Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Food

        Last evening my friend Mike dropped in for a visit. Mike lost his wife in May and we got talking about the food they prepared for Christmas. He mentioned how they worked together to make lifte. I had never heard of lifte and was too embarrassed to ask him what it was. I went to wikipedia this morning to check. So lifte is a Norwegian flat bread. There are several different recipes for it and it is made by several ethnic groups. The preparation and baking of this food is some what involved. Eileen prepared the batter and did the rolling and Mike did the cooking. A special flat type of skillet is used for the cooking. In the old days of wood cook stoves the batter was cooked directly on the stove surface. I have never eaten lifte, but now I'm looking forward to trying some.

      When I went to highschool 75% of my classmates were Mennonite. Mennonites make something which is special called pfeffernusse which were roughly called pepper nuts in English. . It's a small ball shaped cookie which has ginger, cinnamon, cardamon and pepper.  All the kids would bring pepper nuts to school and trade them. Each of their mothers had a little different recipe so that was the reason for exchanging. They were very kind and supplied me with these treats. I've never forgotten how they shared this special Christmas treat with me.

     One seventh grade boy I taught raved about "holy bolley" . I'm not sure how it's spelled and he didn't know either. I also tried to search on the net for this so obviously my spelling isn't even close. He described the goody which he made with his grandpa. I'm sure that for this boy the enjoyment was from working with grandpa to make the special Christmas goody that they shared with family and friends. 

     A grade seven girl I taught was a very able baker. At Christmas time she would have a little bag of baked goods that she would give to each of her teachers. I will never forget the look in her eyes as she would give these bags of Christmas baking to her teachers. She truly experienced the wonderful feeling of giving. For the next two years I was remembered at Christmas with wonderful treats this girl baked and gave to us.

     Now I know that there must be thousands of Christmas cook books. Ethnic communities that celebrate Christmas have their special recipes. Any Granny who celebrates Christmas probably has a thousand good recipes in her head. One of the ways we celebrate Christmas is through food we share with one another.

    Now if my daughter was in on this topic she would go into great historical detail as to the origins of each food and the symbolic meaning. There's so much more than just the eating of good food.

    I hope you are able to enjoy the good Christmas food and also partake in the meaning of sharing these seasonal  foods.