I think plenty of things about American culture (whatever that even is) should be criticized, because they hurt people. Some cultural practices are bad and deserve criticism. Lots of others are just different. Swedes not feeding their kids’ friends definitely is the latter.

      I think the context about family dinners being really important is interesting. My family was like that, especially when I was under the age of 15 or so, but based on my friends’ houses at that age I think maybe it wasn’t that typical. Cultures are neat.

      • equality says:

        I guess, all you could call “American” culture would be Native American traditions. Other than that it is a mix-up of things brought from Europe, Africa, and Asia.

    • ME says:

      @ A Swede

      Thank you for writing this ! I’m glad you said something !

    • Becks1 says:

      I will say though that what you are describing is pretty typical here in the US as well. I never just ate dinner at a friend’s house, I always called my parents to make sure it was okay and sometimes my parents said no and sometimes they said yes. Or even now if my kids are over someone’s house I tell them they need to be home before dinner time bc I don’t want the other family to feel responsible for them.

      So it sounds to me like there is a clear cultural difference but it may not be as huge a one as the article implies.

      • Blithe says:

        This sounds similar to the way that I grew up. We rarely had play dates, but, as kids, we’re in and out of each other’s houses constantly. The general understanding was that when the family sat down to have dinner together, we would leave, and go to our own homes. If a parent asked us if we would like to stay, we would call our own parents for permission. I think the issue is at least two fold: Not putting out a family that wasn’t prepared to feed you, and not disrupting your own family’s plans for meals together.

        At other times, if course, we would be invited for lunch or dinner or slumber parties, which would include meals. Snacks, in contrast to meals, were always shared.

        I think the issue here is what constitutes being a “guest”, and, at least with kids, being treated like a “guest” meant having an invitation.

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      I appreciate that you shared this insight, and it makes perfect sense.

    • FHMom says:

      @a Swede. I don’t think anybody has a moral issue with Swedish culture. I think we are all having a laugh about cultural differences. I am American but was brought up in Arabic culture to the point that I found some American customs odd as a child. ( Now I wouldn’t describe them as odd, just different.) I think part of the issue is that food and the customs surrounding it are very important in a lot of cultures. I see the concept of a family meal is important in Sweden. Some cultures extend that family meal to include anybody who enter their home. It’s all good.

    • Normades says:

      Thank you @A Swede
      Perfectly said. Great perspective. Love this site for that.

    • emmi says:

      I don’t think anyone was trying to insult Sweden, people are just genuinely surprised. And Europeans are always judging Americans, let’s be honest. We do. All day long. For their guns, their perceived lack of history (because we think it’s ridiculous how amazed American tourists are at castles that are hundreds of years old), their alleged lack of food culture, their loudness etc. We judge a lot. And as a German who’s allegedly cold, humorless, and sounds like a certain dictator, I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end.

      I loved Sweden when I visited. I also loved visiting a friend in Norway and yes, it was a very different experience being a guest at her house than it is here in Germany or – a crazy comparison – in Greece. Some things are completely normal in one culture and would be super weird in others. It’s fine.

      It’s cool that this is a discussion, I didn’t know this about Sweden. Would my parents ever have let a kid play on their own while we had a meal? God no. But it does make sense in certain situation.

      Little bummed that Skarsgard has not chimed in. 🙂

      • equality says:

        Sorry not amazed at castles being hundreds of years old and everyone has history. It’s just that the history of many Americans is shared with the history of Europe.

      • emmi says:

        Well, I‘ve been to many a castle and the cliché isn’t completely wrong. Guess you’re cooler than the rest of us because I‘m constantly amazed when visiting historic places. People take themselves way too seriously.

      • equality says:

        So not being amazed that something can be old is taking yourself too seriously? There are structures in the Americas that are hundreds of years old also. Just because it didn’t come from a European culture doesn’t make it historically less.

      • emmi says:

        Your response was super defensive so yes, it sounded like someone’s taking themselves very seriously. These were clichés I was listing and yes, I’ve seen this happen and often, Europeans are a little condescending about it. Like Americans think they invented freedom.

        It’s not a bad thing and it wasn’t an attack. Nobody said anyone’s culture is less.

    • Sid says:

      Why are you singling out Americans? I am seeing people from all sorts of backgrounds say that this is very different from how things are in their own cultures.

    • Margot says:

      I think I may have been Swedish in another life. I hate last minute drop-in guests and am put off by having to scramble to find extra food, especially for picky little kids. Just me?

    • Fancyhat says:

      It’s super annoying how so many Swedes keep blaming people’s reactions on being American. Everyone was appalled by this weirdness from countries all around the world. Yes send the kid home if you are eating dinner. No don’t make them sit in a separate room while the whole family eats. That is rude.

      • Fabiola says:

        It’s not weird. I can say that it’s weird to keep trying to force feed people when they aren’t hungry or don’t want to eat the food. If you say no thank you it’s taken as an insult and you are forced to eat. Different countries have different social customs. It should not be called weird. It’s just different.

