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Norwegian holiday traditions and meals are grounded in the love of family and friends. Singing holiday carols, cooking with siblings in the kitchen, and decorating the tree by hand are all part of the tradition and meaning of Christmas for Norwegians.

Sink an orange into the toe of a Christmas stocking. This is an old Norwegian tradition that is still practiced today. The orange represents a time when fresh fruit in the winter was a precious commodity.

There's an old, time honored Norwegian Christmas tradition that calls for the parents to decorate the tree and allow the children to see it just before presents are opened.

Norwegian breads are often decorated with a frosting or butter cross on the top and given as gifts to loved ones. They are said to keep evil spirits at bay.

Circling the Christmas tree is one of the oldest of all traditions. It begins with one person circling the tree, picking up a gift and passing it to its intended recipient. All watch as the gift is opened. The receiver then circles the tree and repeats the process.


(Serves 6)

1lb Butter
2c Water
6T Flour and
1-1/4c Flour
6c Milk
1/2t Salt
1 Egg, beaten
2t Sugar
Cinnamon to taste

Heat butter and water slowly, bringing to a boil and cooking 5 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons flour, stirring in with whisk. Wait several minutes and then remove the fat that comes from the mixture. Set aside. Add flour and stir again. Add warm milk and blend well. Keep the mixture in constant motion to prevent lumping. Add egg, salt and sugar. Put in crock pot to keep warm and pour skimmed fat over the top, adding sugar and cinnamon to taste.

(Serves 3)

1-1/2c Boiling water
2T Butter
1/2t Salt
1c Rye flour
1c White flour
1c Whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. In large bowl, combine water, butter, salt, rye flour and white flour. Beat well. Stir in whole wheat flour and beat until dough is smooth. Divide into 4 equal parts. Cut each portion into quarters. Flour board and roll each piece to make a thin 10 inch circle. Place 2 or 3 dough circles on ungreased baking sheet for 3 minutes. Cool on rack.

There are many different forms of traditional Norwegian lefsa. This will make a soft, flat bread that is not crisp.

(26 cakes)

4c Riced hot potatoes
2-1/2T Light cream
2-1/2T Lard
1-1/2T Sugar
1t Salt
2c Flour

Mix riced potatoes with cream and lard. Chill for 1 hour. Add sugar, salt and flour. Blend thoroughly. Take 1/3c of mixture and form into 2 balls. Continue pattern with remainder of dough. Chill balls for 1 hour. On lightly floured surface, roll each ball into paper thin 5-inch rounds. Cook on heated griddle over low heat until light tan in color. Turn and cook other side. Serve hot or cold, sprinkling with sugar and cinnamon.

(Serves 4)

1pt. Red currants
1pt. Raspberries
2c Water
1/2c Sugar
1T Cornstarch
2T Water
1t Vanilla extract

Rinse fruit. In large saucepan, combine fruit and water, simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes. Drain. Stir in sugar. Blend cornstarch and water until smooth paste is formed. Add cornstarch mixture to fruit, stirring constantly. Bring mixture to a boil. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture through sieve. Chill. Serve with ice cream or as a topping for lefser.

(Serves 2)

2T Olive oil
1T Lemon juice
1/2t Salt
2t. Onion, finely chopped
2-1lb. Mackerels
1-1/2T Butter, melted
1-1/2T Oil
Black pepper to taste

Remove backbones from fish. Preheat broiler. In shallow baking dish, combine oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and onions. Place mackerel in marinade, flesh side down, for 15 minutes. Turn Mackerel over in marinade and leave for an additional 15 minutes. Brush the broiler grill with 1 tablespoon of melted butter and oil and place mackerel directly on grill. Baste from time to time with butter and oil. Cook 10-15 minutes or until they flake with fork, turning once during cooking. Serve hot with tomato butter.

(Serves 4)

16T Butter, unsalted
1t Salt
4T Tomato paste
1/2t Sugar

Cream butter and when light and fluffy, beat in tomato paste, salt and sugar. Transfer sauce to serving bowl and chill. Serve cold with grilled or fried fish.

(Serves 6)

1/2c Salt
6 Codfish steaks, sliced 3/4" thick

Use a narrow fish poacher or an enamel roasting pan at least 5" deep. Fill pan with water and add 1/2c salt. Bring to a boil (over two burners), then reduce heat slightly. Gently slide cod slices into water. Lower heat until water bubbles slightly. Simmer 5 minutes. Do not overcook