Faviken. By Magnus Nilsson. Phaidon Press, 2012. 272 pages.
Review by Matt Miller, senior science writer
Faviken may be a cookbook, but it’s more entertaining than most novels. It’s the first title by Magnus Nilsson, the highly regarded and hyper-locavore chef who has built a gourmet restaurant in remote, rural Sweden.
Despite a sub-arctic climate, Nilsson’s restaurant features only ingredients that are grown, raised, hunted or gathered on immediate or nearby properties.
A lot of the recipes are wildly impractical (fried thrush heads, anyone?), but the writing is so damn enjoyable that I found myself reading it cover to cover.
Nilsson offers two pages on how to respectfully peel a carrot. He proposes a meat-eating license similar to a driver’s license (to qualify, you’d have to kill and butcher an animal so you know your dinner’s true costs).
But he also gives solid advice on shooting grouse. He eats lichens and fermented fish and raw hearts and songbirds and flour made from pine trees.
And he has fun.
Faviken shows that whatever argument you make for local food, the strongest is this: it is delicious and diverse, which translates into more enjoyable meals, and a more enjoyable life.
If you agree with that philosophy, you’ll love Nilsson, and his beautiful, and beautifully written, book.