The Day That Magnus Nilsson Cried: Killing A Lamb He Raised Like A Son
While Magnus Nilsson has plenty to say about European agricultural subsidies, sustainability, and why he hates wagyu beef in this interview with Good Food (wagyu has no texture, he claims), the most mind-boggling part of this interview with this rugged Scandinavian chef, with his Odin-like stature and Chuck Norris beard and Fabio-esque hair is the startling revelation: once, Magnus Nilsson cried.
And to make it even more manly, it was over a lamb.
As he recounts in his cookbook Faviken, he’d raised eight lambs on a family farm, hand-feeding them crushed barley and and named the largest one Valdemar, after an ancient Swedish king. Adorable, right? Right?
Coincidentally, after a 25-year reign, King Valdemar was deposed by his younger brother, Magnus. Nilsson had killed countless animals for meat before but, after shooting the hand-reared lamb with a bolt gun, slitting its throat, watching steam rise from the blood-soaked ground and life drain from Valdemar’s eyes, the chef returned home crying.
This was different. As he outlines in the book: ”When you kill an individual that you have come to know and like for your own benefit as food, you gain new respect for the animal, the meat and the process of obtaining it that you cannot get in any other way.”
Nilsson explained to Good Food, who was probably as shocked as we were about the idea of Nilsson’s man-eyes leaking tears, that it gave him new insight into man’s connection with nature — or lack thereof. ”I don’t mean wild nature and big unspoilt forests, but nature that’s close to man: farms, vegetable patches and chickens laying eggs,” he explained. ”Since we don’t have that connection, we treat food in a very distant way and don’t have to face the reality of what food is.”
That is the manliest argument we’ve heard for sustainable eating we’ve ever heard.