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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic
Oh Yeah! Good book for the WOW cook. It has healthy and spectacular ideas - we have hundreds of cookbooks and this one is terrific and will be treasured. We have cooked several things and they are very unique. Nothing run of the mill here. when you get a book like this and you want to try everything then you have something very special.
Published 13 days ago by Stephen Headford

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I really wanted to like this cookbook, being so pretty and with such flattering reviews here. The chef has an attractive story, and the concept of haute scandinavian fusion is fascinating in itself.
But this book unfortunately commits many of the sins common in these glossies; for instance, food styling where the stylist takes liberties with the recipe, making one...
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by peederj


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5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, April 6 2014
By 
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This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
Oh Yeah! Good book for the WOW cook. It has healthy and spectacular ideas - we have hundreds of cookbooks and this one is terrific and will be treasured. We have cooked several things and they are very unique. Nothing run of the mill here. when you get a book like this and you want to try everything then you have something very special.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, Jan. 8 2004
By 
peederj (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
I really wanted to like this cookbook, being so pretty and with such flattering reviews here. The chef has an attractive story, and the concept of haute scandinavian fusion is fascinating in itself.
But this book unfortunately commits many of the sins common in these glossies; for instance, food styling where the stylist takes liberties with the recipe, making one feel inept trying to match the picture. I'm learning things from it, but mostly in the negative. The recipes are incomplete.
The food itself is immature compared to chefs of greater experience. It takes a while to understand this, but I can almost tell how mature a chef is from their food. Samuelsson's food today reminds me of the young Vongerichten's "Simple Cuisine" compared to the food he makes today. The balances are overblown, with a childish affinity for sweetness. There's all sorts of refinements left to understand. I imagine Samuelsson will mature into a great chef, but what you're getting today is like the impulsive work of art students rather than masterpieces.
And today's impatient society encourages, if not forces, these budding talents to expose themselves like this, giving them a false sense of victory instead of the virtues of enduring legacy won through decades of disciplined refinement.
We have a young chef here in San Francisco who gives me an idea what's going on with Samuelsson (I've never been to Aquavit or Riingo so I have to draw analogies). He's won all these "young chef of the year" awards for his restaurant "Isa". But Isa isn't even the second best restaurant on his little block of the Marina. What's happening is the chef is an attractive person, the spin is crafty, and food writers, we must remind ourselves, are writers first and food experts second.
So hype and show and raw freneticism count for a lot in this glamour-focused business. If you want a picture book that looks intriguing on your coffee table but you never actually cook out of it, this is a good choice. There are much better, if uglier, works available for actually preparing memorable meals.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for a cook, July 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
This book is not for someone who likes to cook, but for someone who "collects" cookbooks. It is glossy, expensive, with photographs of finished products that do not convey anything about a dish, except that the photographer is rather artistic without any knowledge of cooking skills. Description of techniques is neither for a professional, nor for a home cook. A way better investment for someone who likes cooking and wants to try real Scandinavian cuisine would be any book of Beatrice Ojakangas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, Sept. 25 2006
By 
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
Wow, what a wonderful introduction to a cuisine that has always seemed so mysterious. Marcus and his photographer have done an outstanding job! The book is beautifully illustrated and the ingredients have been adapted so that they should be easier to obtain in North America. I can't wait to try the recipes -- even the mix of spices needed to create the dishes have been included. If you've ever had the desire to learn about African/Caribbean cuisine and to create some of the local dishes, then this is the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, bringing Swedish food into the spotlight!, April 30 2004
By 
"none007" (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
If you have ever eaten at Aquavit in New York, you know how hard it is to resist buying this gorgeous cookbook. If the meals at the restaurant can be created to be even half as amazing at home, the book is weel worth its cost!
Luckily, they have turned out to be extremely successful in my own kitchen. And, might I add, most of them are far easier to make than they appear. I love this book and appreciate the chef's work so much that it blows my mind when I read some of the criticism in the reviews.
First of all, this book is so beautiful that I keep it in a bookshelf in the living room, not the kitchen. The pictures are so lovely but at the same time might intimidate certain readers who fear they won't be able to recreate the image. To this I have to say: "It's ok. You aren't putting the meal into a book to be published and you're not serving it to paying customers... It's allowed to look different, as long as it still tastes good." Samuelsson is a chef. The food is on a different level than that of Ina Garten, Rachel Ray or Nigella Lawson (as much as I like all of them.) Some of these recipes will take a bit more effort, but many you can make with very little effort! The soups, roast chicken, meatballs, salads, and many main courses are not as difficult as they appear.
