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This Illustrated Swedish Feast is Adorable

We're enchanted by this artist's guide to smörgåsbord. 

Photography by: copyright © 2015 by Johanna Kindvall
"'Gående bord' (walking table) is another common word for smörgåsbord in Sweden."

What do you do when you grow up surrounded by great food and good art? Combine them of course! That’s what Swedish artist and food blogger Johanna Kindvall has done deliciously in her new cookbook "Smörgåsbord: The Art of Swedish Breads and Savory Treats."

Photography by: copyright © 2015 by Johanna Kindvall
Smørrebrød, Danish open-faced sandwiches

“I’ve been drawing since I was a child."Kindvall says. "My father was an artist, so we always had good paper and pens around the house. And my mother loved to cooked from scratch a lot, she was very good. I definitely inherited that from her!” 


(MAKE: Swedish Pancakes For Brunch -- They're So Easy!)
Photography by: copyright © 2015 by Johanna Kindvall
"Smörgåsbord is a buffet set up with many small dishes. But it can also be as simple as a few complementing spreads served with homemade rye bread and butter. Here: liver pate, pickled cucumber, sausage, sardines, butter, and bread."

It wasn’t until 2005, when Kindvall started her blog, that she began bringing her dishes to life, on paper. “The blog was just a way to help me collect and organize my recipes,” she says. “I didn’t want to photograph the foods because I don’t have the patience!” While she certainly enjoys food photography, Kindvall admits all the staging and preperation that comes with it isn’t for her -- at least in the kitchen. “When I finish cooking something, I want to eat it right away.”


The accessibility and homemade feel of illustrated recipes appeals to her: “Often, cookbooks can feel intimidating. You may see a beautiful picture and think ‘Oh, I can’t do that!’ or 'Mine doesn't look the same!' But with drawings, it’s a bit more relaxing to imagine.” 


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Photography by: copyright © 2015 by Johanna Kindvall
An illustrated cinnamon roll recipe from Kindvall's blog

After finishing her first book “Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats,” which she co-authored with Anna Brones, Kindvall decided to tackle the famous Swedish buffet. “I was looking around and noticed mostly older books about smörgåsbord that felt very old-fashioned. It’s such a nice tradition and a great display of what Nordic food is. This book is a mix of traditional recipes plus some of my own new takes.”

Photography by: copyright © 2015 by Johanna Kindvall
Rhubarb Herring, pickled herring spiced with rhubarb, cloves and cinnamon, is one of the recipes in Kindvall's latest book

Though a classic spread is often very elaborate -- “dishes range from 20 to 100!” -- Kindvall is quick to point out yours doesn’t have to be so big. “I’ve concentrated on little ways you can enjoy it, from simple open-faced sandwiches which are very common and more casual, to my quick pickle recipe to enjoy with pâté!” 


Craving a Swedish snack? Watch Martha and chef Marcus Samuelsson make a classic pickled herring roll: