2/13/15

A not so sweet observaton- a kitchen confession

Cookies are made of butter and love.
~Norwegian Proverb

 I have made a shocking observation.
 No baking recipes have been past down to me.
 Looking for something to bake the other day I realized I have zip from my mothers side in Sweden and zip from my dads side in Norway.

This can't be normal?
 I hear of people using their mothers, aunties, grandmothers recipes in both baking and cooking.
Depressed I tried thinking why this has occurred- why am I left out in the Nordic cold???!
Ousted from a legacy- a break in tradition.

I actually got pretty depressed about this, being an only child I had no siblings to confer with to see if the could recollect anything from the past.

The only thing that comes to mind is that in that 40-50's era 
 baking wasn't common for the "lady of the house"
- it was the jungfru (the live in maid) that did the cooking.
Both of my parents grew up their mothers (my grandmothers) really did not hold down the fort domestically speaking.
 My mom had 2 live in maids- to take care of the brood, laundry, cleaning the house, cooking and laundry. My grandfather was obviously working but my grandmother was also working as a teacher and was not home all day.
 These jungfru's where usually young women that became part of the family, had room and board. Later on they left (or never) when married and started their own families.

My father had a closer and fonder memories of  his "Dadda" than his own mother...she never left, she stayed and was part of the family. Dadda (my father always called her this) would go home to Stavanger occasionally to visit her family but return to "ours" to live.
I can't ever remember my grandmother in the kitchen cooking or baking.

Except for one time when she had a glass of wine in hand leaned over the stove to retrieve some salt and pepper and her apron caught fire...that was pretty exciting!!!

Sure I ate plenty of delicious cakes and confections with my family but again they were baked by the jungfrus.



As a kid I baked all the time, it was a nice thing to have something sweet on the weekends like cookies or cakes to celebrate special occasions.
We had a pretty serious home ec. teacher in school that taught us how to both bake and cook.
Ninna, my grandmother when she was older,
 was the taste tester when I baked, many lovely memories from those times.
These recipes are in Norwegian and Swedish and are written for for their types of flour and yeasts etc, which is hard to really get correct in American measurements.

So the question is:
DO I have nothing to pass on to my kids?


  Armed  with all my cook books I sat at the kitchen table and made a plan.
 I'm coming up with my own legacy.
We talked about this at dinner last night and all 4 kids have so many memories of me baking for them and with them...a good thing.

Embarking on a new adventure I am hell bend on baking, making, creating a few recipes that I can pass down to my kids.

Chocolate cake- from Moosewood.
I love Molly Katzen and use her cookbooks often

Making a bloody mess in the kitchen as usual but who cares I'm on a mission.


Kitchen aid is whirring and ABBA blaring ...I am in the zone.

Like a chocolate cake sunrise, it emerges.
Very happy and tasted delish!
( Okay I forgot to finely chop the hazelnuts)
Chocolate is the answer. Who cares what the question is.
~Author Unknown

I will continue on my quest of establishing a few divine baking recipes
 to be tested, tasted and maybe even part of a tradition in this household.

Question:
 What is your favorite go to/ no fail baking cook book?



****
Addendum
 My mom emailed me after she read this post and wrote:
Jungfrus names were; Brita, Greta, and Signe the youngest,she was the most outspoken and later changed her name to "Helena". Helena married a veterinarian that I ( my mother) visited  in Mariannelund enroute to Oland. The veterinarian loved to drive at fast speeds and when he drove over a pothole in the road we all bounced around and banged our head in the ceiling of the car. I dreamed of becoming a vet when I grew up...but not so much after having to watch him artificial inseminate the cows so that they could have calves....but everything with the horses was fun.
 
****

36 comments :

  1. Oh goodness that cake looks delicious! I'll be right over, put the kettle on :)

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  2. Love this post.. AND the photos. Girl when you get something in your head LOOK OUT. I adore the passion in you!!! So wonderful to hear your history ~ I too am an only child. Hmmm .. well my goto book is a homemade one. A colleciton of things cut out of magazines over the years, recipes from family and friends. Pinterest too. Have a wonderful time cooking up a storm! hugs.. L.

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    1. Yes, me too Leigh- I have few recipes cut out that work- but there is that part that is lost that makes me sad. Yes to storm baking :)

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  3. Camilla, this post makes me both sad and happy at the same time. I am lucky enough to have many fond memories and recipes from my maternal (German) "grandma Hampel" one of which, Fastnachts (a kind of yeasted doughnut made just prior to Lent), I'm gearing up to make soon. I can see why not having any family recipes would make you sad BUT how awesome you are now making your own that your children and their children will treasure in the future. Recipes are such a wonderful way of passing along a bit of yourself, i.e., the "love" part that goes with all that butter:) Have fun! Looking at these photos I sure wish Montana was a little bit closer so I could invite myself over to help you taste test :) XO

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    1. I would love if you lived closer Leigh- that would be awesome- I'll bake you taste :)

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  4. As each one of my babies has grown and left the nest I have put together a book for them filled with home recipes that are THEIR favorites so each book is written with that child in mind. My youngest son remarked the other day that he wanted me to make sure to add my roll recipe to his book when he moves on, it made me smile.
    I don't have a specific book I go to, I mostly bake from feel and intuition.

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    1. Whaaaaah- this makes even more sad- how wonderful is this?!!! I can't believe-no wait I can believe that you made such lovely records for your children, tailor made even....sniff.

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  5. my interest in cookbooks waxes and wanes with my moods. I use a bit from each. My family loves when I make a chocolate torte, or magic bars. Chocolate chips are memorized and baked but they do not last long enough.

