From smörgåsbord and St. Lucia processions to Christmas Eve gatherings with family and friends, Swedish Americans are linked through the generations by a legacy of meatballs and lutefisk.
Christmas traditions, particularly those involving food, often honor our ancestors. Throughout the Midwest where Swedish immigrants settled, the dishes placed on the julbord (Christmas table) tell stories about who we are, where we come from, and where we are heading.
In exploring these holiday customs, Patrice Johnson begins with her own family’s Christmas Eve gathering, which involves a combination of culinary traditions: allspice-scented meatballs, Norwegian lefse served Swedish style (warm with butter), and more. Just as she tracks down the meanings behind why her family celebrates as it does, she reaches into the lives and histories of other Swedish Americans with their own stories, their own versions of traditional recipes, their own joys of the season. The result is a fascinating exploration of the Swedish holiday calendar and its American translation.
Featured dishes include yellow pea soup (ärtsoppa) and Swedish pancakes (Svenska plättar); assorted Swedish cookies like pepparkakor, rosettes, and meringues; meatballs with pickled cucumber; the julhög, a breakfast pyramid of bread, cheese, fruit, and cookies; and so much more. Come, raise a glass of punch, hear tell of holidays past, snack on cardamom bread, and celebrate jul the Swedish-American way.
Kathleen Stokker provides a fascinating description of Norwegian Christmas folk traditions and their evolution in the U.S. with hundreds of evocative stories, recipes and memories. With scores of accounts of ancient and modern Christmases, this book reminds Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans of their connections to each other and explains how their celebrations differ on this joyous family holiday. Paperback.