Another gripe I've read in other reviews is that the recipes are not as much Scandinavian as they are Asian. Whoever said this knows very little about Swediesh food! As a Swede, I found all of the recipes to be based in strong Swedish tradition. But like the title says, it's the NEW Scandinavian cuisine, melded with tastes from all over the world. Ingredients like curry, have been used in Northern Europe for centuries now.
This book has brought a lot of joy to our home. The pictures and tastes make us homesick! His food is authentic and groundbreaking at once and I believe Marcus Samuelsson deserves all the praise he has received.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous recipes, April 25 2004
By 
Barry Svee (Minnetonka, MN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
What I like most about this book is that I can prepare sophisticated meals with it without committing my entire day to the menu. I have the French Laundry cookbook, for example, yet I don't use it because of the enormous time commitment required by most recipes. Although none of the recipes in Samuelsson's book are meals-in-thirty-minutes, I can actually prepare them in a reasonable amount of time but have the kind of entree that I would often order in a restaurant. The outcome so far has always been wonderful and impressive.
I agree with other reviewers that the recipes in this book are more Asian fusion than Scandinavian, especially with such ingredients as rice wine vinegar, miso, and cardamom pods. Still, the recipes are fantastic, especially the seafood recipes. This book is a must for anyone who enjoys modern California and Asian style cuisine.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this cookbook., March 6 2004
By 
Dave Faris (Virginia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
The description, plus all the things I'd read about it, made it seem like it was not only full of great scandanavian recipes, but beautiful to behold.
As it ended up, none of the recipes really seemed to grab me enough to make me want to make them.
All flash, no sizzle.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, Jan. 8 2004
By 
peederj (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
I really wanted to like this cookbook, being so pretty and with such flattering reviews here. The chef has an attractive story, and the concept of haute scandinavian fusion is fascinating in itself.
But this book unfortunately commits many of the sins common in these glossies; for instance, food styling where the stylist takes liberties with the recipe, making one feel inept trying to match the picture. I'm learning things from it, but mostly in the negative. The recipes are incomplete.
The food itself is immature compared to chefs of greater experience. It takes a while to understand this, but I can almost tell how mature a chef is from their food. Samuelsson's food today reminds me of the young Vongerichten's "Simple Cuisine" compared to the food he makes today. The balances are overblown, with a childish affinity for sweetness. There's all sorts of refinements left to understand. I imagine Samuelsson will mature into a great chef, but what you're getting today is like the impulsive work of art students rather than masterpieces.
And today's impatient society encourages, if not forces, these budding talents to expose themselves like this, giving them a false sense of victory instead of the virtues of enduring legacy won through decades of disciplined refinement.
We have a young chef here in San Francisco who gives me an idea what's going on with Samuelsson (I've never been to Aquavit or Riingo so I have to draw analogies). He's won all these "young chef of the year" awards for his restaurant "Isa". But Isa isn't even the second best restaurant on his little block of the Marina. What's happening is the chef is an attractive person, the spin is crafty, and food writers, we must remind ourselves, are writers first and food experts second.
So hype and show and raw freneticism count for a lot in this glamour-focused business. If you want a picture book that looks intriguing on your coffee table but you never actually cook out of it, this is a good choice. There are much better, if uglier, works available for actually preparing memorable meals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Salmon, Dill, Mustard, Glogg, and More Salmon. Very Delish, Dec 17 2003
By 
B. Marold "Bruce W. Marold" (Bethlehem, PA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
James Beard Award winning New York chef Marcus Samuelsson has headlined the writing of this book of his 'New Scandinavian Cuisine' and the food of the restaurant of the same name 'Aquavit'. This book is a coffee table foodie picture and recipe book in the same style as Eric Rippert's 'Return To Cooking' and Thomas Keller's 'French Laundry Cookbook'. The price is a typically high $45. The big question is whether the acoutrements attached to the recipes make it worth more than a $30 cookbook. It is also a valid question to ask if it is worth $30 as a cookbook alone.
