Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cooking of Scandinavia

One of the most prized items I got at the junk store was a book, "The Cooking of Scandinavia". It is, as you can imagine, not a bulky tome, but impressive nonetheless. How could you not love a cookbook that says, about a certain kind of cheese, "It's sharp flavor and strong aroma were enough to jounce the brain and startle the heart".

I shudder to think that people in Scandinavia really eat this stuff, because it would be a very, very good reason to never, ever go there.

Among other offerings are recipes for jellied salmon with mayonnaise (don't skip the mayo! Jellied salmon is gross without it!), smoked and fried salmon fins, deep-fried parsley and something called "spaghetti and mayonnaise salad with diced ham and tongue". (I swear to God I'm not making this up. I wish I were.)

This book contains copious, numerous, and infinite ways to prepare herring: , marinated herring, home-cured herring, smoked herring, herring au gratin, and my favorite, glass blower's herring, which I hope involves a huge fire and a large straw
.Here is the front cover of the book, which instantly caught my eye. That is a lurid photo of a big vat of raw fish skin, red onion slices and chopped up carrots. Seriously, that is the best image they could come up with which to advertise their wares? I'll bet it's herring in there. Thankfully, there is a glass of aquavit handy, because you are going to need plenty of that stuff if you are going to tackle the food around here.
There was a big section on sandwiches, and I'm not sure why. Don't people eat sandwiches precisely because you don't need a recipe for one? I suppose if you need to make one out of herring, you do. Also, I'm not sure I would have thought of making lunch out of flaccid chicken skin, an orange and some monkey testicles all by myself.

This was on the facing page. Just in case the last one didn't make you nauseous enough. There appear to be sandwiches featuring raw beef and squid, seal meat with scrambled eggs and alien's tentacles with mozzarella. And don't forget the blue cheese with raw egg yolk. Or an apricot, it's hard to tell. Anyway, they all look vile, and are bound to make one rethink their "Scandinavian themed baby-shower" right smart.
This was labelled as a dessert, which is a little odd for a dish that resembles an organ transplant, but whatever. The splash of cream up in the top does nothing to offset the "AB Positive" aspect of the dish.
The also have a recipe for "Caramelized Potatoes" which is so wrong on so many levels, I cannot begin to articulate it. Believe me, being Irish, this recipe is painful for me to read.
There is also an entry for "Liver and Rice Casserole". It calls for "1 1/2 pounds of beef liver, finely ground". I can barely type that sentence, the image is just that horrible. (Thankfully, there was no picture.) "Norwegian Fish Pudding" sounds like something out of a Monty Python skit.
It is a magnificent book, and a steal of a deal at only a dollar. I wonder how much herring I can get for that.

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