Scott Pollock, Director of the American Swedish Institute, invited Chef Magnus Nilsson and Associate Professor Richard Tellström from Stockholm University to a conference on Nordic food culture in Minneapolis.
Scott Pollock, Director of Programmes, invited Chef Magnus Nilsson and Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in Meal Science Richard Tellström from Stockholm University to a conference on Nordic food culture in Minneapolis.

Richard Tellström wrote the foreword for “The Nordic Cookbook,” a book with recipes and pictures from across Scandinavia written by master chef Magnus Nilsson from Fäviken in Jämtland. The book has captured the imagination of many Americans and the American Swedish Institute arranged a multi-day conference to celebrate Nordic food traditions. Both Magnus Nilsson and Richard Tellström gave presentations, and restaurants and local food producers threw events that attracted the many Swedish-Americans of Minneapolis.

A full house for Swedish food culture

Richard Tellström gave a lecture on Swedish food culture in front of a packed house, with many people excited to discuss their own family traditions. “Lutefisk”, in particular, is an important dish in Minnesota, but Richard Tellström explained that Minnesotans probably ate more lutfisk than Swedes these days. He also said that meatballs, which many Americans consider the most Swedish thing ever, would quite possibly not even be on the top-five list of most popular dishes in Sweden.

Recipes from home

The audience was encouraged to bring their traditional recipes with them so the institute could scan and upload them to the archive. “The food culture in Minnesota is like a moment from late-1800s Sweden frozen in time,” says Richard Tellström. “It’s survived in an older form, not unlike how we preserve our own traditions with the julbord (Christmas dinner).”

Conversations on food research

Richard Tellström also held a round-table discussion with about a dozen local researchers and historians, with representatives from the University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolfus College, among others. They discussed the possibility of a joint research project that would bring together food traditions with Swedish migration to the United States and today’s migration.

Researchers from University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolfus College (among others) took part in a round-table discussion about research cooperation focusing on food culture and migration.
Researchers from University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolfus College (among others) took part in a round-table discussion about research cooperation focusing on food culture and migration.
Deborah Miller from the Minnesota Historical Society was one of many who brought with her a recipe that had passed through generations.
Deborah Miller from the Minnesota Historical Society was one of many who brought with her a recipe that had passed through generations.
 
People wanted to discuss their own Swedish traditions with Stockholm University’s Richard Tellstöm.
People wanted to discuss their own Swedish traditions with Stockholm University’s Richard Tellstöm.
Kjerstin Moody showed Richard Tellström around Gustavus Adolfus College campus, which features a bust of Carl Linné.
Kjerstin Moody showed Richard Tellström around Gustavus Adolfus College campus, which features a bust of Carl Linné.
Richard Tellström’s “Helan går”-playing music box amuses his dinner companions.
Richard Tellström’s “Helan går”-playing music box amuses his dinner companions.