Food Culture in Scandinavia

by Henry Notaker


Discover the dynamic Scandinavia of today through this fresh, most exhaustive overview of food cultures in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

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December 2008


Pages 248
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Culture
  • Award Winner!




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The food cultures of Scandinavian countries are similar in important ways but also have many different traditions because of variations in geography and climate and unique social, cultural and political history. Food Culture in Scandinavia covers Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland's unique and common foodways, all in the context of significant recent changes. This is the most exhaustive overview available in English with all the latest insight. Students writing country reports and food mavens get the up-to-date scoop from an insider on how Scandinavians eat and live. Readers see how everyday food habits are quickly changing in Scandinavia, mostly in urban areas and among the younger generation. The trends are shown to stem from Scandinavians travelling more, Americanization and globalization, new immigrants bringing their cuisines, classic national and regional products being revitalized, high-end restaurants for the new business elite springing up, and a growing interest in healthful and organic food.

The Historical Overview chapter lays the groundwork to understand the evolution from the traditional Scandinavian fare—fish, porridge, bread, milk. A chapter on major foods and ingredients elaborates on these staples and more and updates their use. In the Cooking chapter, the new gender dynamics are discussed in terms of who is shopping and cooking and especially the impact of the supermarket. Typical Meals discusses the mainstays for daily fare and notes the biggest changes in the choices of pizza and fast food for youth. Eating out in Scandinavia is becoming more common, and Chapter 5 highlights the growing options for casual family meals out, business and school lunches, as well as take-out food and more. The Special Occasions chapter illuminates the major events in the calendar, especially the magical Christmas time plus the famous seasonal fests such as Midsummer in Sweden and life-cycle events such as weddings, where innovation is expected. A final chapter on diet and health emphasizes the familiar health concerns related to diets too high in fat and sugar and too low in vegetables and fruit. A timeline, selected bibliography, illustrations, and classic recipes complement the narrative.

Table of Contents

Series ForewordIntroductionTimeline1. Historical Overview2. Major Foods and Ingredients3. Cooking4. Typical Meals5. Eating Out6. Special Occasions7. Diet and HealthGlossaryResource GuideSelected Bibliography



"Notaker, a writer and journalist with Norway's NRK television network, takes a wide-ranging tour through the food cultures of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The book explores emerging trends in food choices and the influences on eating habits of supermarkets, fast food restaurants, and convenience foods. Topics also include the most popular foods
and their ingredients, cooking, typical meals, dining out, diet and health, and a historical overview beginning with the Viking age."Reference & Research Book News

". . . the work offers much interesting information, historical as well as current. . ."ARBAonline

"The Greenwood Press series, Food Culture around the World, is designed to bring the academic study of food to 'a wider audience of students, general readers, and foodies alike' (vii). Henry Notaker's contribution to the series, Food Culture in Scandinavia, succeeds in that goal by providing wider access to the culinary history and culture of Scandinavia. . . . Food Culture in Scandinavia touches on many aspects of food, from early history through to modern developments in Scandinavia's food culture(s). . . Notaker is neither precious nor wrapped up in romanticism when discussing the changes in eating habits, nutritional understanding, and international cuisine that he documents in Scandinavia. He brings the reader on an informational tour through history right up to the modern day. In this regard, his journalistic background serves the book well. In addition to the topics covered in the various chapters, the book contains other useful (if general) aids to understanding foodways. A brief timeline, glossary, and general maps of the four main Scandinavian countries will help orient the reader new to Scandinavia, and the resource lists will provide a chance for further exploration. Many photographs and illustrations dot the text as well. . . . And while Food Culture in Scandinavia does not claim to be a cookbook, it does contain approximately forty recipes—a nice addition to a book about Scandinavian foodways."Journal of Folklore Research


Best Culinary History Book, USA, 2009 — Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

Best Culinary History Book, Best in the World, 2010 — Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

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