… or “Steeling Myself for Christmas!”
Raised by a fundamentalist Jehovah’s Witness, I turned my back on organized religion long ago. To my surprise, though I raised my daughter without organized religion or any related holidays, she’s become the Martha Stewart of holidays. In fact, her garage is lined with shelves groaning under the weight of storage boxes containing an array of decorations appropriate for various holidays.
Christmas seems to have become her personal favorite, as suggested by the many boxes in the garage marked “Xmas.” As soon as Thanksgiving is over, the Thanksgiving decorations are returned to their box, and she opens the Christmas boxes and transforms her house into what would be described as a winter wonderland. In fact, I think my grandchildren start counting the days until Christmas as soon as the first autumn leaf falls to the sidewalk!
This, of course, impacts this non-holiday-observing woman: I show up for a week or two visit around Christmas and am included in the festivities. Yet I know no Christmas songs – in either Norwegian or English – and any Christmas “traditions” I know only from watching Christmas-theme movies or listening to holiday songs. And no matter how many times I’m compelled to listen to Christmas songs, nary a line of lyric stays in my head.
What I can do, however, is cook. So on holidays I pull out my grandmother’s handwritten recipe book from husmorskol (housewife school) and start baking for my daughter and her family.
The rectangular goro jern (the iron on the far left) is used to make thin, rich cookies decadent with cream, butter, a dash of cognac, some lemon zest, sugar, cardamom, flour, a dash of potato flour and an egg.
I make krumkake (with the iron on the far right), one of Norway’s oldest cookies, with a dough laden with butter, eggs, sugar, cardamom and flour (and a dash of water).
In the center is my old vafler jern (waffle iron) with which I will make the spruced up version of the traditional Norwegian waffles, rommevafler, by adding sour cream.
Here’s my dilemma: As we no longer live within easy driving distance of my daughter and her family, how do I bring the gjerner with me this year? Driving south means two days driving and through high mountain roads in the snow. Flying is easier but I’m not sure I could get my jerner past the TSA folk! (I haven’t gotten over their confiscation of a set of my knitting needles soon after 911!)
Any ideas? 🙂