This week I received the great news that the publisher of a Swedish cookbook from the 1980’s/ early 1990’s will allow me to scan it and publish it online. The reason I want to do this is because a relative of mine (the aunt of my father) contributed with some recipes in this cookbook. It’s a nice document of what people used to cook and bake in the countryside in Sweden during this time, what was popular and what was considered fancy to serve your guests.
Since the book was published by a small congregation in a small village in Småland I don’t think that many copies exist of it in the first place. Digitizing it will make it available to more people and preserve it for the future. (Did I say I have a degree in Archival and Information science? Finally I’m getting some use for my “proper” training.) It also gives me the chance to try out a bunch of recipes to see what has stood the test of time and what really feels outdated.
The popular Swedish blog Den bruna maten (The brown food) was created some years ago for the purpose of cooking recipes from 1970’s recipe cards. A lot of what was considered innovative or cool at the time is looked upon with horror today. The recipes in the book I have seem a lot more appealing and tasty and my aim is definitely not to produce a horror show of weirdo cooking or making fun of the inventors in the way they did in Den bruna maten.
Quite the opposite – I want to show what people found festive a few decades ago and that many of these recipes are enjoyable today as well. Some of them are true classics and I hope this project will be a nice addition to the upswing in interest for traditional cooking which we have seen in the last years.
Since the recipes are in Swedish I will translate them as a complement to the scanned original pages. I hope that this will give some inspiration and insights to people outside of Sweden to want to try “traditional” Swedish cooking. I say “traditional” because several of the dishes takes inspiration from other cultures – something that became more common during this time and to be honest, what was considered traditional at that time actually took a lot of inspiration from French and German cooking already.
For instance you can take a look at Hemmets Kokbok from the early 1900’s. In this cookbook a huge amount of the inspiration was taken from the French cuisine and this, of course, influenced the cooking in general in Sweden, partially because the book was used as a textbook in houshold management schools. In my opinion, food at its best is a living and breathing exchange of culture and ideas and the book I will be scanning and translating is a nice imprint of what was going on in Sweden during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
My aim will be to publish one recipe every other week, sometimes every week. With a total of over 200 recipes this means I have material for quite some time to come.
I’m really looking forward to trying out these recipes. Some of them I already know well since I grew up with them while other recipes and techniques will be new to me. (Finally an “excuse” to make my own Cheescake/Curd cake of Småland!) Some things I will have to look for in advance such as moose meat, but the rest I should be able to get hold of here in Germany.
Hope you will join me on the journey and try out some Swedish food you too!