Monday, December 21, 2020

The Winter Solstice

 No part of the world appreciated the significance of the winter solstice more than the Nordic countries. Celebrating the solstice predates the celebration of Christmas by thousands of years. 

While I didn't have much Nordic culture in my childhood, I have come to appreciate it in my adult hood, and now I really identify as Nordic. Then my DNA proved that to be the case. My Swedish and Norwegian mix accounts for 95% of my DNA. 

My mother, who was German, made lefse occasionally for my Dad, who was fully Swedish and Norwegian. We would eat it hot off the griddle, slathered with butter. I started making it many years ago.

Tom's mother, who was also Nordic, made a fried dough cookie studded with cardamom called Fatigmand. A while back I started making that too.

Then several years ago we started having our grand kids work with us on making these two Nordic treats. Today, on Solstice, we went a little Nordic. 

This is what the finished Fatigmand looks like coated in powdered sugar.

The dough is very stretchy and takes work to roll it out thin. I cut the strips and the slots.

Irene ties the knots.
Isaac fries them, happy to hide behind his hair. 

Then we moved on to the lefse. I made a LOT of buttery, creamy mashed potatoes the day before. Today I mixed in just enough flour to make it into a soft dough. 

You need to use lots of flour to keep them from sticking as you roll them out very thin.

Irene used the special stick to put the rounds on the griddle.

Eventually I got tired of my job and asked Irene if she was ready to try it. She was. It takes a very light touch, and re-flouring everything constantly, but she did a very good job. Isaac took over the griddle, and I just watched and listened. 

After we finally got through all of those potato dough balls, Tom cleaned up and we prepared some lefse for a late lunch: Still warm from the griddle, slather with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, roll and eat. 

Mmmmm, so good. 

So was the Fatigmand, and there is still plenty for Christmas.

After the kids went on their way, Tom and I prepared some goodie tins to take to the members of our breakfast/Zoom group who live alone or in assisted living. We wanted to spread a little joy and love. 

The darkest day of the year was living up to its title as we set out in a rain storm about 3:00.

We made five stops, and in each case,  we felt our hearts growing as we spread a little love, some at-distance hugs, and some Christmas goodies, including some very fresh lefse and Fatigmand. 

It was a very good Solstice celebration. 


  1. I've often wondered what people do during the dark times of a northern winter. Now I know: they make time-consuming cookies and with the oven on it does double duty by keeping the house warm well. How nice of you to share the experience with your grandchildren and the results with your friends.

  2. Seems like a most fitting celebration.

  3. So happy you can be with your grandchildren and wonderful that they like to cook!!

  4. How wonderful! I love the tradition, and am constantly amazed at how much your grands have matured and grown. Irene is a real beauty. :-)

  5. What a wonderful way to spend time with the grands and spread the spirit of Christmas. Definitely a great way to spend the solstice.

    Take care, stay well!

  6. One of my favorite stories from school is of a boy who made lefse with his grandpa and how great it was. So I see you are giving grandchildren a memorable experience.

  7. how sweet to share your goodies with other and also involve your grand kids in making the treats!

  8. What a fun day with your Grands making memories! How nice of you to share special treats with your zoom friends! :)

  9. Oh, I think that is just wonderful. Irene has the face of an adult, now. No longer a child. I am sure your friends all enjoyed the goodies you gave them. Great idea!

  10. What a special day! Actually your life is full of special days.

  11. Holiday Spirit. This is just wonderful, Linda! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  12. A perfect way to celebrate solstice with two rays of sunshine in your kitchen helping to make all of those homemade goodies.

  13. I'm sure your tins of goodies were much appreciated.

  14. So glad I decided to check in and wish you a Merry Christmas. I was about to miss seeing Jill and the children. It's so nice that they still help with the cookie bake. Isaac and Irene will never forget their days in the kitchen with you and Tom. That is so special. Had to look back and catch up with your last two posts. Hope you and Tom have a Merry Merry Christmas.

  15. Your Fatigmand turn up in Lithuanian cooking too. They have a number of different names but my mother-in-law called then ausukes, little ears.


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