December 2, 2013 Leave a comment
By J.P. McCormick, Summer Associate
Normally, I write a blog about an interesting legal development or an important New Jersey happening. Now, I have been tasked with writing about why diners in New Jersey serve Split Pea Soup every Thursday. As a matter of full disclosure, I should let it be known that I have spent most of my life in Vermont and that I am new to New Jersey (and its diner traditions). I have tried to determine why New Jersey diners tend to serve Split Pea Soup on Thursdays through online research, but if you have a different reason or perspective on this matter, we would love to hear what you have to say on Twitter at @CLDDS and/or on our Facebook page.
It seems that Split Pea Soup has a long history in many different cultures and locations. On Thursdays in particular, though, it seems that the tradition finds it roots in medieval Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland). During the Middle Ages, many Scandinavian people recognized the Roman Catholic requirement of fasting on Fridays. To help fight off their hunger on Fridays, the Scandinavian people began to eat Split Pea Soup every Thursday because it is such a hearty food. Although fasting on Fridays did not remain a requirement throughout history, the tradition of eating Split Pea Soup on Thursdays survived, and is still prevalent throughout the Scandinavian countries.
So why do diners in New Jersey serve Split Pea Soup every Thursday? My best guess is that it is because most diners try to accommodate as many cultures as possible. I would argue that they serve Split Pea Soup on Thursday, for the same reason that many of them also have fish specials on Fridays. Diners want to serve comfort food, and even though it might not seem like it to some people, most people of Scandinavian descent certainly recognize it as just that.
Let us know why you think New Jersey diners serve Split Pea Soup on Thursdays on Twitter or on our Facebook page.
J.P. McCormick is in his third year at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, where he is an Executive Editor for the University of New Hampshire Law Review. Upon finishing his third year of law school, J.P. intends to practice in New Jersey, and is interested in all aspects of civil law. You can follow him on Twitter @JP_McCormick.