Scan Magazine, Issue 85, February 2016

Page 26

Scan Magazine | Special Feature | The Nordic Cookbook

Between candour and nostalgia: a love letter to Nordic food He is the quirky northerner who found his own way to chef stardom, finding a home in a 24,000-acre estate now known as the world’s most remote restaurant. Magnus Nilsson’s The Nordic Cookbook paints a picture not just of a region rich in culinary traditions, but also of a fearless foodie with a sharp pen and a deeply admirable conviction. By Linnea Dunne | Photos: Erik Olsson

“To write a book like this is not only impossible, it doesn’t make sense, I heard myself saying to the publisher who pitched me the idea. I don’t consider myself to be Nordic; I am, in fact, Swedish or possibly Jämtlandian. I think most other people living in the Nordic region feel the same. We identify ourselves with the country we are from, not with the region that place happens to be considered part of. We don’t like them becoming all lumped into one.” 26 | Issue 85 | February 2016

The first paragraph of Magnus Nilsson’s The Nordic Cookbook reveals a great deal about the master chef: firstly, that he can really write; secondly, that he is unapologetically frank; and, moreover, that he is not taking the task of writing a Nordic cookbook lightly. Doing so, he goes on to suggest, would be like writing a European cookbook covering the culinary traditions of Estonia, France and Portugal in one. As such, the task must be to explain not just how sim-

ilar Nordic cultures are, but also how they differ. In the remainder of the seven-page preface, the reader learns that the author fell into a rabbit hole of research, studying a total of 400 books on the subject of Nordic cuisine, including everything from a 1755 collection of housekeeping tips for women, to a brand new volume on Scandinavian baking. His conclusion? That of what has been published in English about Nordic cooking to date, “most of it really sucks”. A few web polls later, Nilsson realised that the Nordic nations had more in common than he had anticipated and set out to focus on these shared values. He went off on a two-year research ad-

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.