    • Normades says:

      @a Swede I think you made a very important point about meal planning and having to go miles to a store. Americans (and many cultures) live in a culture of food abundance or where food equates hospitality/love. In America there are always snacks in the kitchen and they throw out food at the end of the week. Europeans have a food culture but all my friends are shocked at the proportions in American restaurants that get taken home in “doggy bags” and most ultimately thrown out. It is just a different mentality towards food and hospitality and you get no judgements here.

    • Desdemona says:

      Nothing to say…

    • C says:

      Quite a few non-American cultures find this a bit of a shock to them too, as others have commented here. Actually I’d say it’s probably more likely to find Americans that would shrug at this than, say, people in Mediterranean countries. My French partner would be pretty weirded out, lol.
      I’m fine either way.

    • Mymlan says:

      Another swede here and I was also raised with dinner time is family time. I was with few exceptions expected to be home for dinner and so were most of my friends. Since we didn’t have the exact same dinner times across the whole neighborhood, sometimes a friend you were playing with went and had dinner and you just stayed in their room or living room and occupied yourself for a bit (watching TV, reading, or whatever) and then they came back and you continued playing. It wasn’t a big deal for us.

      • Janet DR says:

        Same for this American. When I was growing up in a very small town (40 houses, 7 with children) we all played wherever the day took us, in groups or not, and we went home to eat our dinners when our mom s called. If another family was eating, we would hang out or just go home.
        Speaking of calling, my mom had a dinner bell that she would ring and one day it broke. So she decided to Whoop- I mean Whhhoooooop, really loudly and while it was effective I will never forget the first time she did it. 😂

    • Beach Dreams says:

      So many different nationalities came together to criticize this cultural custom and yet you single out Americans repeatedly. Someone’s a little bothered.

      • Normades says:

        A lot of different cultures but you think we single out Americans? Someone’s a little bothered.

      • Beach Dreams says:

        I don’t believe I was speaking to you, I was speaking to A Swede who’s on a clear rant about Americans. But if you’re feeling a little sensitive and bothered too, feel free to wear that shoe, because it certainly sounds like you are.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      @a swede
      I’m Italo-British and we even invite over strangers to eat with us sometimes.
      Nobody is force fed but culturally it would be very impolite not to offer food if someone is around at lunchtime or dinnertime.

      I gather it’s your culture but to me having to bring my sheets and pillow over would force me to decline your invitation to be a guest at your house.
      I don’t travel around the globe with my homeware, sorry! 🤣

      If I ever visit Sweden I’ll remember we need to book paid accommodation and only visit friends for a few hours!!

    • Scm154 says:

      @a Swede—Thank you for perfectly expressing what I have been thinking as I’ve been reading the vast majority of these comments. Who are we in the United States to criticize other cultures—especially when we have so many problems of our own?

    • Gigi says:

      I get that Celebitchy isn’t a place for discussions of race and ethnicity, so Kaiser didn’t pull from the actual genesis of this Twitter topic: an Afro-Swede discussing how this custom intersected with the racism she experienced. The hashtag then spawned a Twitter Spaces conversation about Afro-Nordic experiences and the much-needed reckoning of Sweden for its role in the transatlantic slave trade. The article being cited on this post is actually an attempt to erase this entire part of the conversation to neutralize it as a “cultural differences” debate.

      It wasn’t “Americans” making a big deal about this topic at all. It was your own Black country people. And the racism on that hashtag and in their mentions says a lot.

    • Grace says:

      I’m half Swedish and half Finnish and I agree with you. In addition, some of my kid’s friends have really complicated food allergies some of them couldn’t even explain themselves when they were younger, so feeding them always means lots of preparation, special shopping sprees and checking with their parents, so it’s definitely not something you do spontaneously. One kid can for example only eat eight different ingredients and is so allergic to certain foodstuffs that even smelling them can be fatal. What comes to bringing your own sheets and towels, we normally invite people to our summer house where we have no facilities to do laundry, so it’s only natural for our guests to bring their own (unless they come from abroad). Many people have the same situation in their summer houses, so it’s only natural to act this way.

    • Mimi says:

      I agree but just have to add it’s not just Americans. This exploded because the concept is so foreign to many cultures around the world. Basically both North and South America, Africa, Asia and Southern & Eastern Europe are totally shocked by this and have never heard of anything like it. I think that’s the reason it got such a big response, it’s so unusual across the world really. It’s more usual to offer food and share it as a way of showing hospitality, care, good will and bonding.

  30. mellie says:

    Well, I always have extra food/snacks around for guests. We have friends over frequently and I will whip up a dip or have some cheese/crackers/veggies/fruit etc. But you know, we also probably have too much food waste going on in our house, whereas, I bet the Swedes do not (I am still learning to cook for an empty nest home, but that’s no excuse…), I bet they buy just what they need and don’t have a lot of extra food at the end of the week.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    I love learning about cultural difference. That said, this is just wild to me. How are you not going to feed people in your house? I have kids and now that it’s summer we’ve got neighborhood kids in and out of the house all the time. There’s always at least snacks for them. I also make sure to keep spaghetti ingredients as a staple in case we have extra mouths to feed when it’s dinner time and we need more than what I planned on cooking. Some of the kids around us don’t have it as well off as we do. Just can’t fathom turning away someone who’s in the house when it’s meal time or telling them to go mind their business while the family eats.

