Book Review: The Scandinavian Cookbook

Every Wednesday I review a cookbook to help weed out the good the bad and the ugly. This week I am reviewing The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann.  When I saw this book I had to have it.  Being Scandinavian in descent, I wanted to learn more about traditional Scandinavian cooking.  Yes, I am Swedish.  Hej – (“hello”).  This book covers recipes from all over Scandinavia, from Denmark to Norway and yes Sweden.

This cookbook is organized very differently than most. Actually, it is organized in a unique and extremely cool way. It is organized by month of the year, and the different types of food that you would eat during each month. Not just comfort food, but by the types of food that are in season. Seasonal cooking is a great to way to help the environment. Fresh corn shouldn’t be available in the winter. If it is, it has been shipped from halfway around the globe to your table. There is a lot of energy wasted in shipping food. Enough of me preaching, back to the book.

The cookbook starts out in January and goes through the months all the way to December. Along with the recipes there are a ton of great photographs of the food and seasonal pictures from all around Scandinavia. The photographs are amazing. Lars Renek is the man behind the beautiful photographs in this book. Bravo, Lars! Bravo! Even if I couldn’t read, this book would be amazing because of the photographs.

The recipes are equally amazing. A lot of the recipes are for Smørrebrød which are Danish open faced sandwiches.  They are preferably made with rye bread and are served with aquavit and beer.  They had me at sandwich and only sweetened the deal with the aquavit and beer.  The Smørrebrød come in all different types.  From flounder and shrimp with basil dressing to chicken and lovage salad.  I must admit, I had no idea what lovage was.  Lovage is a perrenial plant that resembles celery.  My favorite Smørrebrød that was in the book had to be the smoked cheese salad on rye.  Wow, a cheese salad.  The cheese used in the book is rygeost which is a soft smoked cheese from Denmark, but they say you can substitute smoked ricotta.  Along with cheese it uses a lot of the same ingredients that you would put into a tuna or chicken salad, but you substitute cheese for protein.  Amazing!  Why didn’t I think of this.  Scandinavian people are awesome!

The book also covers seasonal drinks.  From hot chocolate in the winter to red currant and strawberry smoothies in the summer.  Not all of the drinks are alcohol free.  Take for instance the elderflower cordial that utilizes fresh elderflowers picked when they bloom in June.  The elderflower cordial is diluted with champagne for a fresh taste of summer.

Being a Scandinavian cookbook there are plenty of seafood recipes.  There are recipes for almost every type of seafood.  From flounder to salmon to mussels to lumpfish roe.  I love seafood and usually find myself preparing most of it the same way.  For some reason when it comes to seafood, I am not creative.  This book has sparked my interest.  There is a recipe in here for cauliflower soup with grilled scallops.  The creamy cauliflower soup with the smokey grilled scallops topped with lemon, sounds delicious.  I am totally going to make this and post about it.

In all, I loved this book.  I love that it is organized by month and by what is in season.  It totally takes the guess work out of what to cook.  Open the book, turn to the current month, and make something amazing.  Although the cauliflower soup is listed in November, all of the ingredients are in season here in Washington, D.C.  It is my lucky day.  I would totally recommend picking up this book.  The recipes, pictures and stories are worth it.   Trina Hahnemann has written a great book.

The Scandinavian Cookbook is available wherever books are sold and is available on Amazon here.

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