I have a not-so-secret desire to live in a Scandi country. When I reviewed foreign films, my favorites were from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. I dig the way those people live (and raise their kids).

The boys’ names list for every baby we’ve had or are about to have is heavy on the Scandi names, which are vetoed by Robbie, who thinks we should stick to English/ American sounding names because (as much as it pains me) we are not in fact, Scandinavian.

Season 3 Episode 16 of the PBS docu-series The Mind of a Chef featured world class restaurant Fäviken’s head chef Magnus Nilsson. The restaurant is located on a remote farmland estate around 500 miles north of Stockholm. It is 16 miles by road from the Åre ski resort. The whole time I was watching the episode I was dreaming of an après-ski meal at Fäviken with Robbie and our three stylishly dressed and perfectly behaved little Scandi boys Niels, Mads and Frederic.

About a week after we watched the episode, LA based spice purveyors RawSpiceBar asked if I’d like to try their spice box subscription, and a few weeks later the Nordic Spice Box arrived in my mailbox. That’s right, they read my mind.

RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription service. They source high quality, unique spices from around the world and expertly grind, blend and portion them so you can experience the most authentic regional cuisine in your own home. My Spice box included Gravlax Spices, Winter Herbs and Gingerbread Spices. They came in cute little foil lined packets and in the box were the recipes for Nordic Caraway Gravlax, Potato Herb Gratin and Nordic Pepparkakor (thin gingerbread cookies). They sent spices. They sent recipes. They said, “try these spices in these recipes!” So I did.


The gravlax was the first raw fish I’ve been able to eat this entire pregnancy. I bought super fresh sushi grade salmon and I cured it myself  (following the recipe) so I was able to eat it knowing that I had seen it through every stage of the curing process. And it was so good. I feel pretty talented to be honest. Who cures their own salmon?

The potato gratin was so tasty that I’ve decided to make gratin all the time now. It’s so easy and foolproof. The Pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) were yummy too. I made two batches – the first I didn’t roll out thin enough and they were chewy (a win for Finn). The second batch I rolled out really thin and they were perfectly crisp and delicious.

We have at least a dozen jars of once or twice used spices. Because sometimes you need Galangal or Sumac or Mace for a recipe. But mostly you don’t. So the jars sit in the spice rack for months, maybe years, through good times and bad times and six seasons of Homeland, all the while losing their potency. I love the small batch concept. No wastage. The beauty of RawSpiceBar is that spices are freshly ground right before they are sent to you so there’s no chance that one of the spices in your recipe will overpower another because they were ground in different decades.

If you want to try RawSpiceBar for yourself, you can trial the service for free.