International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Oh what fun! September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day – a history lesson and the chance to act like a pirate all rolled into one! And, kids will take any opportunity to play at dressing up, so why not have a day of face painting, learning about pirate life and eating pirate inspired food?

You can make it really simple and just have the food pirate themed, like these great ideas from The Party Times. Or, you can try some recipes that are actually recorded as being used by pirates. They may not taste that good, but will serve as a great way to teach the kids what life might have been like on a ship that’s been at sea for weeks with no fresh fruits, veggies or meat.

These three recipes are great and really simple:

This recipe from Gone-ta-pott is from 17th century Sweden:


(Swedish 17th century)

These small sweetbreads were consumed together with brännvin (Scandinavian brandy). By the way dl is decilitre!

1 dl of cinnamon

three whites of egg

2 dl of sugar

Mix everything until you’ve got it looking like foam then pour it out onto a plate. The cakes should be the size of a larger coin. Bake for about 5-10 minutes until they´re slightly golden. And now for the fun part: take a cooled bread in one hand and the ”sup” (dram) in the other. Put the bread in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue then empty the glass.

Of course, you won’t be providing each child with a ‘sup’ of brandy, but you could use this Swedish version of grog, replacing the wine, port and vodka with fruit juice:

Glögg (scandinavian, early medieval origin)

3 dl of water

1 spoon of cardamom

5 cloves

2 pieces of cinnamon roll

1/2 dl of raisins

10 almonds

1-2 dl of sugar

2 litres of red grape juice or another red fruity juice

Boil the water with spices, raisins and almonds. Let it boil for five minutes and then turn off the heat and leave it for half an hour. Then strain off the spices. Mix the water with the sugar and let the sugar melt. Pour all the grape juice into the water and heat it up. Serve hot in small cups with almonds and raisin at the bottom. Perfect for the cold nights on halfdeck.

And you could finish off with this Swedish (there seem to have been lots of Swedish pirates!) Honey Cake recipe:

Honey Cake

(Swedish, early 17th century)

1 1/2 dl of honey

4 eggs

1 dl of sugar

2 spoons (or more) of ginger

1 spoon of jamaica pepper

4 dl of wheat flour

Grease a tin about 1½ litres in size. Warm up the honey so that you can stir it easily with a spoon. Whip up the eggs until they´re white, mix them with honey and spices. Finally, stir in flour and pour it all into the tin. Bake in oven for about 30 – 40 minutes at 175ºC. Take it out, leave it for a day and serve with butter.

If you want to know more about real pirate life, here are a few places you can look:

National Maritime Museum – Pirates


You can find out what crew were on board a pirate ship and what their jobs were here:

Positions and Duties on Board a Pirate Ship

Maybe you could appoint members of your class to each position and turn your classroom into a ship using chairs and other props.

We have copious amounts of face paints you can use to get the kids really in the mood. And to finish off the look, why not have a go at making these eye patches?

Have fun!

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