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Modern Swedish Cookbook

by Anna Olsson Coombs

Although this book is titled “The Modern Swedish Cookbook,” Anna Olsson Coombes makes it clear in her introduction that she is not interested in producing new recipes. Rather, she wishes to rediscover old-fashioned ones that have been around for centuries to inspire a new generation of home cooks. Originally written in 1947, Coombes observes how the customs of Swedish cuisine might provide a ‘convivial’ but simple way of preparing and enjoying food, which might have functioned to liven spirits in a postwar American society. 


Altogether a delightful cookbook, Coombes achieved her goal of educating her American audience on Swedish food traditions. The concept of a smorgasbord, or a variety of dishes that come together on a single table in a buffet-like style, carries through in the recipes that she records. Further, she stays true to the classic dishes of Sweden, often featuring a number of different fishes, which is a popular ingredient because of the country’s fishing history. As a result, this book has done an amazing job at reflecting on the past and showcasing the flavors of Sweden.

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