No, I don't mean the famous Muppets' character with his bushy eyebrows and mustache and bork, bork, bork - although he is one of my favorite characters *g*. The chef I'm referring to is my own mother.
Okay, so maybe my mom was born in America but her grandparents hailed from Sweden, resulting in her not only getting to lead the procession on Saint Lucia's day when she was a young girl (complete with a wreath of lit candles on her head, no less) but her heritage also helped shape the meals and traditions she passed down to her own family. No, we never celebrated St. Lucia's day when I was growing up, but we did have three dishes I consider very much a part of my mom's heritage. I also consider them very...unique...if only because I've never met another person who has ever heard of them, let alone eaten them :-)
Korv. We only had Korv (otherwise known as Swedish Christmas sausage) at the holidays. As a matter of fact, my mom still cooks and serves Korv for Thanksgiving. It's a sausage made of beef, pork, potatoes and spices. My mother boils it then browns it in the oven. We've never eaten it on a bun (although I'm sure you could) but just plain. Actually, though it's a mild sausage, I don't eat it at all *g* But my husband likes it.
Lutefisk. Now this...delicacy...(and believe me, I use that term loosely *g*) is one my husband does not like. To be honest, I can't think of anyone who does like it except my dad. My husband first tried it when we all traveled over to my mom's hometown for lutefisk dinner at my uncle's restaurant. I told him not to eat it but as this was early in our marriage, he wanted to impress his in-laws and ignored my advice.
Let's just say he regretted it *g*
Lutefisk is dried cod prepared with lye. Basically, the fish is soaked in water for a few days then the saturated fish is soaked in a mixture of water and lye which gives it a jelly-like consistency. Then, to make it edible again, it's soaked in water a few more days before it's cooked. My mom always made lutefisk in a white gravy served over mashed potatoes. But believe me, there isn't enough gravy in the world to make it any less nasty. She stopped making it years ago. A fact for which we're all thankful for ;-)
Pepparkakor cookies. Yes! Finally, a recipe I do like *g* These cookies are still a staple at my mom's at Christmas time. My son loves them even more than I do. They're sort of like gingersnaps but my mom's are darker, rolled paper thin then cut into shapes. I don't have the recipe at the moment but I'll see if I can find it to post. They're labor intensive because of how thin you have to roll the dough but if you like a crisp, sweet, ginger/molasses-like cookie, the effort will be worth it!
Have you heard of (or tasted) any of the items I've listed? Cooked them yourself? What are some of the recipes handed down in your family?