Swedish chef most likely Norwegian

Where I live, the Iron Range region of northern Minnesota, ethnic heritage is still kind of a big deal. The effect is fading with the generations, but you still get asked where your people came from and you best know the answer.

My people came from, in order of blood percentage, Finland, Norway, Sweden, England (Cornish miners on one side, protestant farmers on the other), northern Ireland and spritzes of other major European powers. In fact, I just recently learned that a distant thread of my family that I thought was German is actually French. Maybe this somehow explains something about me, like fixing a bad guess on a crossword puzzle.

Well, I’m not the only one working through an identity crisis right now. This Jeremy Stahl article from Slate (h/t Andrew Sullivan) shows that the Swedish Chef, “the unintelligible, shotgun-wielding, and much beloved chaos Muppet,” is by no stretch of the imagination Swedish. Oh sure, most people figure out quickly that he was never speaking actual Swedish. But Swedes, if you can get them to talk about it, apparently believe his vocal patterns are much more similar to that of the Norwegian language than Swedish.

The evidence is compelling.


  1. Ethnic heritage can be fun, but not the end all. Times Have changed, for example the Danish National Distillery was bought awhile back by the Swedes, who sold it to the French a few years ago, who now are selling it to a Norwegian group who is obtaining their funding from a Swedish venture. I guess all I’m saying is enjoy the discussions of differences, but don’t take them very seriously.

  2. Sounds like a bunch of guurdy duurdy duur to me, Mike.

  3. Awe man. Thanks guys. Quite possibly the best exchange in the comments section of a blog I read all day.” Sounds like a bunch of guur duur.” Ha!

    This is the only place online I ever comment. I think it is a compliment toward this site that there are never all those hateful comments posted here. People come here and have actual reasonable conversations. Often times people are funny. Two opposing sides can have a mature discussion without exploiting the lowest common denominator on here. I guess I just really appreciate that.

    Guur Duur…

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