From porridge to pancakes: Moominous cooking

From hearty porridge to pancakes and foraged berries, food is more than present in the Moomin stories. It is a reflection of Nordic culture, a form of bonding, and a way of shifting focus from danger and chaos back to simplicity. Grab a snack and delve into the theme of food and cooking in the Moomin stories.

Seasonal delights – Nordic cuisine in Moominvalley

Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finn who loved a simple lifestyle close to nature: a way of living that is very typical in the Nordics, as well as Moominvalley.

In addition to deep green forests, harsh winters, and a simple attitude towards life, the Nordic culture also made its way to the Moominhouse kitchen.

From porridge to pancakes, a lot of fish, spiced wine, mushrooms and fresh berries, the Moomins eat and drink much like people in the Nordics. Healthy and heartwarming food with ingredients you can get directly from nature nearby. 

The Fillyjonk’s fish was ready at exactly two o’clock. It was concealed in a huge, steaming light-brown pudding. The whole kitchen smelt convincingly and comfortingly of food.

(From Moominvalley in November, 1972)

In late summer, it’s common in the Nordics to pick and preserve berries, mushrooms and fruit for the winter, or make delicious jams and sauces. This is also what the Moomin family does.

“It was a beautiful autumn morning. The shadows made one’s snout a little chilly but the sunshine felt nearly like summer. Everything was wet from the night’s rain, and all colours were strong and clear. When all the apples were picked or shaken down Moominpappa carried the biggest apple mincer out in the garden, and they started making apple-cheese. Moomintroll turned the handle, Moominmamma fed the mincer with apples and Moominpappa carried the filled jars to the verandah.”

(From Tales from Moominvalley, 1962)

In winter, the Moomins hibernate, but when Moomintroll unexpectedly wakes up from his sleep in Moominland Midwinter, Too-Ticky teaches him a trick or two about how to survive the cold season. They go ice-fishing – another Nordic tradition – and utilise Moominmamma’s stocked jam cellar.

Too-ticky was sitting under the ice with her fishing-rod. She liked the sea’s habit of sinking a bit now and then. – Beside Too-ticky lay four small fish. One more, and she’d have her soup.

(From Moominland Midwinter, 1957)

A meal which the Moomins and their friends enjoy on several occasions in almost every story is pancakes. Pancakes – specifically with jam and maybe a little whipped cream – are a regular treat in most Nordic households, whether that’s for breakfast, dessert or an evening snack.

In Moominhouse they had pancakes for luncheon – big yellow pancakes with raspberry jam. There was porridge from the day before as well, but as nobody wanted it they decided to save it for the next morning.

(From Finn Family Moomintroll, 1948)

…and one almost never waits for the entire batch to be ready! Nordic pancakes are fried one at a time and often eaten rolled up – with fingers – one by one as they’re ready.

Darkness was closing in over the river, so after landing the raft they built a fire between the roots of a big tree, and fried pancakes for supper, which they ate, in their fingers, one by one as they came out of the frying-pan. Then they crept into their sleeping-bags and the night fell.

(From Comet in Moominland, 1946)

Did you know? In the Nordics, pancakes refer to what people in many other countries call ‘crepes’, and a singular ‘pancake’ is actually something made in the oven and cut into thick square pieces (also eaten with jam). In the Finnish and Swedish books, the Moomin family regularly make both of these, whereas the English books only refer to pancakes.

Martinex Moomin measuring cups

Inspired by Moominmamma’s pancakes? 🥞

This set of three melamine Moomin measuring cups by Martinex features the Moomin family out in the garden having a party. Enjoy the atmosphere of summer happiness whilst you bake something for your loved ones!

Savouring simplicity – the joy of shared meals

Tove Jansson wrote the first Moomin books during World War II. The uncertainty and constant looming threats influenced the stories in the form of natural disasters, like comets and floods.

But even in the middle of chaos, the Moomins are very good at enjoying the mundane – and food is a great example of that.

‘We must discuss the matter,’ said the Snork. But his sister had a better idea. ‘Sniff, didn’t you have a bottle of lemonade?’ she asked, and when he brought one out she emptied it into the saucepan with some berries, and produced the most wonderful fruit-soup that you could imagine.

(From Comet in Moominland, 1946)

Comet in Moominland, especially, mirrors how people reacted to the times of war in real life: living in the moment, drinking and eating. In a world fraught with uncertainty and change, the act of sharing a meal is a symbol of community.

