North: How to Live Scandinavian by Brontë Aurell

Coming from America I grew up around a lot of different heritages; even more so as I moved around to different states. In Northern Minnesota I encountered a lot of Johnson's, Olsen's, Anderson's, Peterson's, Larsen's, Christensen's and so on - all these names, although spelt differently in different areas, all come from the Scandinavian's.

A few of these names belonged to friends and some of those friends still keep some Scandinavian traditions and recipes! So, reading this book was like listening to an old friend and brought back stuff I already new about the Scandinavian world.

Brontë Aurell is Danish and not only wrote this amazing book about her culture, but also owns and runs the ScandiKitchen cafe and shop in London as well as writes cookbooks and articles for publications here in England. Needless to say she knows what she's talking about!

Speaking of cookbooks, I was first drawn to North for the recipes scattered appropriately throughout out the text, but stayed as I started to take in all there was to learn about the Scandinavian way. In the first chapter we discover exactly What is Scandinavia? Which isn't as easy to answer as one would expect. It's a bit confusing so I will let you read that chapter for yourself it's only a page....

Then we get stuck right into the chapter all about Style! It delves into how they see themselves and how others see them and how they see each other. Each other being the Danish, the Swedish, and the Norwegians. Being a foreigner it's always interesting to think about how I used to see myself and how I now look at my fellow country people. I found this chapter to be very interesting and humorous at times. Especially with the lists of "How to be more .... Danish, Swedish, Norwegian." The style chapter also covers fashion and interior decor!

We move on to my favorite chapter, the one on food, titled At the Table. Where we learn about curious Scandinavian dishes, national dishes, fika (fee-ka) which basically means to "sit down, have a chit-chat, with a coffee and something baked,"salty liquorice, and open sandwiches! As well as learning how to slice cheese properly, smörgåsbord, to drink aquavit and how to breakfast!

Life Outside is the following chapter where everything from the darkness and lightness to sports and sauna's! Being where they are they experience times of prolonged darkness and lightness and Brontë Aurell gives us great tips on how to get through, especially the winter/dark.

In the next chapter we learn how to date a Scandinavian, how to be in a relationship, as well as how kids are raised! Extremely useful if you are looking to win over a stylish coffee drinking Scandinavian!! She covers everything in Family Life including traditional Scandinavian names, it was in this text I recognised a lot of familiar names!

Culture; such a small word for such a big meaning. One of the longest and more interesting chapters in the book it covers everything that hasn't already been discussed. Common greetings, hygge (who-guh (if you were wondering how to pronounce it properly!)), Nordic mythical creatures, basic politics, and how to drink are just a few of the topics covered.

The last chapter covers Celebrations! Which tells exactly how to have a Scandinavian Christmas and Easter as well as how to celebrate Eurovision and the National days of the three countries. Midsummer or St Han Aften/St John's Eve is something we all talk about, but apparently it's a big deal over there especially in Sweden. It is always the closest Friday to the 23rd of June. I think that's an ingenious idea, no one likes a great holiday on a weekday!

If I had to take a life in the Scandinavian's test, like the Life in the UK test I had to take to stay here, I bet I would pass after reading North. This review only skims the top of the iceberg, so to speak, this book is full of interesting, fun, and informative facts for those who dream of visiting or are planning a trip! Not to forget the beautiful photography by Anna Jacobson!! 

*I was provided a copy of North: How to Live Scandinavian by Brontë Aurell to review by the publisher, Aurum Press, Retails at £20 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

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