    • Ben says:

      Wait. I didn’t know Linda Carter was half Latina?! That’s so cool as Latino guy who used to watch her on TV.

  32. enzi says:

    i’m german married to a turkish man. i can tell you: my familiy and I learned A LOT about food, hospitality etc. and I love it! We all became better hosts for sure!

  33. Elsa says:

    Southern woman here. We feed everyone. If someone comes to your house and you don’t have good snacks you feel awful! Thus you always have good snacks.

  34. luna17 says:

    As as a heartland midwesterner I have the urge to aggressively feed all guests in my company! This is so odd to me! I also have the urge to send some casseroles or enchiladas over to Sweden! Maybe I can win over Alexander Skarsguard with my homestyle cooking!

  35. Mash says:

    Wait, wait, wait – if you/your kid has a friend over at the culturally determined window of time for dinner does that not mean their family is clearly…not eating dinner with them? Or are we expecting that all of the family is waiting for this person to come home so that they can also eat? I dont think its odd to need prior permission and planning for a dinner guest but the specifics that people are freaking over is that this kid is in the house during dinner and is seemingly shunned as opposed to heading back home for their own dinner. Expecting a person to be back at their own home by and for dinner is not the same thing as ignoring them if they are still there.

    • Fancyhat says:

      I think what is weird is that they aren’t sending kids home at dinner time. They are just putting the kid in a different room or hallway and having family dinner. That is what people were so shocked by IMO.

      • JaneBee says:

        @Fancy Chat A non-American here, and yes, at first glance that aspect of not inviting anyone in your house to the table at a meal time – even if the visitor doesn’t eat and just drinks something – just seems so anti-social? For so many cultures, eating is a social and outward looking experience?

        That said – I can understand how now, when parents are working crazy hours and children have endless homework+activities, you might want to prioritise dinner/supper as key family time. But wouldn’t you just kindly inform the child who was informally visiting your house, that it was time for them to go home?

        Having lived in Protestant Northern Europe, one thing that I always found odd with certain segments of society, was the focus solely on *eating* the meal. The purpose was NOT to enjoy conversation or others’ company over a meal together, but literally just sitting together, in silence, and eating some very, very plain food. It was so WEIRD to me. Whereas for Protestants in the English speaking world, failure to keep up a reasonable flow of small talk at the table is generally considered poor manners?

        I’ll risk the wrath of the Swedes/ Dutchies/Northern Germans by ending with the observation that the EU countries with ‘closed’ meal cultures, are not really known across the rest of Europe for their mouth wateringly delicious cuisine! 🙄

      • Fabiola says:

        Why are the kids there at dinner time? Shouldn’t the kids be back at their own house by then. Why aren’t parents picking up their kids?

  36. moltovino says:

    Growing up in the 80s and 90s we never had “play dates,” we just showed up at our friend’s houses. Or, when I was a bit older, we went to a friend’s house directly after school. Never once in my whole life did a friend’s parents not feed me if I was there at dinner time. That is insane to me. I guess Swedish children are/were maybe expecting it since it’s cultural, and didn’t feel singled out or left out. I think children in most other cultures would feel bad if everyone got food but them – it just seems so sad to me! But I guess you do you, Swedes.

  37. Lionel says:

    I have to ask my Swedish mom about this. I remember her sending neighbor kids home for dinner, but the (non-Swedish) neighbors would do that to me too. Seemed normal. We had organized play dates too but as I recall they were always after lunch and before dinner, and we were a strict “no snack” house. Now, reflecting, I think she set it up so she never had to feed random kids! I actually can’t recall ever having friends at the dinner table, although I’m sure she’d never have made anyone wait in my room. And, OMG revelation here, is this why I am constantly shoving snacks and food in the faces of my kids’ friends? I get a weird sense of satisfaction when I feed others, particularly kids, and it’s not altruism, it’s like a “I am a warm, kind person and now they will think I am a good mother” kind of feeling. Another morsel to chew on in therapy, lol.

  38. girl_ninja says:

    Pathetic. Not only are Swedes notoriously racist but they are not even hospitable to their visitors.

    • Ange says:

      Hospitality conventions aren’t universal, more at 11.

    • Swedish American says:


      This is an incredibly rude comment. How many notoriously racist Swedes do you know? Yes, there are racists living in Sweden just as there are racists living in many countries but your comment was unjust.

      Half-Swede who lived in Sweden and married to a Swede here. What people are overlooking is that it is not withholding food or ignoring a guest. It is courtesy to the other family. Family time is important in the Swedish culture so dinner time is spent eating with the family. Out of respect to the other parents as mentioned earlier, children are not generally invited to the table unless the other parents have given approval. It is seen as stepping on others toes if you feed a child that has stopped by without asking his/her parents beforehand.

      And no people don’t eat silently at the table- they enjoy conversation and discussing the day’s happenings during dinner just as many other cultures do.

    • Kaykay says:

      Pretty rude comment and it seems like you have no clue what you are talking about.
      Have you ever heard of fika? If not, let me enlighten you:

      What is the Swedish fika?

      Fika, a Swedish custom where people gather to eat, drink, and talk, is a welcome workplace tradition in the country. Fika is an important part of Swedish culture. Many Swedes consider that it is almost essential to make time for fika every day. It means making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat.

