Karl Benson proudly holds his grandmother’s cookbook while standing in the kitchen at the Cooks of Crocus Hill in St. Paul.
One of Karl’s earliest food memories was when he was 7 years old, visiting his grandmother at the family farm just outside Älmhult, Sweden. After a day of traveling, Karl and his dad were greeted with liver pastej sandwiches and homemade pickles, served on dark, fresh wood-fired oven-baked bread. “I couldn’t believe how good they were, and I ate four, and I had them for breakfast every day. I still dream about those sandwiches.”
“What I love most about this cookbook is that she always kept magazine articles or letters in it. At some point, she wrapped the cover in butcher paper from the store down the road, Arthur Svenssons ICA.” Karl has many fond memories of those visits to Sweden – including standing in his grandmother’s kitchen unwrapping purchased prinskorv (sausage) wrapped in the same paper.
A combination of both his dad, who emigrated from Sweden in 1957, and his grandmother sparked Karl’s interest in food. He feels a strong connection to the simplicity of Swedish husmanskost home cooking and baking – and holding his grandmother’s cookbook is a physical reminder of this connection.