Norwegian Christmas Day Smorgasbord
My Christmas posts have been a lot about food, but then again it is an important part of Norwegian Yuletide. This will be the top of the cream as I will share some old home made food traditions. These are recipes passed down for many generations and I consider myself lucky having a mom who still holds on to them. From my childhood I clearly remember the smell of Christmas in our house weeks before the Holiday. It was a hectic period of course, as everything should be ready, clean, fresh and prepared. My mom and grandmother did most of it in the kitchen with fresh meat coming directly from the butcher. And then of course the cookies – 7 types at least – and the marzipan and other types of confect. It all shows up at our First Christmas Day smorgasbord at the traditional family gathering. Smorgasbord is actually a Swedish word so in Norway we call it buffet (or actually cold cuts table). Let me give you an overview and then to the details, hoping that pictures say more than thousands words:
We start this buffet around noon and it lasts until 6PM at least. We are eating all the time, but most of all talking and enjoying each others company. This is the time when we share and remember the passing year and keep each other updated on plans for the year to come. Grandpa and Grandma is curios about their grandchildren’s future dreams and ambitions as well, of course:-)
Roasted ribs – Salted ham and pressed layered pork
You might think that we are finished with the food shown above, but no. There are all the cookies and sweets you know – an important part of Christmas treats too, especially appreciated by the children. On the left, you see Kransekake (literally “wreath cake”). It takes the form of a series of concentric rings of cake, layered on top of each other in order to form a steep-sloped pyramid. It is made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites (marzipan) the ideal Kransekake is hard to the touch, yet soft and chewy. Obtaining such a consistency can be difficult, because, although simple in theory, the preparation of a Kransekake is very delicate. Normally it is decorated with Norwegian flags and “crackers” (a toy which you pull on and it pops). This year mom did it differently as she loves to surprise us, and here is the coffee table with all the Christmas cookies:
I do hope you’ve enjoyed these Christmas food feasts as much as I’ve had eating and sharing them. It reminds me of a saying: ‘You are what you eat’, but don’t judge Norwegian only from Yuletide! and also, as I hope you’ve noticed; it’s an important part of our culture and traditions.
Soon it’s New Years Eve and we will shoot up our own fireworks. Tomorrow I’m gone to buy them and soon I’ll show you – so stay tuned!