      Sweden was also ranked No. 4 as least racist country, so please educate yourself.

      I have a feeling you are a Russian bot/troll trying to spread that Sweden is a rasist/nazi country now that they want to join NATO.

  39. aang says:

    I married a German raised in the US. His parents are not very hospitable and every visit to their house is formal. His sister who lived longer in Germany than he did is the same. My siblings and best friend come and go from my house with no invitation and often no prior notice and I do the same at their houses. If they are hungry / thirsty they eat or drink. I’m happy my husband was flexible and got used to frequent guests very quickly. I was a sahm and my neighbor worked full time so her kids often ate at my house during the week. I was already cooking and had no problem offering a plate to whoever was there.

    • JaneBee says:

      @AANG Can confirm just ‘dropping by’ is absolutely not a thing in a number of Northern European countries!! 😂 If you move into a new building and have neighbours over 45 – a casual invite to ‘come over some time’ will literally cause them to freak out. The concept just does not compute. Less so with Millenials who socialised with a mixed cultural group at high school/university or have lived abroad. And the unwritten rules of visiting someone’s house in these countries – just for coffee. Pro tip: do not ever take more than one biscuit!

      • Fabiola says:

        Dropping by is a very old concept. People don’t just drop by anymore. That is considered rude since people nowadays lead very busy lives and the time people have off after they get off work is minimal. I would be stressed if I had random people dropping by while I’m trying to make dinner, feed my toddler, clean and them put him to bed, etc. Not to mention what parents with children they have homework have to go through.

      • Mimi says:

        “Do not ever take more than one biscuit!”

        I laughed really hard at this. I love Scandinavians but some stereotypes from jokes really do ring true here, lol.

  40. Dee Kay says:

    Coming from one of those cultures that feeds literally anyone who walks in the door, and would be horrified if we sent anyone away even the slightest bit hungry, I think my main takeaway from this whole online event is that 95% of the world’s cultures are like mine. So when people say, Oh different cultures are different, don’t criticize, etc. etc. I mean, maaaaaaaybe, but in this case, every single culture across Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and southern Europe from Spain to Italy to Greece, is *appalled* that some Scandinavian/Nordic peoples don’t feed guests. There are literally ancient myths about the importance of guest hospitality (like when the Greek gods come down to the mortal realm, and knock on doors as travelers to see who will be generous with their food and who will be stingy, and they reward the generous ones). In this particular case, it’s not a question of mere cultural differences. It’s that, from like a humans-on-Earth point of view, Scandis/Nordics who do this are like extreme extreme extreme outliers. Not saying they have to change, and yes cultures are just different, but I think ppl from those regions need to at least acknowledge that they are a teeny tiny minority in this custom, and recognize that this custom is abhorrent to the vast majority of people in the world.

    • anna says:

      Easy solution: don’t go to sweden if it’s so “apalling” that they let you be responsible for your own nourishment. you’ll miss out on amazing people and nature, but i’m sure being judgy and feeling superior is much more rewarding. see, personally, as a kid i found it very uncomfortable to be expected to eat a bunch of food that i might not fancy AND to hang with the whole fam of my friend when i’m there to play with my them and not spend time with the weird dad and the overbearing mom.

      • JaneBee says:

        @ANNA If you are at your friend’s house to play with them, but then it’s their family’s meal time, I’m genuinely curious re: not just wrapping up and saying goodbye to your friend a few minutes before the meal is about to start? If your friend is going to be at the table for an hour plus – it just seems like a really long time to wait around by yourself if the point is playing with them? Is it fair to assume that the average Swedish family dinner is maybe shorter in duration than the average Italian/Greek/Spanish dinner? And maybe it starts earlier in the evening? Waiting around for your friend for 25-30 mins at 18:30 seems I guess somehow more manageable than hanging out in their room by yourself for an hour from 19:30-20:45? Is it a Northern Summer thing as it’s still light outside until 22:00 so there would still be a lot of playing to be done? It’s an interesting difference compared to so many other cultures.

    • fionashops says:

      I get the “not feeding the neighborhood” thing, and find it perfectly acceptable, when settling down to a family meal, to politely encourage/ask any friends hanging about to please go home.

      But the ignoring a guest while enjoying a meal in front of them thing? There’s no other word for it but rude, and incredibly so.

      • Ange says:

        It’s rude if you’re taught it’s rude, that’s just your cultural conditioning

      • Fabiola says:

        It’s not rude if you are respecting their parents wishes that you don’t give their child dinner.

      • Swedish woman says:

        But that doesn’t happen..! We always prepare dinner for our guests, usually several courses..! It is not even the norm to not feed kids’ friends! I am Swedish and I always ate with my friends and they ate with my family. My husband only experienced twice to not get to join, but he wasn’t invited as a guest, he was spontaneously playing with his neighbour and the kids in the neighbourhood ran around free. It was during a weekday too. Not like an organised play date, a sleep over etc.

    • Kaykay says:

      I can give you some reasons to why this culture might be a thing.

