2008 is here.
Andrew and I rang in the New Year the best way we knew how: in deep slumber. We went to bed at 10:15 p.m. the last night of 2007.
On New Year’s Eve, Andrew and I left our offices a little early, at 3:30 p.m., and we went home (“home” was Andrew’s parents’ house during the holidays). We played with Andrew’s nephew until dinnertime, when we were served a spectacular Norwegian feast: Bergens Fiskesuppe, Bergen fish soup, which takes several hours to prepare, and involves both fish trimmings and boneless fish, as well as parsnips, carrots, onions, potatoes, leeks, celery, spices and cream; Rullepolse, a complicated Norwegian meat roll, which takes a week to make and involves flank steak and two different kinds of seasoned pork and seasoned veal soaked in special brines, rolled together, cooked in boiling water, cooled, pressed (to remove excess water), chilled, and served cold, in slices; Norwegian potato dumplings, made with raw potatoes and bacon; and two desserts, Lingonberry cake ( a very flat, almost biscuit-like cake, topped with Lingonberry jam and streusel) and Bergen rum balls (very similar to cream puffs, but with a very dark and very moist and very heavy and very unusual pastry that includes pureed cherries, into which is stuffed rum cream).
I had never had any of these foods before, and I thought the dinner was stunning. Andrew’s mother was concerned that Andrew’s nephew would not like this special New Year’s Eve Dinner, and she had prepared other foods for him (boiled chicken, mashed potatoes, peas and jello with fruit), assuming he probably would turn up his nose at everything. Although boiled chicken, mashed potatoes and peas were his primary meal, he sampled tiny amounts of the new foods and he seemed to like everything very much, especially the desserts. He got more than his fill.
After dinner, we did not do much. Those magnificent desserts, I think, had done us all in. After Andrew’s nephew was put to bed, we sat around talking and keeping an eye on the Oklahoma State bowl game, which ended very early. By 10:00 p.m., we were all heading upstairs to turn in.
Andrew and I rose very early on New Year’s Day and got the dog exercised and fed. Then Andrew and I cleaned up and organized a big breakfast for everyone.
Andrew made Julekake, a sweet and heavy Norwegian bread with nutmeg, raisins, citron and cherries. While that was baking, we made omelets with ham, cheeses and cream. It was a very good breakfast.
We spent most of New Year’s Day watching bowl games, although Andrew and I and his brothers also spent a lot of time outside, playing with Andrew’s nephew and the dog in the back yard.
We only had a light lunch—tomato-cream soup and toasted cheese sandwiches, Andrew’s nephew’s favorite lunch—but we had a major dinner: seafood croquettes (which were to die for), a garden salad, chicken breasts baked in a cream-pepper sauce, asparagus tips, butternut squash, cranberry-orange-apple relish, and an apricot bundt cake. The dinner was a wonderful way to wrap up the holiday season.
Andrew and I are back at work today, and his brothers and his older brother’s family are on their ways back home right now.
Andrew and I did not get to spend as much time with his brothers this Christmas as we would have liked. We only had three complete days with them, and two of those three days were devoted to preparing for a family function.
We had, at least, an additional four evenings to spend with them, and that was good. It makes a festive household when everyone is present. Somehow everything seems right, natural, inevitable and complete when Andrew’s brothers are home. The house is filled with activity, chatter, laughter and fun.