The cuisine of Sweden is characterized by a sense of practicality and economy. It is considered rude not to finish the food you have on the plate, mainly because, in many cases, you serve yourself and you are responsible for the amount of food you place on your plate. The meals are not very elaborate and many will find them scarce in vegetables. Traditional recipes were influenced by the lack of plants due to the long Swedish winters and many modern dishes still include only small amounts of vegetables. Rutabaga is a native turnip that was among the most popular plant types in Swedish cooking until it got replaced by the potato. In both major inhabited regions of Sweden – Gothenburg on the west coast and Stockholm on the east – the abundance of fish, mainly herring, had its influence on traditional cooking. Although the salted herring, which was used as trading goods hundreds of years ago, is not part of modern Swedish dishes, we will still find it in several cookbooks as one of the national food elements.
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