      1. Food in Swede has been sparse for a long time due to it being hard to grow crops most of the year due to extremely cold weather. Most stuff had to be put in dirt cellars and be preserved in salts or be fermented. A lot of families experienced famine only 100 years ago and all food had to be rationed. This mentality seems to have stuck.
      2. Sweden became industralized in the mid 1800s and women started working in factories in the early 1900s. This means that there were no adults at home, taking care of the house cooking for the whole family until late in the evening. Life was quite different from countries where there was always (mostly) a woman at home, preparing dinner for the family. Sweden does not have that culture.
      3. Most families plan their meals for the upcoming week. This means they set their menu and plan their ingredients to last based on their needs. If an unexpected guest arrive, they will have too little food in the house. This is because Swedes are very mindful with waste and also because finances are tight. If you bought ingredients for 4 people and started cooking, and then three kids knock on the door to come play, it would be hard for you to suddenly have to feed 7. Imagine this happens 4 times a week, and you live paycheck to paycheck. It’s obviously not sustainable.
      4. Sweden has something called Swedish fika. It’s a big part of their culture and many Swedes have fika almost every day, both in the office and at home with family and friends. It’s very common for Swedish families to arrange some after school snack aka Fika for the kids.
      5. It’s common for kids to freely run from house to house and play. Suddenly someone knocks on the door and then after a few hours they are somewhere else. It’s easier if everyone just eats at their own house, BUT it’s also not unheard of to call home to your parents and ask if it’s ok to have dinner at your friends house. Sometimes it’s a yes, sometimes it’s a no, all depending on what the parents have planned when it comes to food.
      6. Organized playdates and sleepovers always include dinner and breakfast.

  41. K says:

    Maternal grandma was Ukrainian and she had 5 sisters. They just told our friends to knock once on the screen door for pierogi. They would hand out paper plates full of pierogi. They were all about them. And bingo.

    • Kaykay says:

      This sounds delish. I wish I had a window like that.

    • Swedish woman says:

      Jesus Christ we feed guests! Don’t spin this into something else. I am Swedish and always ate with my friends and they with me. You make it sound as if this happens all of the time, when it mainly did during the 70s when the country was at the top socioeconomically with a very well funded security system. But even then, this is just something that SOME Swedes have experienced in their childhood a few times, not all Swedes, all of the time. And if it did, it didn’t happen to invited guests, but during weekdays when kids randomly played a few hours after school before dinner. And also, Sweden is one of the few countries where all children are well fed. We pay a lot of taxes to fund among other things, free lunch for all kids in school. It is a buffet every day with salad, sandwiches and fruit on the side, milk or juice to drink.

  42. Aimee says:

    I had a friend from a big Italian family from New Jersey. When she was a kid she went to dinner at a friends house and the mother wanted to impress my friend with an “Italian” meal. She made Chicken Parm with pre-made breaded cutlets, tomato soup for sauce and Kraft singles for the cheese. So be careful what you wish for!!

    • Kaykay says:

      Haha, this reminds me of one time that I was at a friends house and it was time for dinner. It was hash browns and I hated it. I just said “No thanks, I’ll eat at home” so I stayed playing in my friends room until she was done eating. My family ate dinner at a later hour.

  43. tamsin says:

    I’m enjoying this discussion about cultural differences, especially in regard to hospitality and food. The Swedish notions are very interesting and understandable, as some posters have explained further up. When I was a child, I was told to leave a friends house before dinner time and come home for dinner. It was the polite thing to do. If an invitation to dinner is in the offing, it would be offered in plenty of time for me to phone my mother for permission. Ditto if friends came to my house. Everyone always phoned parents from whatever house we were visiting to inform them of where we were, unless it was a planned play date. If a visit was unplanned, we got whatever the hosts would get as an after school snack. If they didn’t get a snack, neither did the guest. I had one friend who was a latch-key kid, but her mother always left plenty of snacks in the fridge and she was allowed to invite a friend over after school everyday to keep her company until her mom came home around dinner time. I think in most of the world, though, the offer of food, or at least a drink, is just the custom. As adults, we always take a hostess gift unless going to family or close friends, in which case we usually take something anyway. I think that is the most common custom?

  44. Margot says:

    Canadian who was always scamming dinner at my friend’s house here. Her parents worked a lot and liked restaurants so they would always bring me along. What a mooch I was!

  45. fionashops says:

    Sitting down to a meal while not just ignoring a guest in your home — but actively excluding them — is universally *rude*. Don’t care what culture you are.

    • Kaykay says:

      It’s only rude if any of the people involved find it rude. As it was a mutual agreement no offence was taken, hence it can’t be rude.

  46. Leslie says:

    As a 32 year old American: I don’t remember ever eating snacks as a friend’s house during normal play time, and when it was dinner time that meant it was time to go home. The only time I ever ate at a friend’s house was when I was explicitly being baby sat and would knowingly miss a meal.

    • C says:

      Yeah. Like, I might have gotten snacks but it was more like “ok, you get a bag of chips too”. And when it was mealtime it was the time to discreetly leave, lol.

  47. CheChe says:

    This is off the topic of food …I have a friend who grew up in the south and she said it was common practice to just go into another kid’s house to use the restroom rather than go to your own home. She said they all just played outdoors and if you didn’t feel like going home you just went in and came right out. One day this friend went into the neighbor’s home and saw her dad laying on the woman’s sofa watching television. Her mom was mad at her for telling on the father. So,..some people share too much.

