We always celebrated Christmas Eve with our family, had the big meal, usually Roast Duck, with vegetables, mashed potatoes, etc. To start the meal we had Risengrød, something that some of us loved, some of us liked and one of us barely tolerated. But, we always had it. Mom would hide an almond in it and whoever got the almond would get a prize. If one of the adults got the almond they'd hide it in their mouth and wait for everyone to finish eating their portion before admitting to having it. And the lucky recipient of the almond would generally receive a small box of chocolates, or a marzipan pig. For dessert, my favorite dessert to this day, a Citronfromage. Kind of a lemon pudding, but worlds beyond that. I'll post the recipe for that here next week. Then my parents did the torture thing, first we had to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen, then we all clasped hands and walked around the Christmas Tree singing carols, only after that would we be allowed to sit and wait for our presents to be handed out. Mom and Dad had that wonderful duty, they always made sure that presents were given to the youngest first, and then made sure everyone had a present to unwrap so that we could all do it in unison. I feel so blessed I have so many good memories of childhood. I can't say I was always thrilled with my presents, but there were some years that stood out especially. I remember one Christmas when my older sister gave me a baby carriage, filled with candy and under the candy, was the best present of all, a pair of cowboy boots. I couldn't have been more than 5 or so when I got that TOTALLY WOW present. Another Christmas that stands out was the year I got three Nancy Drew books, talk about being overwhelmed with joy, personally, I think I had the best Christmas of all of us that year. (By the way, I still have those books). I did get in trouble the next day because I had trouble putting my book down long enough to help out Mom, but hey, it was worth it. And to end the night, we'd always take a bowl of Risengrød topped with butter and cinnamon sugar out to the barn, with a wooden spoon in it. This was to feed the Nisseman, so that they wouldn't play tricks on us throughout the year. They had the power to make the milk sour, to dry up the dairy cows, to make the nice fat pigs lean, to cause all kinds of mischief within and without the house. And in the morning when we went out to pick up the bowl, it would be magically licked clean. And I for one would sigh a big sigh of relief that we would have a nice uneventful year. ( I still feed the Nisse on Christmas eve, no point in taking any chances).
The next day we'd sometimes go out to my older sisters, but usually we hung out at home, playing with our presents, recovering and recuperating and preparing for the next day's event which was Boxing Day.
Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, a day in which my mother hosted a late luncheon for the family and sometimes friends. We did it Danish style, and had a Smorgasbord, Danish Smørrebrød, as well as a range of other danish specialties. (I did mention that I'm Danish, didn't I?). From pickled herring on ryebread as the starter, to sillsalat (herring salad), fresh fried Dover Sole, mackeral in tomato sauce, crab, shrimp, as well as various danish cold cuts, røllepølse, ham, salami, hard cooked eggs and tomato wedges, and for dessert a fresh fruit salad and various cheeses. My mom's fruit salad was a wondrous mixture of fruits all held together with some fresh whipped cream, and topped with very thin slivers of chocolate. How we made room for dessert, I'll never know, but we did. Oh, did I mention that our lunch would stretch for 2 or 3 or 4 hours sometimes, yup. That meal was never hurried, we ate a little and visited and enjoyed each others' company. And I'm not forgetting the 'snaps', a little bit of Aquavit was enjoyed by all, but the youngest at the table. (Go here to read more about it; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akvavit ) We always had a glass with our herring and then another a little bit later on in the meal, followed by a third, never more than that. Those of us old enough to enjoy a beer would also have a beer to sip on during the meal, the youngest would have a 'pop', or soda to those who aren't Canadian. Which when I was young, was a treat in and of itself. Pop was reserved for very special occasions, Christmas being one of them.
However those days are long gone, we're all grown up and we all have families and traditions that vary from what we grew up with. I still make Christmas Eve special, but with only two of us at home, I now invite friends in who may be far from their families on Christmas, and I make my husbands' favorite meal, a Prime Rib.
|6 lb. Prime Rib ready for the oven.|
|This is after I'd carved it, as you can see, lovely and rare.|
|Yorkshire Pudding in the oven, they all rose this year, giggle.|
|Can't have Prime Rib without Yorkshire Pudding.|
|Managed to get a couple of shots of the food after.|
|As you can see, we had some hungry people who joined us.|
|The Dessert Table|
For more recipes please check out http://sidsseapalmcooking.blogspot.com/
All about food. *giggle*