As a stranger to Icelandic food, I was so excited to explore "North." The hulking volume cuts quite the image, and the glossy pages are covered in breathtaking pictures of Iceland and the food itself. Interviews with traditional farmers and hunters offer a deeper glimpse into the recipes, a nice touch for those who may not know much about Icelandic tradition.
The recipes themselves were, at first, very intimidating. Long lists of complex sounding foods that I was unsure I would be able to find made me wonder if this cookbook was as practical as I had hoped. But I was very relieved to find that each recipe includes a long introduction that outlines easier to find substitutes for rare ingredients, and a large portion of the book is dedicated to making Icelandic staples used in a number of the recipes.
The recipes I've tried so far are amazing -- perfect for these cooler autumn nights. Fish features heavily throughout the book, which has introduced me to many different ways of preparing and enjoying seafood. Although certainly higher end than traditional village fare, one gets a deep sense of Iceland through the meals in "North," and along with the vast range of information on Icelandic cuisine, food preparation, and tradition in the book, enjoying the cookbook a cultural experience as much as a culinary one.
Bridey is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.
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