    • Kaykay says:

      This happened to us too.
      We (kids) were all playing in the village of about 60 households. If I was too far away from our house I would just knock on the neighbours door and ask for the bathroom. It was never an issue.

      Whoa, juicy news about the dad.

  48. C says:

    So, being born in the late 80’s and growing up in the 90’s, I feel like it was kind of touch and go whether you’d get food at someone else’s house. Sometimes we did but it wasn’t focused on? I feel like we scheduled whether people came over or I went over to other’s houses based on when they WERE going to eat because it was rude if we were there (“right now isn’t good, we’re having a meal”). So it’s like the issue of whether to feed someone who wasn’t distinctly invited to a meal was just sidestepped altogether that way.

  49. Normades says:

    This has been a very interesting thread. Thank you as always @kaiser @celebitchy.
    I will always be grateful to the grandmother of my one local college friend who took in the entire friend group every Sunday for an all you can eat home cooked meal. As a poor college kid eating cereal for most of the week this was highly appreciated. One day I hope to be this grandmother.
    But every culture is different and even in France with a food culture the norms are very different. For example snacking is not the same as it is in the US (the kids have a snack called le 4 heure, because it’s at 4!) and coming to one’s house doesn’t equate an open kitchen.
    In the end it’s about a culture’s relationship to food, so I don’t judge the Swedes one bit.

    • Swedish woman says:

      We feed our guests, Jesus Christ! We feed our kids friend’s too!! I am Swedish and never experienced this in my life! It is not “the norm”, this Twitter campaign is heavily exaggerated and pure lies. I know NOONE that this happened too all of the time as a kid. It happened to my husband TWICE. And it was also NOT done to guests or during organised play dates, never during sleepovers etc.
      But in Sweden children are also well fed. We pay taxes that fund free cooked meals in school. Children go to the lunch restaurant every day and eat as much as they want from a buffet, including salad and sandwiches and fruit on the side!
      Even so, it is not right to say that this “stay on the room” thing is a part of our culture and what we do to kids’ friends.

  50. Twin Falls says:

    I feel like what’s being overlooked is that there is/was a culture that didn’t shame introverts, so that their children play happily by themselves. If the kid felt left out, they could easily leave, right? But to stay and play alone and be that comfortable? These are my people.

  51. Julia K says:

    My great aunts favorite word was ” djeet? “. If the response was yes we ate or no, didn’t matter. You got fed. She could have a table set in no time. Homemade donuts, fruity Scandinavian coffee breads, cheese and cold sliced tongue and canned peaches. Happy days.

  52. DrFt says:

    It’s really interesting to see how the conversation on #Swedengate evolved into the rampant racism in Sweden, its role in slavery..More importantly the delusional and ill-fitted reactions of Swedes to people’s surprise to their…let’s say inhospitality is telling….It’s really how dare you criticize un the best country in the word because….free medical care and shit. I was today’s old when I learned that an epidemiologist in 2020 blamed the migrant population for rising covid contamination rate in Sweden

    • Ange says:

      Or they’re two separate conversations?

    • JaneBee says:

      @DRFT I think this actually also occurred with public officials in other countries in addition to Sweden 🙁 The missing and key context was normally – recent migrant populations often engaged in lower paying service/essential worker industries who didn’t have the option to just work from home and were subjected to higher exposure, lower income migrant demographics having smaller living space making quarantine difficult, larger inter-generational households that are normal for many cultures causing higher transmission, governments that failed to conduct outreach communication in communities in appropriate languages, failure to offer universal vaccination/health services for COVID to all people resident in their country with no questions asked. Technically, in some countries at certain points, it was an objectively correct observation – but it was absolutely racist BS to frame it that way without context.

    • Storminateacup says:

      It is xenophobic. I’ve traveled to Malmo and it’s pretty segregated there turks and brown people on one side of town and white people on the other. Not like London. When I asked my white Swede friend she got very uncomfortable and started talking about turkish cultural habits that created friction with native Swedes. We were also refused service in a few places that were not at all busy which was new and unpleasant for us. I thought it was significant that the African bartender at our hotel told my mixed race husband that in London a Blackman can hold his head high but not Sweden. We never went back to Experience Copenhagen. It strikes me as a very inward looking society despite (being ultra liberal ) more so than other parts of Europe.

  53. Isa says:

    A couple of things:
    If it’s about quality time family dinners, why is the child left in a room to play, instead of being sent home so they can eat with their family? Their food could be getting cold.

    The emphasis on being home for a family dinner seems nice. Most people I know work shift work. I’ve got a kid at my house right now whose sole parent wont be home for hours. Of course the kid is getting fed.

    America has a terrible amount of children that go to bed hungry every night and often the kids learn they can get fed at other people’s houses and I would always be afraid I was turning away a hungry kid. If only it were the norm that I wouldn’t have to worry about that.

