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The Scandinavian Cookbook
By Trina Hahnemann; photos by Lars Ranek
ISBN: 0740780948
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication date: April 2009
Format: Hardcover
List price: $29.99 
Type: Ethnic: Scandinavian
Sample recipe: Chanterelle, Bacon, and Plum Salad with Blue Cheese
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: If we wrote a Scandinavian cookbook and organized the recipes by month, we're not sure we would start it in cold, dark January – we would probably opt for a fiscal culinary year and start with summer's bounty. But we're also not sure we could produce such a beautiful, inspiring book. The recipes and photos (of food and scenery) are equally gorgeous.

It is not all herring and lingonberries, but being a Scandinavian cookbook, there is certainly a lot of seafood. But there are pastries, roasts, salads, soups, vegetables, delicious desserts, etc. – really a huge amount of variety from a region where you might not expect so much variety.

There is also a recipe here and there for moose, pheasant, reindeer and a few other hard-to-find ingredients, but in general, the ingredient search won't have you heading for the Arctic Circle. A certain amount of raw egg is used, if that sort of thing bothers you (the book suggests you use pasteurized eggs, which may not be much easier to find than a bit of reindeer).

There are a very few issues related to translation, measurements, and proofreading: a meatball recipe calls for lingonsylt, while the accompanying recipe is for Cowberry (lingonberry) Compote. One assumes they are meant to be the same thing, but that is not quite clear. The beautiful Rhubarb Trifle says it serves 6, but you are instructed to spoon it into 4 bowls. In the photo of braised potatoes, they appear to be cut, but there is nothing in the instructions about cutting.

Otherwise it's a beautiful book for the kitchen or coffee table.


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