Body Cakes: Cooking the Books with Karin Tidbeck

International Cooking the Books correspondent Nene Ormes returns, this time for a fantastic interview with Karin Tidbeck. PLUS! a live reading from an excerpt Karin’s recently translated novel Amatka.
Tidbeck is the author of short stories, including the collection Jagannath (2012), winner of the 2013 Crawford Award. Of her, China Mieville said, “Tidbeck, with her impossible harmonies, is a vital voice.” We are grateful to Nene for bringing Karin over for tea with Cooking the Books.

Greetings dear gastronautic listeners!

I, your intrepid international culinary correspondent, have lured the eminent Karin Tidbeck with promises of delicious coffee and tasty treats to speak with us. She divulged secrets, recipes, and childhood memories, while chuckling over autocanibalism. It was a lovely fika! So if your tastes runs toward translated stories, cloudberries and Crawford winners, this is a chat for you. Pour yourself a cool beverage and have a fika with us.

The ingredients for podcast #012 – Body Cakes with Karin Tidbeck include:

  • Dreams
  • Cheeky Frogs
  • Things so Swedish they may seem mythical
  • Midsummer Smörgåsbord
  • All of the umlauts
  • Schnaps and singing
  • One live reading of an excerpt from Karin’s latest, Amatka! The live reading from Amatka is here.

With thanks as always to fellow chefs John DeNardo, Paul Weimer, Kristin Centorcelli and everyone at SFSignal. Thanks so much for paying all the airfares to and from Sweden — at least we’re sending you the invoice. And the bill for the tea. And for the lawyer with the small customs debacle. (ok, not really, we like you.) Truly nothing to see here! No international laws were broken during this podcast! None! Oh look, exciting Cooking the Books podcast below!

Leave your questions here after the podcast and we’ll be sure Nene and Karin get them.

Ready? Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or click play below:

Podcast #012: Body Cakes: Cooking the Books with Karin Tidbeck

Karin’s shared her dumpling recipe below, as well as given us a live sneak peek at her recently translated novel Amatka, The live reading from Amatka is here.

 Karin’s Kroppkakor: potato dumplings with mushrooms
10 potatoes (King Edward)
2 1⁄2 deciliters wheat flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 yellow onions
200 g field mushrooms (funnel chanterelles, horns of plenty or ceps also work. Or a mix!)
1 tbsp butter or margerine
1⁄2 tsp allspice (ground)
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 deciliter parsley (chopped)
2 litres of water
3 tsp salt
  1. Dumpling dough: Peel and cook the potatoes. Purée them in a potato press and let cool. Add flour, eggs and salt and mix. Don’t work the dough too much – it can get sticky.
  2. Filling: Peel and chop the onions finely. Chop the mushrooms. Sauté the onions and mushrooms in a pan. Add pepper, salt and parsley.
  3. Making dumplings: Shape the potato dough into a roll and cut into pieces large enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Make a depression in each piece, add filling and pinch closed. Shape into a ball. It’s very important to close the dumpling properly or it’ll fall apart while cooking.
  4. Boiling: Bring water and salt to a boil. Put the dumplings in the water. Simmer the dumplings for about 10 mins.
Serve with lingonberry jam and melted butter. Lingonberry jam is not exchangeable for anything else. That would be weird.
Note: the Swedish word for the dish is ”kroppkakor” = lit. ”body cakes”

Karin Tidbeck is originally from Stockholm, Sweden. She lives and works in Malmö as a freelance writer and creative writing instructor. You can find her at and twitter

Read more of the Cooking the Books archive.

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