Sunday, October 26, 2014

North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland

North: The New Nordic Cuisine of IcelandNorth: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Gíslason

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

To me, cookbooks should be about usefulness. Anything else is usually just a bonus. This book is very beautiful and has some wonderful anecdotes and interviews, but the recipes are not very utilitarian. Here's what you need to know if you are considering buying this book:

Most of the recipes in this book require you to make part of it ahead of time, usually an oil or dairy sauce, some of it needing a day or weeks.
Many recipes require ingredients that are obscure and difficult to find. I spent a great deal of time searching the internet for substitute ingredients for those I could not find, and I did look in many different stores.
Not all the equipment used to make these dishes was familiar to me, that's not to say that I have an extremely extensive knowledge of kitchen equipment or gadgets.
I'm confident this is not your everyday Icelandic food cookbook. It would be great if you want to make a meal that will make an impression on dinner guests, but not so much for everyday use.

I did make one recipe from the book, it's really the only one I felt I could even attempt and, even then, I modified it quite a bit.
I made the fried goose breasts. My dad had just happened to get a freezer full of goose from a hunting buddy of his wo it worked out quite well in that regard. Unfortunately, I didn't really study the recipe itself ahead of time, just the ingredient list. I didn't realize I needed to make one of the oils a day in advance so I had to fudge that a bit. I'd also never heard of an immersion circulator so I did not attempt the celery root puree. Despite all this, the goose turned out very good. I might make this again if I wanted to make something that looked fancy but otherwise I probably would make something more simple. I didn't time how long it took, but it was somewhere in the one-two hour range.

All in all, a very beautiful book but only useful for special occasions.

This review is based on a free copy received from It no way influenced this review.

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