    I do have my mom's snickerdoodle recipe and my gram's strudel (way way too labor intensive for this quick recipe maker). I do love how each are in their handwriting :)

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    1. ...and that is just it- their handwriting...sniff, I would love to have that. Even if I never baked that recipe- its nice to have something that was special from them.

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  6. I do have one cookery book of one of my grandmothers but it is not one I use that often, I just like having it on the shelf. I am not sure that I bake any recipes that my mother or grandmothers baked their legacy instead is one of wanting to bake/cook and make a mess in the kitchen. I am glad to see it is not only me that cooks and creates leaving the kitchen looking like a whirlwind has been through. I too would love a piece of that cake ;)

    How funny that we both had pictures of cake on our posts today, I wonder what that says about us?!

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    1. I always make a mess in the kitchen, that is half the fun...not so fun cleaning up though. Must be something in the air with us both posting cakes :)

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  7. I'm in the middle of reading the Swedish book, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, so cute! Have you read it?

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    1. That sounds like a fun book- no I haven't read it- thanks for the tip!

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  8. We have a lefse recipe handed down from the late 1800s. When we visited Norway we were so surprised to find out that no one makes lefse anymore. We could only find it at the Norwegian Folk Museum!

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    1. Wow,that is pretty neat Kimberly. Unfortunately lefse is being replaced these days with other worldly goodies...its not as common in Norway any longer as here in the States.

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  9. I would love to bake more, but so often I don't feel kitchen person or maybe I don't have enough motivation? I will really think about it. By the way, that cake looks. ... more than delicious :)

    Happy weekend!

    Lluisa xoxo

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    1. HI Lluisa, I know what you mean, I loose motivation when my baked goods don't turn out the way I thought. I think baking is fun though, especially in the cold months.

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  10. I bake all the time and have some quick favorites, typical Swedish recipes. "Sockerkaka med vaniljfyllning" is a favorite here, as is "kanelkaka". I think these are the cakes my kids will have the fondest memories of ;)

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    1. Yes, remember both yum. I am sure your children will have delicious memories of them :)

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  11. I love to bake. My go - to baking recipe books are The Betty Crocker Cooky Book (the 1964 version I grew up with), Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (also from the 60's) and my Grandmother's handwritten recipe book (she died in 1950 so I never met her. Some of the recipes don't work out as they must of been favorites that she only jotted down a few notes for, but it's wonderful to bring these confections back to life for my father. It helps jog his memory of her as he has no siblings to reminisce with about his mother.)

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    1. That is so sweet Ann, love that you can make the past come alive thru baking for your father. I am looking up the Betty Crocker- good idea, I am very familiar with Julia, love her.

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  12. Camilla, that cake looks amazing... I have never been much of a cook or a baker but will get inspired by great photographs of food - so i love looking at cookbooks but don't have any favourites. Because my family is from the Philippines, i always dream of delicasies full of exotic fruits - that my grandmother had made - and find very hard to replicate here in Canada.

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    1. Hi Erica,
      Exotic fruit...sounds so good right now, I can see why that would be a favorite - and hard to find up north. Wonderful that you have fond memories of your grandmother making this.

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  13. What a nice country, home and cake!

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  14. What a wonderful mission, Camilla!
    I have many recipe "ideas" from my mother. Her recipes are a little more trying as she tells me, " Oh honey, I just add this and that." I beg for her to write it down for me, but she hasn't yet. my grandmother was the same. So I am left to watch my mom cook and take notes. :)

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    1. That is so sweet though, a pinch here and there- it does make a difference that extra "love" they put in...makes you keep your eyes peeled- and keep writing those notes Andi :)

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  15. My favorite cookbook that has not failed me yet is from America's Test Kitchen The Family Edition! Love it! I have a few recipes from both my mom's, dad's and in-law's. I haven't thought to put them all together...but will when it's time for them to venture out on their own. Love the messy kitchen! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  16. I will definitely look into this one Jane, from the looks of your lovely baked goods- I am trying this book. Thanks for the tip!
    Happy Valentines day my dear :)

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  17. I've always been fond of starting my own traditions, I hope you will be too.

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    1. Hi Charlotte,
      Yes me too- I'm working on it.

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  18. That cake looks delicious, as does the Grand Marnier :) I'm sure you'll have plenty to pass along to your children, Camilla, as you seem like a domestic goddess.

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    1. He. he you make me laugh Candace. Thank you for your kind words :)

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  19. I have a similar "problem" but only with my father's side. He grew up in south Texas in the '40s and '50s and his parents were school teachers. His mother never cooked as they had a maid/cook visit every day, a lovely Mexican woman who cleaned & cooked & later cared for their youngest child during the day. My father said whatever she cooked was amazing, but doesn't think his mother ever really darkened the kitchen door except to cook fish on weekends. Funny how things change? This was considered completely normal for a lower-middle-class family in that part of the country. The only recipe I have from her, my Grandmother Darling, is a biscuit recipe that creates very flat, All-bran biscuits that are only good hot out of the oven. The process to create these is enormously long & tedious, but the reward is memories of my Grandmother as I bite into a hot buttered bun. I love this post, Camilla. Your childhood & family history are both so very interesting, I hope you continue to share! xx

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    1. Thank you for sharing your past with me, it really helps to helps to hear/read that other might have a situation similar . That is true though that the recipes back in the day could take their toile on time when baking- but it's the memories- you hit the nail on that one. You need to get a hold of that lovely Mexican woman!
      xo

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