Vårfrudagen, Lady Day, 25th March, is Christian holy day. Nowadays it is called ”waffle day” in Sweden, and we eat waffles with jam and cream. In days gone by farmers used to start their work of the spring season on Lady Day.
In the Bible it says that the Archangel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary and told her she would give birth to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the church calendar this is known as Annunciation Day, and it has been celebrated in Christian countries since the 7th century. It occurs nine months before Christmas Day, when Jesus is said to have been born.
In olden days in the farming community Lady Day was the time to start preparing for the new season, winter was over.
Another thing that was done on Lady Day was to foretell the weather. There should be as much snow on the ground on Valborg’s day, 30th April, as there was on the roof on Lady Day.
The name ”Vårfrudagen” has evolved in the spoken language into ”våffeldagen”. Waffles have a history that goes back to the Middle Ages. They resemble pancakes, and are made in a special kind of pan. Just like ”semlor”, modern waffles are a legacy from the late 19th century. At that time they were a luxury, with white flour, eggs, butter, whipped cream and jam.
Waffles can also be eaten with ham, bacon, avocado, roe etc.
In Cajsa Warg’s cookery book, ”Hjelpreda i hushållningen för unga Fruentimber” from 1755 there is a recipe for waffles.
Ingredients for 15 waffles:
3.25 dl thick sour cream
6.5 dl water
1.75 dl melted butter
about 5 dl plain flour
”To one quart sour cream add 2 quarts water, half a quart melted butter, and two eggs. Whisk everything together with so much good flour that you can see traces of the whisk in the mixture when you lift it up. Then make them in the usual way.
For these waffles you should use good thick cream that is not too old, so that they taste good”
quart – about 32.7 dl, about the same volume as a small Fanta bottle.
Or, as Cajsa Warg wrote in her cookery book, ”Use what there is” or, as older people sometimes say today, ”You take what you can get”.