I have wonderful memories of Christmas celebrations at my farm. I can still get the smell of "surkål" (cabbage a la norvegienne) and roasted pork ribs..., not to talk about all the preparations on a farm before Christmas, which I'm going to tell you now.
Each part of the country, each tiny village, each farm, have had - still have - its own traditional dishes during Christmas; different dishes from meat (pork, lamb, reindeer) and fish (cod, halibut). Turkey has become quite popular too, but I still believe that is more a New Year's Eve dish.
The first preparation began already in spring, when we bought three piglets to be fattened and slaughtered for Christmas. When I was a kid, I became very friends with the pigs, but I knew they were food, so that was never a problem. At the end of November the pigs were slaughtered. For a kid that was always an exciting time. Dad was never able to kill animals - not even a mouse - we always had 2-3 men helping, one of them was my grandfather. It was not only the meat from the pigs that were used; we made brawn, hashed lungs, salted and boiled pig's trotters, black (blood) pudding, sausages etc. What I remember the most are the boiled pig heads (!) and the mess in the kitchen! But that was part of the preparations! :)
I have already talked about Christmas cookies in previous posts. We always used to make at least seven different cookies. I believe the most traditional cookies from the area I grew up, are krumkaker (coneshaped, wafer-like sweet biscuits made in a special iron; krumkakejern). Goro is another kind of wafer baked in a patterned, rectangular iron. Then we have smultringer (doughnuts), fattigmann (fried cruller), pepperkaker (gingerbread cookies), sandkaker (cup-shaped shortbread biscuits), serina (small tea cakes) etc. Another goodie is Delfia Cake, which is made of coconut fat (oil) and chocolate - veeery heavy!
Another important task to do, was to hang out sheaf of oats for the birds to feed. We grew oats and barley, and always saved a couple of sheafs for the birds at Christmas; one on the bridge to the barn and another in an oak tree next to the house.
I love Christmas - have always done. I have begun to love Christmases in the tropics too - but it had been nicer if it hadn't been that hot! :) It is all about adaption to another culture, and make the best out of it.
DH doesn't say much, but I know he's getting used to and loves my traditions too, especially since there is not much celebrations or gatherings in within the family. He doesn't eat pork, but likes to taste the other items. :) We had a wonderful Christmas this year too - just the two of us. :)
~ CHRISTMAS 2009 ~
I've not been to Norway during Christmas - and there's no snow in Mauritius!! Photos are taken by Johnny at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2009. His mom lives next to my ex-farm.
I have not seen anything about copy right on the Christmas cards I've added. If there is, please let me know!
Sorry the links (recipes) are in Norwegian only, but if you'd like any of the recipes, I'll gladly translate! :)