BY MELISSA BAHEN
My family really loves our Norwegian heritage.
Like, on a scale from 1 to 10, we’re at an 11.
We celebrate Norwegian holidays like Syttende Mai and Midsommar, we have homemade Norwegian costumes for our kids, and we once built a giant Scandinavian maypole for a family reunion.
Most families who love their heritage as much as we do have a treasure trove of beloved family recipes handed down from generation to generation, but we don’t. We don’t have a single Scandinavian recipe passed down from our Norwegian forefathers. I’m not sure of the exact reason. My mom thinks my great grandma, Asta, maybe just didn’t like to cook. I’ve never been under the impression that my grandpa, Poppy, likes to cook, so even if his mom did enjoy it, Poppy probably wasn’t too focused on getting her recipes. And Asta passed away when my grandpa was a teenager, so neither my grandma nor my mom and her siblings ever got to have any cooking experiences with her. They never made Norwegian Christmas cookies with her in the kitchen or had meatballs and gravy for Sunday dinner in her dining room.
Whatever the reason, the lack of old family recipes from the Andresen side of the family has always felt like a hole in our beloved heritage.
There is one almost-shining exception to my claim of having no family recipes: Tante Tilda’s pancakes.
Mathilde was my grandpa’s aunt, his mother’s oldest sister, and she stepped in as a surrogate grandmother for my mom and her sisters and brothers when they were little. She worked as a cook in the McCormick Mansion in Salt Lake City not too far from where my mom’s family lived, and Tante Tilda would let my mom and her sisters come visit her in the kitchen and help her make pancakes.
READ MORE OF MELISSA'S STORY AND GET HER TANTE TILDA'S PANCAKE RECIPE IN ISSUE 09 WHICH YOU CAN DOWNLOAD FOR FREE.
*(c)2016 By Melissa Bahen. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Scandinavian Gatherings; From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast: 70 Simple Recipes and Crafts for Everyday Celebrations by permission of Sasquatch Books.
Melissa is the creator of the blog Lulu the Baker, where she writes about simple food and modern country life. She’s also the author of Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast. She lives in the western Oregon countryside with her husband, four children, 2 bunnies, 7 chickens, and 4 beehives.