Norwegian Christmas Breakfast

Foodie Friday

Mar 18, 2011 by

Feeding people, although always a big part of my life, has evolved over time. Young, married, two incomes, little time: we grilled filet mignon, sautéed veal piccata and served Dover sole.  Divorced, two young kids, no time, little money: frozen chicken patties and Minute Rice.  Now, in my empty nest, most meals are made up of leftover veggies and odd bits of meat, cooked up on the Foreman grill and tossed with a bowl of pasta.  And then there are the homecomings.

I no longer cook dishes, but serve up traditions.

Each holiday has its “menu” and we have to juggle the visitors’ schedules with the requisite meals. One invariable event is Christmas breakfast.  My grandfather was from Denmark and we grew up attending monthly meetings of the Scandinavian Club he founded in Columbus, Ohio. We did traditional folk dances and gobbled treats such as lefse and rullepǿlse with a room full of Andersons, Jensens, Swensens and that ilk. I even wore the long white gown and wreath of live candles in my hair on Santa Lucia Day.

Grown up and living in St. Louis, I could no longer find my Scandinavian favorites. And then I met Ruth. Ruth’s father’s family was Norwegian and they served a traditional Norwegian breakfast every Christmas. She gave me her recipe and I still pull out the thirty-five-year-old, food-spotted and bedraggled index card every Christmas morning. The menu and the table setting never vary.

First course: everyone gets half a cantaloupe, the center filled with precious December strawberries, served on a brilliant ruby glass plate. Orange juice comes in Christmas-green glasses and water in matching ruby ones.

All the wedding gifts come out for the place setting.  Gold chargers and white plates with green and gold borders are flanked by the wedding silver. The table setting is over the top with baskets of sugared fruits, red and green glass pebbles and a dozen candles.

Sausages are mandatory, but the centerpiece is the ”“pancakes”. No ordinary pancakes, these are closer to crepes, and are served with hot lingonberry sauce and real, freshly-whipped cream.  The following makes about 24 small pancakes.

4 eggs

½ cup sugar

1-cup milk

1 heaping cup flour

1/8 lb (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Use hot skillet (400º electric skillet)

Beat eggs and sugar together until foamy.

Add milk, flour until completely blended.

Fold in melted butter and vanilla.

Use thin layer of batter to make cakes.

Meanwhile, warm the lingonberry sauce in the microwave and whip the cream with just a touch of vanilla and sugar. Pass the pancakes, lingonberries and whipped cream and let everyone serve their own. Not for the faint-of-heart or the high-of-cholesterol, this meal nevertheless says “Christmas”, “home” and “family” to us all.

Note: It used to take me weeks to hunt down real lingonberry sauce, but most international food stores and many high-end groceries carry it today. Or find it on Google.

About the Author

Tani Wolff Has Written 17 Articles For Us!

I also write for a college admissions blog and create marketing materials. However, my true passion is preparing articles about Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ upcoming festival season. I spend eight to ten months each year researching the composers, librettists, time periods and performance records of our productions (as well as the music) to put together pieces that will enhance the enjoyment of our fabulous and devoted patron community. It is truly a labor of love.
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