Reviewed by Jen Kulman

What dishes come to mind when you think of Scandinavian food? I immediately think of meatballs, fish, and cookies. Signe Johansen’s mission with Scandilicious is to help us discover there is so much more than that. Her food is a marriage of traditional and modern dishes that are bursting with flavor. She has taken some of the traditional recipes that her Norwegian grandmother cooked, and adapted them to fit our modern lives.

The first thing I noticed with this cookbook were the beautiful photos. Just flipping through the book is an enjoyable experience. The vanilla-infused honey immediately stands out, with a photo so clear that you can see the tiny specks of vanilla bean clustered in the thick amber liquid. I think that would make a perfect hostess gift, unique with a handmade touch. Her recipe for Banana and Cinnamon Crispbread is equally eye catching – utterly simple with just a handful of ingredients, but the end result is so much more. What a lovely breakfast that would make, and so easy to throw together.

The biggest negative is that this book is printed for the United Kingdom, meaning all measurements are provided in the metric system, with no conversion amounts. I wish it weren’t true, but I simply lack the patience to convert recipes. In addition to that, a few of the ingredients are not well known, nor readily available here in the States, such as spelt flour, blueberry juice, Marmite and cardamom pods. I dislike making negative comments about such a lovely, unique cookbook, but those details make it difficult for me to even consider some of the dishes.

The recipes are organized in the order of the day: breakfast, brunch, lunch, etc. I love that she devoted an entire chapter to Afternoon Cake, which includes hot drinks, muffins, and cookies, as well as some terrific looking cakes. Blueberries are bursting off the Finnish Blueberry Tart and I believe the Hot Chocolate Shot would be the perfect treat on a winter afternoon. Her dinner selections are a bit off the beaten path, including a Swedish Anchovy and Potato Gratin, Pickled Herring, and Crayfish Soup. She also includes some more traditional dishes, like the expected Norwegian Meatballs and one heck of an amazing Macaroni and Cheese baked with five different cheeses.

If you are accustomed to using the metric system, or are based in the U.K., most definitely consider Scandilicious. This appears to be a wonderful cookbook, but not suited to me for the above reasons.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Jen lives in Michigan with her husband and six year old son. She writes reviews of children’s books on her blog, FIRR-Kids and loves filling her own shelves with cookbooks.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Hodder & Stoughton. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.