Scandinavian Recipes is the cookbook of my childhood. My mom had a copy, I have a copy, my nephew recently sent me my late sister’s copy which I read through to see her additions. My sister wrote her krumkake recipe inside the back cover. It uses ¼ cup less sugar. The recipe I use, from this book, uses 1 cup of sugar to make 80 krumkake. Reading this got me remembering all the wonderful dishes and missing my krumkake iron. PRO-TIP: Never lend anyone your krumkake iron.
The cookbook has seven sections: Breads, Rolls, and Griddle Cakes; Cakes and Cookies; Desserts; Meats and Fish; Soups and Porridge; Miscellaneous Recipes; and Smörgåsbord. Smörgåsbord is the delightful array of preserved meats, pickled meats, cheese, vegetables, and flavored butters and condiments that you pile onto open face sandwiches made with deep, nearly black rye bread, crispy wheat or rye crackers, or other delicious and savory breads.
Smörgåsbord was what we ate for lunch. Mom would put out a plate of her bran bread, maybe some knäckebröd, lefse or rye crisps. Then there would be summer sausage, liverwurst, pickled fish (usually pickled crappie, not herring), pickled beets, just plain pickles, hard-boiled eggs, sliced onions, tomatoes, and whatever…it varied. We would each build our own.
My favorite recipes are the Kaffe-Kage (coffee cake) that uses only ¼ cup of butter, much less than the usual cup in American coffee cakes. There’s the recipe for rusks, which Mom would make if someone was sick. Swedish pancakes, potato cakes, oatmeal bread, lefse and rye bread are all family favorites. The Cake and Cookies chapter has the anise cookies my sister made for Christmas every year. The fattigmand, rosettes, sand bakkels, sprits, and peberkager, and of course, the krumkake. In Desserts, the recipe for the Rosiner Grøt (Raisin Pudding)I absolutely hated.
Meat and Fish has Swedish meatballs, of course, but also my Aunt Lillian’s blood sausage, the potato dumplings my sister-in-law would make, the stuffed cabbage I like to cook, and the fiskboller Mom would make from what my dad caught in the lake, and of course the Lutefisk that everybody seemed to love, it baffled me why. There’s potato soup in here, too, but Mom’s was better. She used ham instead of bacon and added bay leaf and paprika, otherwise it’s the same. There’s the potato pancake recipe that defines excellence for all eternity. There’s also the Cheese Straws that will end any infatuation you may have with cheese curls, super easy and so delicious, especially if you do what my mom used to do and add just a bit of paprika and cayenne. I am sure if you saw her copy of Scandinavian Recipes, she would have a note next to the recipe.
There are lots of Scandinavian cookbooks. I have several, from this old classic to books on Fika (Swedish Coffee Culture) and Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine which I must review here one of these days, but of all of them, there is no book more important and dear to my heart as this one.
My copy was printed in 1956, my sister’s in 1944. Mine has a white cover with green print, her’s is the one you see here. Other than that they are identical. The original price on her copy is 30 cents and it was in its sixth printing from the original release in 1940. It’s on its 36th printing now, this cookbook that keeps tradition alive in Minnesota. She’s from Deer Creek, a town we would drive through on the way to visit my great-aunt.
Scandinavian Recipes at Bethany Housewares (#100)
Julia Peterson Tufford at ABE Books