Bagels of the Eastern Geats


After my November talk at the County Museum in Linköping I was kindly presented with a copy of the third edition of Inga Wallenquists’s book Östgötamat, “Östergötland Food”. It’s a beautifully illustrated coffee-table book combining recipes from the past three centuries with bits of regional kitchen history. The text is repetitive and should have been more stringently edited, but the contents are nonetheless interesting and inspiring. Excellent archival photos mingle with new ones by the masterly Göran Billesson.


I made Duchess Anna’s cake (p. 59) on New Year’s Eve, this being a variant on the Kronans kaka theme: ground almonds, lemon rind and a mashed potato, awesome. Yesterday I made boiled pretzels from Horn (p. 121), which are basically slightly sweet bagels: you fashion sweet yeast-based dough into pretzels, allow them to rise, boil them for 90 seconds and then bake them for 12 minutes. Lovely! Horn parish on Lake Åsunden is along with neighbouring Hycklinge one of the region’s central areas in the 1st Millennium, though the hundred of Kinda was not at the time counted as part of Östergötland. My friend Mattias is from Kinda, which is kinda neat!


My next project will be Baron Adelswärd’s sponge cake (p. 148) which intriguingly has potato starch instead of wheat flour. Gonna use Grand Marnier donated by Tor instead of the stipulated brandy, and leave out some of the sugar.

Order the Östgötamat book here (in Swedish).


10 thoughts on “Bagels of the Eastern Geats

  1. OK, normally I’m more into textile history than food history, but a historical cookbook sounds soo cool. I mean granted I live in Wisconsin where the regional kitchen history doesn’t even last three centuries, but still. That’s made of awesome. I don’t read a word of Swedish and I want that cookbook like nobody’s business.


  2. My wife spent 6 months in Sweden in her youth and fell in love with everything Sweden. Is there any way of purchasing this book online? (Even if it’s swedish im sure we’d be able to struggle through a translation 🙂 ).


  3. Yes, what a marvelous idea for a book, a millenium of food! But seriously, where did the Swedes get their potatoes 1,000 years ago? Not Vinland, surely! They don’t grow very well in Newfoundland (giggle).


  4. I put in a link to where you can all order the book.

    Diana, it’s not a millennium of food, it’s recipes mainly from 1700 onward.

    Trin, the writer of that news piece has really, really confused ideas about early British history…


  5. Diana,
    I am not sure what the (giggle) is supposed to mean, but I grew up in St. John’s and I can assure you that potatoes have been grown with success in Newfoundland.


  6. The sponge cake with Grand Marnier sounds great – let us know how it turned out!

    Cookbooks are always a lot of fun, for inspiration more than for following the recipes literally, and since I was born in Östergötland, I just might want to check this out.

    In combination with your next post (“Internet withdrawal”), this got me thinking about some good fiction involving food and cooking into the plot which may be good reads for yourself or anyone else:

    Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

    La Cucina by Lily Prior

    I can highly recommend both!


  7. I put some Grand Marnier into my hot cocoa today and got a drink that tasted, as my wife perceptively put it, just like the least edible piece of chocolate in the box.


  8. I would agree – drink the Grand Marnier on the side instead. In your cocoa, you should put either a small shot of brandy, mint liqeur or Kahlua!


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