Americulinariska is produced by Kendra Valentine, an American living in Berlin and Stockholm. Promoting cooking it for yourself and pushing big flavors is the back bone… fried chicken and tacos complicitly involved. The blog videos are fun, straightforward, and based on exploring the diversity of American food heritage within an international context. The food focuses on cooking good eats no matter where you call home: using creativity and whole food.

The mission of the blog is to encourage cooking and knowledge of what your food is made of so you can be innovative and resourceful with what you have.

The things I cook everyday reflect the diversity of the United States but have a humble basis on simplicity and resourcefulness: something very familiar to Sweden.

 

How it all started:

Ever since learning how easy it is the make tartar sauce, I’ve been ticked off. It floored me to think that all this time growing up, when we didn’t have any tartar sauce for our Friday fish sticks, the whole party was over… my family did not know that we always had the ingredients on hand to make it ourselves. That wasn’t mentioned in the commercials or brand sponsored recipes that circulated amongst homemakers. Our mothers learned to cook convenient to being consumers of new products above all else: they trusted the supermarket and took pride in providing for their family. Knowledge was not available as it is now. This kind of thinking has been ingrained in us, and I have been trying to break free from it these past years.

When I moved to Sweden a whole new dynamic mixed things up: I found myself missing certain foods from home, so I have to do research to find out the specifics of what makes a favorite cut or meat or certain flour or order products from the U.S. However, I did not want to give in and order processed foods to be shipped over for a high premium on my bank account and low benefit on my health. At the same time, there was no way in HELL I could do without my enchilada sauce, ranch dressing, beef pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)… and bone-in rib eye steak or corn tortillas for tacos? FORGET ABOUT IT! Something had to give…

So, I have embraced my situation and made a change in how I treated my kitchen and eating. Do I eat a prefect diet of organic, non processed food? No. Perhaps one day I will be able to. But I do practice balance and cooking whole real foods consistently. Balance is key.

The things I cook everyday reflect the diversity of the United States but have a humble basis on simplicity and resourcefulness: something very familiar to Swedish and rural cultures alike.

 

Americulinariska Rules:

 

  1. Waste not, want not: I learned this as a kid, and really it was more annoying than anything since it usually coincided with a bunch of cold brussel sprouts on my plate that I didn’t want to eat. But really, we throw away so much food because we don’t think to ourselves “is there anything I could possibly do with this _____?” Being a real cook means creating and “creativity loves constraints.” So please try harder.
  2. No recipe on this blog is set in stone: I might write up some specifics but in everyday cooking I don’t like recipes very much. I do love cookbooks- but for inspiration. You first need to know basic cooking techniques: if you don’t know why each step of a recipe exists then you should take a moment, and learn why- that way you can remember and experiment further.
  3. No unitaskers: I got this one from Alton Brown years ago and have probably applied it far more liberally than it was intended. I avoid buying anything I can only use for one purpose. Whether it’s an appliance or a sauce. For example, salad dressing…

Firstly, for practical reasons since it doesn’t take much to make them yourself and you get a fresher more complex result that you can tweek to your liking, while using ingredients you should have on hand anyway.

Secondly, because pre-made sauces have additives. Some have preservatives, some not. And some have coloring or suspenders to keep them fluid. Not that all additives are super bad, don’t fall for that one, but do you really need to eat them unnecessarily?

4. Know what the hell is in your food. I don’t just say this from a high ethical horse chewing on an organic carrot but for practical reasons. Ever really think about what, say, “tartar sauce” is? Did you think it was made from a tartar plant or? Well, it’s mayo, pickle relish and a dash of something tangy at best. Yes, you could have made it all along instead of running to the store. Be aware.

5. No putting lipstick on a pig, it’s just fine roasted. Know the difference between béchamel and white sauce? One sounds fancier. I surely know how to talk around a subject and use terms to blow your face off. Between studying philosophy and film theory I’ve had a lot of practice, but just as I’ve pledged to avoid name dropping in conversation like an annoying academic elitist, I won’t do it when I talk about food. Although, I really do like words.

 

These are my principles, and I strive to follow them. No one is perfect, but my life has benefited greatly from this straightforward approach. My goal is to live by example and help anyone who wants to do the same. Except the loving fried foods part… that’s a cross I must bear, but save yourself if possible! Otherwise, I welcome thee to the dark side. We can help each other with tips if nothing else.

 

More about Kendra:

Here are some words about Kendra, not written by Kendra, but sound really good:

“Kendra Williams-Valentine is a creative at heart with an entrepreneurial spirit. She is currently copywriting freelance, as well as developing a children’s media product and maintaining the food blog: Americulinariska.com

She has been involved with Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship and was selected for the inaugural inter-disciplinary class for their White Label program. There she represented SSES at London Business School for the European Business Plan of the Year competition with her business plan for a food product she developed.

She has previously worked as a Production and Producer’s Assistant on major feature films for studios such as Warner Bros. and Universal in the US, as well as commercials.”

TWITTER and INSTAGRAM: @MissKendraV

 

Cherries (Biggaråer)

In the garden picking cherries in Stockholm, Sweden

 

Boqueria market

Morning oysters at La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain

Teaching some start-up warriors to make dumplings

Teaching some start-up warriors working the app “How Do” to make dumplings

Omnivore Books

In San Francisco looking at Alice Water’s signed book in Omnivore Books

Feeling awkward in the clutches of a "Viking"

Feeling awkward in the clutches of a “Viking” on Birka island

The best pumkin ever!

Okay, I’m a little too excited about this Halloween pumpkin but it was perfect!

Picking Strawberries

In the garden in Stockholm, Sweden

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to

  1. Giny Wilson Strengehagen says:

    Kendra – I found this site today while looking up a recipe via Pinterest and I’m so glad I did! I am also an American living in Scandinavia – my Norwegian husband and I live in Norway, about an hour outside of Charlottenburg,(?)Sweden. We probably shop there about once a week to purchase various meats and … wine. Those items are easily half the price there, as you probably already know. He and I both cook like crazy people and love every minute! Tor is especially talented with game and accompanying sauces flavored with natural berries and herbs from the forest. (we actually live ‘in’ the forest – very Snow White, lol). I have been here for 5 1/2 yrs. now and there are so many items from the States I never thought twice about that I crave now and then. What you wrote above is so very relatable for me! So, looking forward to following this blog and having fun with it. Just delighted to meet you, Kendra! ~giny

  2. This comment just lit up my day! Very nice to hear from you Giny! The blog has been I break for summer, and now a bit of tlc will take place, but do stay tuned and let me know if there’s anything you’d like to chat about!

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