Nordic Cooking: Fire + Ice


Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, by Darra Goldstein

I checked out this new cookbook from our local library, but I’m going to buy the book because it was so painful to return; during the three-week period of time this beautiful book was under my care, it came to feel like it belonged to me!

I have always been drawn to Scandinavia. My paternal grandmother’s parents came over to America from Sweden, and I have their wedding picture (below) hanging in our living room that I often stare at, wondering about who they were and what their lives were like before coming to this country.


They eventually had a huge family and though their Swedish traditions were gradually lost over the years, I still remember having some sort of not-too-sweet Swedish cookie at family reunions, the likes of which a friendly local baker at Blueprint Coffee Abi Svoboda makes from her Swedish family’s recipes (try her cardamom sweet rolls served only on the weekends at Blueprint on Delmar — you won’t be disappointed!). There is something similar in this cookbook, but don’t be fooled — the book is so much more than a collection of recipes, it is a celebration of Nordic life.


Fire + Ice defies the stereotypical “ew” factor so often associated with Nordic cuisine, going beyond rotten shark or Surströmming (fermented Baltic herring) and brings more modern dishes to light while still holding strong traditions, flavors, and ingredients of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. I’m dying to try this chanterelle soup with its cream, butter, onion, and parsley (allowing the delicate flavor of the mushrooms to take center stage):


And also the Salt-and-Sugar-Cured Salmon, which sounds amazing with the flavors of coriander, dill, and white pepper:


There are so many amazing recipes in this book that are just begging to be made! Also, I’m thinking my boys would get a kick out of trying some of the more adventurous cuisine. Andrew is headed to Finland this summer (where “everyman’s rights” ensure equal access to the woods and waters of the country — everyone is allowed to walk and forage freely, as long as they respect nature — my dream come true!). I couldn’t be more envious. But for now, I’ll settle for the photos and tastes from afar.

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  1. That sounds like a wonderful trip. One of my favorite visiting studio professors at Wash U was from Finland, and all our projects that year were set in Finland, so we became really familiar with the cities and the countryside. My college roommate lived in Copenhagen, and I’d really love to travel there at some point.

    Our best friends are heading to Sweden for 2.5 weeks (and a little Norway) in a few weeks. The families we group camp with twice a year have connections to Sweden – three of the moms are all Swedish, and they married American or English or Indian men and now live here in the states. I love seeing their pictures when they travel home to visit family a few times a year. Such beautiful landscapes. Sweden has the same sort of freedom rights for camping and hiking. Hawai’i has something similar too. I think it’s wonderful.

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