The first time crayfish is mentioned in Swedish gastronomy is in a letter from king Erik XIV dated 1562. King Erik grew crayfish in the water-filled moats around Kalmar Castle. Crayfish were not eaten whole and cold as they are today. Kajsa Warg’s cookbook from the 18th century contains old recipes on how to make crayfish cake, crayfish sausages and stewed pans with crayfish tails. The crayfish party (Kräftskivan), as we know it today, was formed during the first decades of the 20th century. Since then, it has increased in popularity, and today it is one of the holidays associated with Swedish identity and Swedishness.
Previously, crayfish fishing was only allowed from the first Wednesday in August, but the fishing ban was lifted in 1994. Most people still choose to start eating crayfish in early August. The ideal August night is warm and tender, just perfect for a traditional crayfish party. All you need is some friends, a heap of freshly boiled crayfish, dill, Västerbotten cheese pie, some beer and schnapps, and funny drinking songs.
The other night we had our crayfish party under the awning on the patio in my townhouse garden. My love, my sons, and me. It was a hilarious and lively party! Now, I’m looking forward to a sour herring party.