Flygande Jacob is a casserole dish of chicken, bananas, Heinz chili sauce, whipped cream and Italian salad spice, topped with peanuts and bacon. The dish is named after the air cargo employee who invented it on a whim. Food snobs, horrified by its combo of quirky ingredients (and its orange color), are often shocked to find it quite tasty with a mix of sweet, spicy, smooth, crunchy and salty flavors and textures.
It seems that Eve Jacobsson, invited to bring a potluck to a neighborhood dinner party, put together a mishmash of ingredients he had on hand. After rave reviews, he submitted the recipe to a culinary magazine, Allt om Mat (All About Food), who published it in 1976 and named it in his honor. The dish became so popular that grocery stores then sold frozen food and baby food. It’s far from the only banana-based main course in Sweden (there’s a casserole of pork, banana, spicy peppers, and cream; and fish with almonds and bananas). It reflects a Swedish penchant for fruits served with savory dishes, such as lingonberries with game or roast pork with prunes. The magazine reprinted the original recipe in 2014.
“Flygande Jacob is not a dish that is often found in restaurants (probably because it is considered a simple dish and rather for a child), but I think a lot of adults enjoy it and it is easy to prepare at home. Those who serve it tend to be lunch places that serve traditional home-made Swedish food, which is interesting because its ingredients are usually not part of traditional Swedish cuisine, ”says Melinda Martino, spokesperson for Visit Sweden . “My mom used to make it and I think she served it at one of my birthday parties. I like it!”
Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson of the now-closed Faviken and Netflix series, two Michelin stars Chef’s table (Season 3), even called it “emblematic” of contemporary Swedish culinary culture.