Food & Drinks

Magnus Nilsson Wants Your Help for His New Book

By FDL on

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Magnus Nilsson Wants Your Help for His New Book
Photo @R_J_King

The Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson is looking for peoples suggestions to help compile a recipe list for his new book focusing on the food and culture of the eight Nordic Countries.

Nilsson will release the book with Phaidon, publishing in 2015, and he's keen to tell the world that it's not a 'chefy book' and it's certainly not a recipe book.

Nilsson is looking to mix a personal travelogue with recipes, history, traditions and cultures, taking on the mammoth task of making the world's first extensive collection of information cuisine from all the Nordic countries.

As he explained to FDL: "Most of the books published in the last 20-years have been a collection of recipes that haven't been that extensive and there has been nothing that explains the context and the history and culture of the eight Nordic countries. People don't even know there are eight.

"It's a big project but today with all the attention that has focused on cooking in the Nordic regions it seems logical to me that there should be a book telling the story of our history and culture."

A project that will take the chef two years and one that he is not approaching lightly, exemplified in the sheer scale of the book, as he told FDL: "You will have 12,000 recipes collected partly through a poll on a website allowing people to participate. I will also have one person in each country that is an expert in the culture of their country. They will act as coeditors and help me meet the right people when I travel. They're also going to look through what I produce and make sure it's all correct, something truly representative.

"At the end we will have a professor of ethnology at the University of Sweden who will go through and make sure everything is historically correct."

The chef hopes that the finished document will become a reference book on Nordic cuisine presenting what is a fascinating food culture to a wider audience. He will also be showing off one of his other passions for the first time taking all the non food pictures in the book. As he explained: "I will be taking all the photographs myself. I've been photographing for a long time I just haven't published much."

It's an interesting idea and one we are certainly looking forward to at FDL HQ. With Nilsson already having a great knowledge of Nordic food, culture, history and cuisine, it's surely going to teach us all some interesting things about this exciting part of the world.  

A job of educating that Nilsoon seems more than happy to take, even taking the time to teach FDL something new: "Sweden is the largest consumer of Cardamon for example, there is so much more diversity in the Nordic regions than people expect...Sweden, Denmark and Norway all used to be big trading countries, hundreds of years ago, and many of the foods we consider traditional today are actually spicy.

"It really interests me - there is so many cultural exptressions that are still alive. I want to pick up a lot of new knowledge. It's already a personal interest for me and it's a way for me to accumulate even more information, something that's already benefiting the restaurant."

People who want to offer their own suggestions and references on the history, recipes, tradition or cultures attached to Nordic cuisine can do so over at The Nordic Cookbook website.

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