Book Week: Magnus Nilsson’s ‘Faviken’

July 2, 2013

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Chef Magnus Nilsson. Photo: Flickr user Bruno Cordioli under a Creative Commons license.
Chef Magnus Nilsson. Photo: Flickr user Bruno Cordioli under a Creative Commons license.

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.

Opinions expressed on Cool Green Science and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.
Matt Miller

Matt Miller is director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy and editor of the Cool Green Science blog. A lifelong naturalist and outdoor enthusiast, he has covered stories on science and nature around the globe. Matt has worked for the Conservancy for the past 14 years, previously serving as director of communications for the Idaho program. More from Matt

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