I think the answer to the second question is a solid 'Yes'. The cuisine and the recipes are interesting, inviting, and accessible to the average home cook. Samuelsson makes it clear from the subtitle of his book that he is spicing up the usual Swedish meatballs and gravlax with fusion elements. The surprise is that middle eastern spices arrived in Swedish cuisine several centuries ago through the Swedish East India Company trade between India and Stockholm.
The book has thirteen chapters, mixing conventional with unconventional recipe categories. These are:
The Raw and the Cured is preparations of uncooked salmon, herring, tuna, bass, char, cod, duck, and beef.
Bites, Snacks, and Little Plates, appetizers and hors d'oeuvres
Sandwiches, more gravlax, plus wraps and crispbread
Salads, fairly conventional root vegetables, seafood, and trendy greens. Still delish.
Soups, with mushroom consomme, yellow split pea, chicken soup, and smoked salmon
Fish and Shellfish with char, snapper, halibut, cod, monkfish, sea bass, tuna, lobster, and more salmon
Birds, Meat, and Game with recipes using coffee, Glogg, lots of mustard, and fruit
Sides with lots of Mediterranean, Korean, Central Asian, and Northern European representatives,plus lots of mustard and even more smoked salmon.
Crackers and Breads with typical Swedish flatbread, potato mustard seed bread, and bread with blueberries.
Jams, Salsas, and Chutneys with mustard, berries, horseradish, and mangos
Desserts with lots of unusual berries and candied beets, citrus, and ginger.
Drinks with Aquavit, berrry liqueur, and glogg (a wine, spice, fruit, and sugar holiday drink)
Some of the most interesting recipes are for Crispy Salmon Skin, Slow Roasted Turkey Wings, Tuna Burger with Cabbage Tzatziki, Salsify Cappuccino, Seared Tuna and Sfcallops with Soy Beurre Blanc, Prune-Stuffed Rack of Lamb, Crispy Duck (breasts) with glogg sauce, Carrot Parsnip cake. One of the most unusual pantry items in the book is Berbere, a hot Ethopian spice mix similar to Middle Eastern and Indian mixes. Other unusual ingredients are berries which appear to be exclusive to Scandinavia. Fortunately, few recipes include these berries.
The very best part of the recipes, as it always is in book of this type, are the chef author's notes and comments regarding how the dish came about. The value of this text is what makes the difference between just another cookbook and something worth the extra bucks. The discussions of smoking are especially interesting, seeing how it is done outside the world of the great American barbecue. One comment is especially interesting in showing how Samuelsson used smoking farm raised fish to simply reproduce some of the gamy flavor found in wild fish.
I generally feel that a fusion cuisine must do just a little more than a purely ethnic cuisine to prove itself. Ethnic cuisines such as Italian, Indian, Thai, Japanese, and French have stood the test of time. A particular interpretation of Gnocchi may be a little off, but the dish is generally very reliably tasty and satisfying. Samuelsson has two things which more than outweigh this innate disadvantage. First, just like in Venetian cuisine, much of the fusion of diverse cultural influences was done for him three centuries ago by the trade with India and the middle east. Second, Scandinavian cuisine is not well known to American tastes outside the north central plains states. Thus, his successes will be more interesting than an Italian / Thai fusion dish.
Like many books of this type, it is as much a creation of a team as it is by a single person. The copyrite page gives credits to a book designer, a food stylist, a prop stylist, and a team of photographers, who happen to be the same pair of photographers who did Eric Rippert's 'A Return to Cooking'. All this artistic talent has paid off, as the photography is almost as luscious as the food and they avoided some of the design errors of Ripert's book. However, the photographs of the completed dishes do not always match the recipe. I found at least two cases where the food in the picture was prepared using a different set of directions than those given in the recipe, and, the method in the picture was clearly better for both presentation and logical cooking. I will not say there would be a difference in flavor and I'm sure the intent was to write out the easier method for the home cook, but it did spoil my appreciation of the book just a smidge.
Overall, this is a very well done book of it's type and well worth the money to acquire the recipes, the comments, and the much better than average food styling and photography. I learned from it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for the coffee table or the kitchen!, Dec 11 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine (Hardcover)
"Aquavit" is a wonderful book by "not a great black chef, but a great chef who happens to be black" (as Marcus Samuelson describes himself on page 279 of the new revised edition of "Becoming A Chef" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page). Don't miss it!
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Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine
Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson (Hardcover - Oct. 2 2003)
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