Here's World-Class Swedish Cooking: Artisanal Recipes from One of Stockholm's Most Celebrated Restaurants by Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg of Stockholm's two Michelin-starred Frantzén/Lindeberg. Frantzén/Lindeberg doesn't exist anymore, at least not as it's presented in the book. In May, the restaurant announced Daniel Lindeberg would be leaving, and the space has been newly rechristened Restaurant Frantzén. And so, in more ways than most restaurant cookbooks, this book is a time capsule.
The first thing you'll notice about World-Class Swedish Cooking is that it doesn't look like other glossy restaurant cookbooks. First of all, it's smaller. Unlike increasingly common mammoth coffee table tomes, this is a book you can actually pick up and read. And you have a lot of reading to do: the poetic introduction by Swedish writer Mons Kallentoft, the lengthy history of the restaurant, the meditations on everything from butter to salt to the problematic hygiene behind the practice of having a server refold a napkin when a guest steps away from the table. The "recipes" are more descriptions of each dish than actual instruction. Is this even a cookbook, then? Or an autobiography of a restaurant?
A lot of work went into the book. The authors note in the introduction that they had "continuous contact and meetings with some of Europe's sharpest researchers" in order to understand why they prefer the techniques they use. (The example they give is how fish are treated in the restaurant between the time they are caught and when they're cooked and served.) The end result is over a year's worth of writing and research of the hows and whys of the erstwhile Frantzén/Lindeberg.
The book does have a somewhat dated layout to it, like something from the late 80s or early 90s. It's pleasantly retro next to photography that's stark with harsh shadows, as though everything was shot under lamps in the middle of a dark Swedish winter. The look seems to be going for a sort of refined rock-n-roll aesthetic; it succeeds, more or less.
World-Class Swedish Cooking: Artisanal Recipes from One of Stockholm's Most Celebrated Restaurants by Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg is out now from Skyhorse (order on Amazon). Take a look: