Television stars, authors and hockey players all have their own cookbooks today. Has writing a cookbook become a mark of success? There used to be a time when the average Swede had one, perhaps two, cookbooks in his or her kitchen. Today, most people have more than that. And people famous in areas that have little or nothing to do with food write their own cookbooks.
For instance, crime writer Camilla Läckberg has written two, singer/actress Pernilla Wahlgren wrote a book about Christmas cooking and has another one coming out next fall about making pralines. Former hockey star Börje Salming has written two cookbooks, and, as Nordstjernan recently mentioned, TV personality, blogger and fashion guru Ebba von Sydow and her sister Amy just published “Sommar med systrarna von Sydow.”
The latter is even more than a cookbook; yes, it contains recipes for summer dishes, smoothies and cupcakes, and has tips like “candles are cozy on a rainy and grey morning,” but, according to Johan Åkesson at daily Dagens Nyheter, it's also selling a lifestyle. Åkesson says the sisters are presenting a Marstrand version of the Kennedys as they pose in several photos.
Ingela Holm, the von Sydow sisters’ publisher at Ica Bokförlag says, “Today all recipes can be found online, yet many cookbooks are being published. So you have to offer more than just recipes. It must be a story, and you must present it in a nice package.” Managing director of Food & Friends, Lennart Wallander agrees that one of the most important ingredients in a cookbook is the presentation of a lifestyle: “It’s no longer just about how to make ossobuco, but to be Plura (a singer who also has released his own cookbook) for a moment. To have this coziness in the kitchen and share it with famous people—it’s a sign of a successful life, a status worthy of a Facebook update. Cookbooks are for our social life what romance novels are for our love life.”
According to Marie Söderqvist, managing director at Livsmedelsföretagen, these famous peoples’ cookbooks get the total stamp of approval by quality, concerned people. “They (the cookbooks) signal that you know what’s going on, that you pay attention to your body and your health, and that you enjoy cooking,” Söderqvist says. She adds, “Sommar med systrarna von Sydow” is a typical example of how the cookbook now has the same function as a decorating article. “It’s not just about Ebba von Sydow, but about her even better and prettier sister, and what’s better than two attractive sisters in beautiful clothes, photographed in a beautiful environment with pretty food?”