  54. why says:

    The part of that culture that weirded me out is the fact you ask him/her to stay/wait for you to have dinner and not invite him/her to eat together. how much was a kid’s portion that you can accommodate him/her? I understand if you ask that friend to go home when dinner time is approaching but making that friend stay without dinner is just weird. I saw some twt post about sweden being a poor country 30/40 years ago and this culture is born from food security issues but ma’am, there are countries still like that now and we still feed the guest. on top of not feeding the guest, y’all did not decline if food is offered to you? lol

  55. Archaeobrarian says:

    Irish American here. Ireland is not
    known for their cuisine. However, if you have guests, you better offer the “company” whiskey or you are kicked out of the family and probably the neighborhood.

  56. MsGnomer says:

    Friends and neighbors never fed each other in my part of the world. (Greater Boston, USA) No one I knew had anything extra in the 1970s. I even had family members who were so cruel to their children (my cousins) the parents would eat in front of them and share nothing. So, to think Swedengate is a thing is coming from a place of entitlement, no? I am glad to hear about all of you who have families who feed you; you are very lucky to have good memories and warm feelings. Please use this trending “scandal” to remember to share your abundance. Feed everyone.

  57. Eulalia says:

    I’m Chinese and if I didn’t feed my guests, my ancestors would haunt for eternity out of shame.

  58. Helena says:

    I’m Swedish, born in the 80s, and I remember this well from my own childhood. I always ran free in the neighborhood and went home for dinner. If my friends ate before that I waited in their room. It was no big deal.

    This is SO not the case any more though😅 At least not at our house or with the people I know. Friends are always included in dinner, snacks or whatever we eat. Of course. So Swedengate seems a bit blown out of proportion to me🤣 We have a lot of kids over all the time since we have four children, and man, the cost of food is staggering when you feed 6-8 kids per day sometimes 😅

  59. A Swede says:

    I’ve been working and hasn’t had time to reply to all the comments I recieved on my comment as a Swedish person. I’m glad and thankful there are very respectful people here that respects that cultures and manners can be different. I really like all of you and this website! I will go through them, I just want to add something that I thought about reading through some comments here that might bring some understanding about Sweden and “hospitality”.

    Swedes doesn’t think sharing food is hospitality. A lot of other people and cultures think it is, we don’t. And there are cultural and political reasons for that. Like I said before, feeding another parents child dinner is considered rude because family dinner is VERY important. It’s a sign of disrespect for your parents to not be home for dinner. We obviously feed our guests HOWEVER… If a child is playing with our child we know their parents are preparing dinner and would be angry if we took away their important family dinner. If we would ask the child if they would like to have some dinner too there’s a 9 out of 10 chance the child will say “No, thank you” because they don’t want to disrespect their parents. This whole “leaving the child hungry in a room” is so taken out of context it’s insane. When I politely declined because I knew my mother wanted to have me home for dinner I didn’t just sat in another room. I continued to play with my friends toys and thought it was fun. I also wasn’t hungry at all because in Sweden all children get free food at school. Different dishes (fish, meat, vegetarian), sandwiches, milk, sparkling water, lemonade, fruit with chocolate… You can literally eat as much you want and take coffee, tea etc with you from the kitchen to class. We have eaten the entire day. Noone goes hungry.

    And this is the most important part – people who say that Swedes are selfish for “not sharing food” is probably one of the most stupid things to say. All parents in Sweden work their ass off, hours and hours of the day, to give away hundred of thousands in money each year to pay for other childrens free healthcare, free education, free computers, free meals at school, free busrides. We pay for children to study abroad and experience other cultures, we pay for free therapy sessions, we even give money to people who want to start a band so they won’t lose money over it, we pay so people who are transgender can get medication and surgery if they want to for free. Our taxes is our hospitality. We give away so much of our time and money already to everyone, which I think is the reason we don’t care about hospitality in sharing ONE meal when in our culture your parents want you to have family dinner at home anyway. We already give away everthing we have. Since Nordic politics are very different with taxes etc from the rest of the world I’m not surprized hospitality can be seen different as well. To work 10 hours a day to almost give away all of it for your community is hospitality to us. I’m half Swedish, half Greek so I understand the other side of sharing food as well. Nothing is right of wrong here, cultures are just different.

    • js says:

      To point out, in the original twitter thread there were plenty of Swedish people who said that they were not, in fact, comfortable by themselves while the other family ate dinner. that the parents did not necessarily ask if the visiting child wanted dinner, did not know anything about the other parents wishes, that this was not in the context of pop-ins, and that often the experience was being TOLD that they were not welcome to eat, and to go be by themselves, as well as that this was very often an “upper/middle class only” thing, with Swedish people who were poorer growing up saying that they didn’t follow this same cultural norm.

      • A Swede says:

        I’ve lived in Sweden my entire life and have never in my entire life heard anyone say that friends parents told them they were not welcome to eat, that’s BULLSHIT and sounds like plain propaganda. They may not even be Swedish. Literally everyone I know experienced the same cultural manner of showing respect to the parents and never thought it was weird. There might have been some people who did, especially immigrants who maybe aren’t familiar with this way of showing respect to parents, the point of the matter still stands. It’s still not of anyone elses business. People act like a foreign people with a foreign culture needs to “realize” how bad they are. That entitlement is on a whole other level, especially since Sweden take care of children more than any other country on earth. People from foreign countries have gone crazy on social media over a culture and society that isn’t their business anyway and twist things that is completely taken out of context. Even if Swedish people like me say it’s not true and completely twisted to (sometimes it feels like) fit a certain narrative people for some insane reason doesn’t want to let go of, people still jump in and say “BUT LOOK AT THIS!!!” and I’m just like…. Stop. I can list things Americans or Southern Europeans are doing to children that would literally be considered crimes against humanity in Sweden (and I’m saying this as someone who is half Greek), but Sweden having a different hospitality culture is all of sudden so horrible because some random Swede on Twitter wrote they thought it was weird as a child? Come on. Whatever other countries are doing is not my business to judge. Whatever other people from other countries might have felt growing up about their culture is also not my business to judge.

