In general I abhor television. It’s a time suck that normally provides little to no intellectual stimulation and it’s programming frequently imparts the worst of our cultural values. I’m also a long time vegetarian. So you wouldn’t expect that my favorite 8:30pm Monday and Wednesday pastime is watching New Scandinavian Cooking on public television. But you would be wrong.
New Scandinavian Cooking is what television should be. It’s funny, educational, and most importantly, a truly useful show. Though I haven’t tried many of the recipes (at least three quarters feature meat, so it’s unlikely I ever will attempt them), New Scan Cook does more than showcase Scandinavian cuisine- it highlights a different quirky cultural locale in every show, including historical customs, vocations, geographical features, anything and everything interesting about various cities and tiny towns across Scandinavia.
In addition to intriguing cultural tidbits that fan my desire to visit Scandinavia someday soon (the fjords of Norway in particular have called to me for years now), I’ve found myself wanting to test out new or rarely used ingredients in my cooking. In the middle of winter finding fresh local herbs and many local vegetables is difficult- though Scandinavian cooking does frequently feature root veggies, a winter staple- so most of my experimentation has been waiting for spring to arrive. Fresh dill, creme fraiche, and aquavit, here I come!
I find most cooking shows to be 1.)Slow 2.)Excessively complicated or 3.)Filled with ingredients I never see myself using. But New Scandinavian Cooking, with its fascination with simple, local dishes and the food of the proletariat (my words, not theirs) is relaxing, refreshing, and altogether approachable.
It also doesn’t hurt that Andreas Viestad (my favorite host) is extremely adorable and the epitome of an attractive, active, enthusiastic Scandinavian man. Le sigh.
Have fun cooking, friends, and if you live in Minnesota, be sure to check out New Scandinavian Cooking at 8:30pm on Channel 2.