I’m wondering how long I can keep spinning out this series, given that my experience of public figures is more or less limited to people on public television and comedians from the UK. In the meantime, let’s cross the Atlantic one additional time to take a look at yet another PBS series.
Tina Nordstrom is undoubtedly the cutest in a wave of Scandinavian chefs and cultural phenomena (Marcus Samuelsson, Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Henning Mankell, and so on). The show she’s on is called New Scandinavian Cooking, which combines travelogue with cookery in a pleasant, inoffensive, wholly free from Rachel Ray shenanigans and useless goddamn catchphrases, so that’s a relief.
It’s also substantially better than that other travel cooking show, Spain: On the Road Again, which failed pretty spectacularly, I think, because it really smacked of being a vanity project (for at least Batali and Paltrow, who, I kid you not, travels with her own soy milk. And yet eats cheese. Phhhht.) and was just screaming out for someone to show a modicum of editorial ruthlessness. It was just bloated. And tiresome, despite being pretty to look at.
New Scandinavian Cooking benefits from the half-hour format, which is ample time for establishing shots, some local color, a few demos, and a staged meal at the end. It’s underwritten by corporate sponsors, like most PBS shows, Volvo being the major one, along with the Norwegian Tourist Board, the Danish Agricultural Council, and some dairy producers I’ve never ever ever heard of. The following are fun to peruse, and even more fun to sound out, out loud. Preferably when your co-workers are in earshot.
Nordstrom herself is precious, wonderfully enthusiastic, with a funny little intonation pattern that is part Swedish chef, part stroke victim, part public school posho. I could cry listening to her, especially when she gets all gushy over things like an egg-and-potato “compote” (Salad? Yes. Can we call all salads compotes from now on, just to fuck with people?).
And, yes, the inevitable. Bouncy, fluffy, wee. Kitteh.