Phaidon.com hooked up with Fäviken's Magnus Nilsson recently and he told us about the new book he’s beginning to scope out. From what he tells us it's going to be a fantastic overview of Nordic cuisine - a subject very close to Magnus's heart and something he says he's wanted to write in depth about for many years. It’s at the very early stages right now – Magnus is just starting on his research – but he wanted us to share the information with Phaidon readers.
“The idea is that there has been nothing comprehensive published in English on Nordic cooking, basically ever,” he told us. “There have been books about Scandinavian cooking or on national cooking back in the 1970s but nothing since then. And everyone confuses the countries and the regions and no one really understands how diverse it all is. So I'm aiming to show all that with this new book.”
The initial plan is for the book to feature around 1,000 recipes from all the countries. “The difference between this and other recipe books is that it’s going to have a lot of narrative text about the history, how the countries are connected to each other, how they are different to each other and it will present that information in the shape of a travelogue format which will be written by me,” Magnus says.
For the first stage of the research he’ll set up a website which will feature a questionnaire aimed at food lovers living in the Nordic countries. On it they’ll be able to share what they think is important about the food culture of their region.
“I think it’s important with a book like this that it doesn’t become like a museum where you have all the classics that people don’t cook anymore,” Magnus said. “Of course, they should be there but it should also be what people think is important themselves and what they want to represent their culture.”
Magnus will be travelling to each of the countries on his research missions and Phaidon.com will be with him every stretch of the way, updating you on his travels that week. “There’s going to be one expert in each country helping me find the good stuff and to make sure that the end resulting recipes are correct and that they contain everything they should. At the end of the research and writing an ethnologist in Sweden who specialises in the meal and the history of the meal will go through the book with me,” he adds.
We’ll be bringing you other snippets from our conversation with Magnus in the coming weeks on Phaidon.com - including some great stories about his childhood experiences with food in Sweden - before starting our travel journal with him later this year. Stay tuned. But for now, get up to speed on this extraordinary chef with our wonderful book Fäviken. And be sure to check out our other online content with Magnus.