Today, I came across this picture of my mom in the traditional costume of the Stavanger area of Norway. My mom has always embraced her Norwegian heritage, and was successful in raising my sister and I Norwegian–even though our dad is German!
Mom appreciates most Norwegian foods with the exception of lutefisk, something we were told tasted like white-fish wall paper paste, and heard all sorts of horror stories about. She eats pickled herring for luck on New Year’s Eve, and makes a variety of Norwegian cookies and such during the holidays.
Mom taught Sonia and I to form the figure-eight shaped Kringla–a soft bread-like cookie made with sour cream in the batter. I’ve since made them on my own, but not since the time I went to visit mom in New Mexico at the time of her annual holiday open house, and ended up making these and lefse by the hundreds!
Many cultures have some sort of flat bread. Norwegians have a soft, potato-based, round flat bread called lefse. Mom taught us to make lefse from scratch as kids; and since, there have been great leaps in lefse land–you can now purchase an easy-to-use lefse mix! Lefse can be used like a tortilla, with savory fillings wrapped in them. Our family spreads butter on them while they’re still warm from the griddle, sprinkles them with sugar and cinnamon, rolls and devours them! DH, Mr16 (who was 11 or so at the time), and I were enlisted at the same party to “help” make the lefse. Mom and Dad went into town for appetizers; we made ALL of the lefse! (Stay tuned for more on making lefse and the special tools used!)
We also made aebelskivers–little apple-filled round and puffy pancake thingies, baked in a special pan (technically of Danish origin), and krumkake–very much like Italian pizzelles, but rolled around a cone-shaped form before they cool.
My sister was the baker. Her specialty was Swedish Christmas loaves–cardamom flavored yeast breads with cinnamon sugar filling in the shape of Christmas trees. I continue her tradition and make these every year.
Growing up Norwegian made for a wonderful childhood. I loved having a connection to a cultural heritage, and I loved that the culture had yummy foods…well, except the lutefisk!
I’m starting my effort to convince Mom to give me her bunad (costume). I’m hoping the fact that I continue celebrating my heritage with yummy foods might influence her….. 😉 Wish me luck!