      • Swedish woman says:

        It wasn’t even an upper class thing. It is something that have occurred but wasn’t the norm, in the past, under certain circumstances. NEVER with guests (come on…), never during organised play dates. Only during a time where children ran around freely in urban neighbourhoods and the norm was to expect your kid back for dinner. But still, I have never experienced this in my entire life, none of my grandparents experienced this, my husband experienced it twice, and he was at some friend’s house every other day throughout his childhood. This Twitter campaign is not only exaggerated and blown out of proportion it is actually pure LIES. Because most tweets says that “Swedes don’t treat their guests to dinner”. That is a lie. Of course we do like everyone else in the world, and we actually care a lot about preparing the dinner to make it as nice as possible.

    • Mimi says:

      “Our taxes is our hospitality.”

      That’s an interesting way to look at it. But strong social welfare, free education, free healthcare, free bus rides for students, government support for the unempolyed/sick/underprivileged/families with too low incomes, etc. is all present in many other countries. It’s not unique to Sweden. Fact, most Slavic countries have not only undergone decades of communism and total elimination of private property (my mother’s family really shared everything LOL), they have made the idea of social equality a priority. Even today, social elements are strong in many of them, the idea you have to pay for quality education or healthcare is absurd in abhorrent there. Or take France for example, pretty much the same.
      Yet if you refused food from the Slavic side of my family they would disown you haha I know as it bothered me a lot how much I was made to eat as a kid every time I visited.

  60. RubyO says:

    Well, the Swedes as a society are happy people, so seems like NBD there!

  61. Anni says:

    I moved to Sweden when I was 13 so I had already passed the age for playdates. However, I was always graciously invited to stay for dinner when it was dinner time. My partner who is Swedish told me that his friends were always staying late at his parent’s house because they knew that they had good food at home. So I guess it’s very individual.
    Now to the bedlinen controversy. We do have a summer house that many want to visit spontaneously (and stay overnight). When I’m trying to relax, I’m not in the mood for doing laundry service and ironing every bloody weekend. So I really do appreciate it when the guests do bring their bedlinen. I never ask them but boy… I think it is very considerate.

    • Swedish woman says:

      Of course you were invited to dinner. Guests have always had dinner in Sweden. And what this originally was about wasn’t even play dates, because those are organised by the parents. What this actually is about, is another time in Sweden 60s-80s when kids would just run around freely, and those that lived in an urban neighbourhood very close to their friends and ran in and out of eachother’s apartments might not always have gotten to eat dinner at WEEKDAYS. That’s literally it. It was never about “guests” or even play dates. And it wasn’t even common. My grandparents weren’t like that, I who am born in Sweden have never experienced this in my entire life. My husband experienced it twice. Ever. And he was at someone’s house every other day, so you see…

  62. Swedish woman says:

    Can writers please not share FAKE NEWS?! It is completely false that we don’t “feed our guests”. Completely false. What this is about is that SOME kids during like the 70s mostly IF they lived very close to their friends, and IF they during WEEKDAYS ran around at eachother’s houses/apartments randomly, they in just SOME cases didn’t get to eat dinner at their friend’s house every time they randomly showed up, because, at that time parents generally wanted their kids back for dinner, and that is it. I have never experienced this myself, ever, as a Swede. My husband has experienced it like 2 times in his childhood. Of course we serve our friends/guests dinner, wtf. Swedish people care A LOT about thinking out a great dinner and dishes for their house guests. I can’t believe people are letting this actually minor and rare (and dated!) detail become so out of control it has spun into pure lies.

  63. Mimi says:

    I really loved this discussion. I guess the main cultural difference I spotted is that in many cultures, guests are “kings” and treated better than family when they arrive.
    Sharing your home means you invited that person to become a part of your family in a way for a while. Of course you will feed them then. Also the notion of sharing whatever you have is tied to many religions. It’s not about how much you have or not, it’s about being selfless and showing someone respect by sharing food which is sacred and has always been for many people.
    Also family is as important for all of the cultures that are appalled by this (lol) and family meals are equally sacred, it’s just that the notion of a family extends to friends and well-wishing guests.
    Finally, many, many of the countries with differing views have also undergone poverty, starvation, wars and lack or resources. In fact, many still do. Yet they share whatever little they have, always. It seems to be a mentality/norm/value thing.
    Ignoring someone in your home while you eat basically translates to you being a nasty selfish bad person in many cultures, lol, that’s how it is. I am NOT saying this applies to Swedes, I am just trying to understand and explain all the backlash.

  64. Sammiches says:

    ITT celebitchy commenters learn about different cultural norms