Jan 6, 2010

Part 2:
"Twas the Night Before



     On a dairy farm there is always work to do....even on Christmas Eve.   As soon as we were finished with the breakfast, Papa and Nainy cleaned up the kitchen and the girls made the Ris ala Malta which is  a pudding made from the leftover rice porridge, tons of whipped cream and peeled amd chopped fresh orange sections.  It is DELICIOUS!!!  Since it has to be cooled quickly and the large bowl it was in was too big (about 16" across) for the fridge with all the other food items for the evening meal, it was put out into the snowdrift outside the door  for a quick cooldown.  Here it is in the enamelware pan, covered with plastic in the snow.  It worked perfectly!

     Gustav and the missionaries went out to shovel all the snow off the steps of the farm buildings .......

and then they went to fill up "Big Red", the main furnace that supplies heat above and below ground for the entire farm complex.  That is quite an undertaking at the best of times.

  The large bag of wood must be hauled with the forklift on the tractor to the door of the Pannrum (furnace room), emptied into the wood crate, and  loaded into the red furnace.  In the pannrum there are enormous holding tanks where water is heated, stored, and circulated throughout the system.

     Meanwhile,  Manny and Clint were attending to some formidable barn chores, including "drilling in the urine pit" which must be done daily so that the circular cement walls don't split from the pressure when the liquid freezes.  Manny had to go down the ladder into the pit and drill all the way through the frozen surface below.  Not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.  Clint didn't have to take a back seat to anyone!  His years of ranch work when he was growing up outfitted him just fine in the muscle department.  We were so impressed with his good humor and "pitch in" mentality.  A great combination of brains AND brawn.  It  was wonderful to have him and to get to know him on the farm.

With the work all done and the animals tended, it was time for us to gather inside for the evening meal. 

 Julbord (Christmas table)
(picture to follow soon - the one above is just to fill the space)

        The Julbord is the Christmas smörgasbord and is eaten in "tours":

Cold Fish
Warm Fish
Cold Meats
Warm Meats
Ris Ala Malta

     Looks fairly simple right?  Wrong. 

       Just on the first tour of Cold Fish I counted ELEVEN fish dishes. There were pickled herrings of every kind, some with vegetable filled brine, some with mustard, some with onions, some in salads with creamy dressings, smoked mackeral and trout, not to mention the non-fish accompanying salads made with red beets and cream, apples and other fruits, potatoes, etc.  There was caviar, hard boiled eggs, matjessill (yet a different kind of herring), pickled beets as well as other types of pickles and relishes, crudites, you name it!  When you moved on to the Warm Fish tour you had all of the above plus an enormous filet of baked salmon on a bed of salt, Jonsson's frestelse (Johnson's temptation), a hot creamy potato dish with anchovies,  and don't forget the rolled fish fillets in tomato sauce and crumb fried fish fillets with  dill sandwiched between them. 
     By the time we got to the cold meats some of us were feeling a little full, but we plowed on manfully into the sliced ham, jellied veal, rolled stuffed veal,  liver pate, liverwurst, ....are you still with us?  Warm meats included meatballs with gravy, glazed spareribs, prinskorv (princes sausages) which are little links that are incredibly finely ground and so delicious,  served with mustard and flanked with hot red cabbage cooked with apple,  a pot of spiced brown beans and more boiled potatoes.  Have I mentioned the breads (both soft and crisp) and cheeses made in our own dairy?

If you want your Christmas presents (and Manny and Gustav certainly did as you can see from the picture below), you HAVE to eat at least one bite of the dreaded lutefisk.  It is kind of like biting into a tasteless piece of slimy, wet, rubbery.... something.  This year I saved a recipe from a wonderful Swedish
 magazine showing beautiful lutefisk drenched in a cream sauce with sparkling green peas and bits of crisp bacon.  I thought I would make it in what turned out to be a vain attempt at producing a more palatable lutefisk dish.  Not good.  In fact, not even close to good.  The lutefisk that we thought could not get any worse, did.   We did our best, everyone ingested at least one mouthful and then it was into the dining room (salen) for the the present opening.
Papa was in charge of giving out the gifts.  He felt he had to smell this one that came from the States for Elder Harris.....but eventually he passed it over. 

Everyone exchanged their gifts and then we got to talk to loved ones over  Skype.  It was a wonderful evening in every end a wonderful day.
We ended up putting the Ris Ala Malta away for the next morning and after a little bit of visiting went to bed.  A lovely Christmas for all of us.

We hope you had the same!


Lauralee said...

I've been waiting for Part Two! Thrilled to read about your happy Christmas Day. Everything seemed strangely wonderful, in a foreign kinda way.

(Please let me know if my last two packages arrived safely. I've been holding my breath waiting to hear.)

Anonymous said...

Oh Nainy! You have outdone yourself! The blogs as wonderful! I love the narration! /Louise