Thursday, January 11, 2007
Cookbook Watch: Husmanskost
Husmanskost is a Swedish word, meaning traditional home cooking, sort of. It's not easy to translate, and actually, it's not so very easy to know what it means, either. Everyone has their own definition of what's Husmanskost, and what's not. But basically, old Swedish dishes are, and new Swedish dishes are not. I don't know many people that actually cook Husmanskost on a regular basis - it's not very "in" and not something you'd choose for a dinner party. But maybe that's about to change?
There's a recent cookbook with this title, by Swedish chef Leif Mannerström. It came out this fall, and is only available in Swedish. Which is a pity, because if there was ever a good book written about classical Swedish cooking, this is probably it. It'd be great for translation! But for those of you who do read Swedish - if you like classic food, and especially fish, give this book a chance. Mannerström is a bit biased towards fish, not surprisingly given his hugely successful fish and seafood restaurant in Gothenburg (Sjömagasinet), but it's of course also true that fish is fairly prominent in Swedish cooking.
You'll find classical recipes for things like Laxpudding (Salmon Pudding), Oxsvansragu (Oxtail Ragu), Stekt sill med Löksås (Fried Herring with Onion Sauce) and Kalvfrikadeller i Currysås (Veal Meatballs in Curry Sauce). And many, many more. It's a massive book, with gorgeous pictures of all the recipes. What I miss, however, are chapters. There are no chapters at all, and recipes seem to be tossed in randomly rather than in some kind of order. There's a good index, but still - it annoys me and I don't really understand the reason for structuring a book like this.
But, this is the only gripe I have with this book. It's a nice read - Mannerström adds little personal stories to most recipes - and it's very inspiring. I'm looking forward to using this book to cook more classic dishes - it's a nice challenge for me.
You can find this book for a nice price at AdLibris, a Swedish online book store.