Sometimes, a word will transcend its meaning, and that is exactly what is happening to the Swedish term Lagom, which simply means “just the right amount.” This same word is now a way of life.
And the ethos of this Lagom way of life? Just have enough—not too little, not too much.
The Concept of Lagom
The concept of Lagom is said to have originated from an old Viking phrase “laget om” (literally, “around the team”), which was often uttered when a mug of mead was being passed around and it contained just enough for everyone to get a sip. Author Brontë Aurell describes it as “a set of social rules” deeply embedded in Swedish culture and is about “not having two buns with your coffee break” and “buying a Volvo, not a Porsche.” In other words, it is finding the middle ground of everything, staying in it, and rarely (never at all, if possible) venturing out of that middle ground.
Well, that way of life seems fair enough, especially for the Swedes who are described by The Telegraph’s Anna Hart as “healthy, happy, uniformly attractive and maddeningly well-adjusted.” But for us, Irish, going all Lagom might be a bit more of a challenge. The Irish way of life embraces the extremes and pays very little mind to excesses, especially when it comes to our food. Ah yes, the food! We, the Irish, really love our food, and are known all around the world to throw a feast whenever we get the chance. So, pardon us if we struggle to fully grasp this concept of moderation.
But we are trying! As Lottoland notes in its in-depth feature on Lagom, this way of life leads to a more balanced, more frugal life. In Ireland more people are embracing the lifestyle by striving to get better sleep, regular exercise, and yes, even eating healthier food. Moreover, people are eating more locally produced food in an effort to implement sustainable living tenets.
Case in point: The Irish organic food market that we have covered on the site before, is booming, with organic produce rising by 22% in 2016. This trend has continued thanks to sustainable farming, which uses old but trusted methods in growing fruit and vegetables, and in taking care of poultry and meats. Quite naturally, Ireland has emerged as one of the “it” destinations for organic food lovers all around the world.
Indeed, many of us here are trying this not-too-little, not-too-much philosophy, but for our friends all around the world who want a sampling of Irish cuisine and its excesses, Ireland will forever be open to you. Our ever famous cockles and mussels, classic Irish in every sense, are as mouthwatering as ever, and Dublin has some of the very best versions of this dish. You can, for instance, try out The Woollen Mills located just over the Northside of the Ha’Penny Bridge or Catch-22 situated on Clarendon Street. For all-out indulgence, you can even check out our ‘Dublin’s Best Food Tour’ post for a listing of food places you ought to visit here in the capital.
Yes, Lagom can truly lead to a happy, balanced life, but indulging once in a while, especially with Irish cuisine, is not actually that bad.