cover image Faviken


Magnus Nilsson. Phaidon, $49.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7148-6470-9

Phaidon, lately, has led the way in quirky, uniquely designed, international cookbooks. The press raises the bar dramatically here with 100 recipes taken from Fäviken Magasinet, a restaurant in a remote area of Sweden, some 375 miles north of Stockholm, that serves only 12 people a day, but is fast becoming a bastion of New Nordic Cuisine, thanks to head chef Nilsson. Perhaps as much necessity as trend, sustainable dining is at the heart of his approach. Entries primarily consist of very small plates with very long names such as “Rose fish, coarsely chopped pieces of its liver and raw langoustine stirred with really good butter, lichens and a broth of forest floor” or “Grilled pine mushrooms, vinegar matured in the burned-out trunk of a spruce tree.” If a spruce trunk is unavailable, do not fear. It is made clear that most of the offerings are simply suggestions, and cooking times and measurements are just guideposts for readers to find their own variations: “Just pick a spoon that seems right and go for it.” In his introduction, Bill Buford writes of “an air of unworldly disconnect,” and indeed it’s a palpable feeling moving through these pages, dense with the history of the foods and landscapes that are Nilsson’s métier, and accented with 150 full-page photos of animals grazing, or of foodstuffs on a simple white plate set upon a simple wood table. (Oct.)