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Monthly Feature: Holiday Traditions

By January 9, 2017June 24th, 2021Uncategorized

Thank you to Cindy Jurgensen for providing the following article on her family holiday traditions! 

As I’m sure all of you do, our family has a few holiday traditions that we believe are important and that we want to pass on. But a January article on the holidays? Sorry, but there just wasn’t time beforehand!

What’s special for our family? An apple and an orange must go in the toe of the Christmas stocking, a tribute to my mother’s father giving us fruit (and nuts) each year as we walked out the door from the annual dinner and presents. Even though they’re grown up, our sons Eric and Michael must hang their Thumb Body ornaments on the tree (mom’s idea!) and every year take turns hanging the homemade (albeit fairly tacky!) gray star at the top of the tree.

This year we added something new and special: making latkes to serve warm with applesauce and sour cream, a tradition in future (we hope!) daughter-in-law Emma’s home. Though not typically breakfast fare, we had them for brunch, along with a vegetable frittata, fruit and my great grandma’s liver sausage. Making 12 loaves of liver sausage sometime before the holidays is a must for my dad’s side. (If you are interested in the recipe, just let me know). It bakes for 2 ½ hours then is pan-fried in butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper before eating.

For two years running, we’ve made Strawberry Santas to bring to my husband Curt’s family in Red Wing. We just might call that a ‘two and done’ tradition as those little red men are very putzy to construct in-between Christmas brunch, presents, showers, walking the dogs, and driving to Red Wing from St. Louis Park!

Curt’s grandmother, Bernice Fredrickson, lived in Northfield and was well-known for the buckets of flatbread and butter she generously offered anyone who came to his grandfather’s Skelly station. Her recipe is basic but excellent and the one we make with the kids:

1 cup white flour

1 cup graham flour

2 teaspoon lard or shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

Hot water (no amount given!)

Work shortening into flour as for pie crust. Add hot water enough to make a stiff dough so it can be rolled out thin on a pastry cloth. Bake on lefse grill at 450 F. about 10 minutes. Crisp in oven at 250 F.

Since our Peace Corps days, a favorite meal is African Groundnut Stew which our kids and their mates also love. We have always encouraged our boys to cook, so having them help make meals when they’re home for the holidays is a given! We added homemade Mint Chip Frozen Custard to the menu, a wonderful treat after the work of making the stew and Flatbread.

The holidays are special no matter what your traditions!

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