Sniff looked suspiciously at her. ‘I suppose it wasn’t you who did it?’ he said, for he remembered very well how the silk-monkey had made her curly flourish, marking the mysterious path, on all the tree-trunks. ‘It could have been me,’ she said. ‘But this time it happens to have been someone else.’ ‘It could have been anybody,’ said Moomintroll, ‘but never mind now. Let’s eat first.’

So they unpacked pancakes, sandwiches, bananas and lemonade from their basket and divided it all into three equal parts. Then there was silence for some minutes while they all munched happily.

(From Comet in Moominland, 1946)

The Muddler served us corn cobs (my favourite food) and plum cake. A bright orange moon was poking its head over the horizon. The night was quite warm.

(From Memoirs of Moominpappa, 1950)

Food is often how the Moomins make the everyday feel special. Impromptu picnics and pancake parties are no big deal in the Moomin family; they even feel necessary to balance things out.

‘Keep quite calm,’ she cried. ‘There’s no fire! We’re going on a picnic as soon as we possibly can.’‘A picnic?’ exclaimed Moominpappa. ‘How could you ring the bell just for a picnic?’‘There’s danger in the air,’ Moominmamma shouted back. ‘If we don’t go for a picnic this very instant, anything might happen to us!’

And they went for a picnic.

(From Moominpappa at Sea, 1965)

Gustaf & Linnea Moomin beeswax cloths

Taking care of nature is also a big part of the Moomin stories. 🌳

The new Gustaf & Linnea beeswax cloths allow you to store food naturally and plastic-free. They wrap and stick around food or crockery, just like cling film!

Personal tastes – food for different characters

Food can be a window to someone’s personality. Also the Moomin characters have specific preferences and habits when it comes to food.

Sniff has a desire for things that shine and sparkle  – and for things that are delicious. He is often the one to enjoy others’ leftovers, get the most excited for Moominmamma’s pancakes and make it known that he is hungry.

‘I think he was angry because we forgot to take food to him. Now we can eat it ourselves.’

(Sniff in Finn Family Moomintroll, 1948)

Snufkin’s eating habits come from his wanderer lifestyle. Often enjoying his meals “al fresco” beneath an open sky, he utilises what is around him in nature – a fan of freshly caught fish and foraged berries.

‘Well, it was like this,’ began Snufkin. ‘I had picked a melon for dinner. There was a whole field full of them, you see, and I thought that one more or less wouldn’t make any difference. But the moment I dug my teeth into it, a nasty ugly old man came out of a house nearby and started to shout at me.

(Snufkin in Comet in Moominland, 1946)

Moomintroll is always ready and prepared for an adventure, also when it comes to snacks. Luckily, he has Moominmamma to help him stay well-fed wherever he is.

Moomintroll crawled under his bed and pulled out his night box. In it were a couple of small pancakes, now a little dried, half a piece of bread and butter and an apple.

(From Tales from Moominvalley, 1962)

Cooking is a big part of Moominmamma’s caring nature. She is the nurturer of the family who brings everyone together over a homemade meal or picnic. 

Moominmamma put the fat for frying the pancakes in the bathtub because there weren’t enough basins, and then she carried up eleven enormous jars of raspberry juice from the cellar.

(From Finn Family Moomintroll, 1948)

Kupilka Snufkin drinking vessel

The Moomins and their friends know how to enjoy the outdoors. 🍁

Embody the vagabond spirit of Snufkin with Kupilka’s large drinking vessel. Classic, practical and keeps your drink or soup hot without burning your fingers!

Moomin food sites (in the real world)

Moomin Coffee – the world’s first Moomin airport café 

Moomin Coffee offers travellers at Helsinki Airport a chance to enjoy a cup of coffee with a cinnamon bun, and other delicious snacks, surrounded by the blue Moominhouse and the Moomin family. 

Moomin Coffee Helsinki


Located near Gate 40 in the non-Schengen area, Moomin Coffee is the world’s first Moomin-branded airport café.

Moomin Café

You can find a few official Moomin Cafés in Asia.

Moomin Café Karuizawa in Nagano, Japan, serves Moomintroll-decorated coffees and cakes that have Hattifattener growing out of them! Jeju-do, South Korea and Bangkok, Thailand, are also homes to Moomin Cafés.


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Moomin Patisserie

Osaka Moomin Patisserie


Moomin Patisserie is the recently launched home to delicious Moomin-themed cookies, pastries and coffees in Japan. This pop-up bakery stand changes location around Japan every week until the end of May 2024.

Moominous baking

Here are some wonderful Moomin cakes for inspiration at home! 😍


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Have you done some Moominous baking? Share your master piece on Instagram with the hashtag #moomincake !