“Creating with food is like painting in
watercolours. It gives me satisfaction.
Then there’s the added bonus if it tastes good,”
says Lina Nordström, a cook in Arjeplog.
- January, 10 2012
Cooking can be an art form, as the artist works with colours, aromas, tastes, shapes and consistencies.
“Creating with food is like painting in watercolours. It gives me satisfaction. Then there’s the added bonus if it tastes good,” says Lina Nordström with a broad smile.
The most important ingredients for success in cooking are love and joy. And when that is not enough, Lina adds plenty of butter and cream.
”Even if I try to cook the same dish more
than once, I usually can’t stop myself from
taking something away, substituting or
adding some ingredient.”
Today’s hot dish, fillet of char with mashed potato and pumpkin baked in filo dough, accompanied by soybean purée and rum panna cotta, is something that Lina has never cooked before. At this stage the recipe consists of a few key words jotted down on a folded piece of paper.
“I have an idea of what it should look like on the plate, but I have no idea about the proportions in advance.
This is exactly how Lina creates her dishes. An idea, a thought, a curiosity that is translated with love, pleasure and joy into a beautiful and almost always a tasty creation. And no two dishes are the same.
“My grandmother has a favourite dish that she cooks when she wants to impress: porter steak. But I don’t have anything like that. Even if I try to cook the same dish more than once, I usually can’t stop myself from taking something away, substituting or adding some ingredient.
Norrland ingredients in the form of things like elk, reindeer, char and trout often occur in Lina’s culinary art.
“It’s important that the ingredients are of high quality,” she emphasizes, and continues:
“My ambition is to highlight and complement the tastes and aromas of the ingredients themselves, preferably in new and unexpected ways. It’s a matter of finding the right balance. Often I want too much, I would like to have everything that’s good at the same time. Like when I tried to make carrot purée with salty liquorice. I wanted to make the carrot purée more interesting, to spice it up a bit. I thought of aniseed and ended up with salty liquorice. But it didn’t taste good”.
Lina has a hearty laugh at this recollection. And she stresses that the important thing is daring to experiment.
“It can’t be any worse than disgusting and inedible. And even if you don’t want to eat it, you can always laugh at it,” she points out.
“Dare to experiment” is a motto that Lina also uses when tasting and eating new dishes. She never refuses to taste anything, but there are of course dishes and tastes that she does not like so much.
“I can envisage eating just about anything. I think it’s exciting to try weird dishes. And I think you should give every dish a chance. Like sushi, for example. I have nothing against raw fish, but I have problems with the combination of fish, rice and seaweed. I feel a bit like a sucking-fish eating seaweed on the inside of the glass in an aquarium when I eat sushi. But I go on eating and wait and hope that I’ll start to like it.
Food and cookery is Lina Nordström’s greatest interest. She has competed in the television programme Master Chef, and she is behind the concept Lina’s Kitchen, one of the popular new features at Kraja in Arjeplog.
But working full-time in a kitchen is not something she longs for.
“No, I don’t think that’s the thing for me. I’m an emotion person, I love creating and cooking food for myself or others, but I’m not a professional. I can’t deliver the same quality the whole time, I can’t even get such a simple thing as an ordinary mincemeat sauce to taste the same from one time to the next…”
All through the interview Lina has been chopping, whisking, boiling, frying, tasting, mixing and garnishing. A new dish has emerged, and it’s time to taste the result.
With the meal she will drink water.
“The drink is an important complement. Milk doesn’t go well with much, only palt
(a kind of potato dumpling) and pancakes. Wine is something I’d like to learn a little more about; with the right wine with the right food, the tastes can be really brought out. But I like to drink water with food, it goes with everything, and it doesn’t conceal any tastes.
Text Marianne Hofman
Translation from Swedish to English: Alan Crozier
A N N O N S