Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holiday Baking (part 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)

My husband is third generation American - half Swedish and half German.  To paraphrase the biblical story of Ruth, I believed, "What thou eatest, I will eat... thy cookies shall be my cookies... "  

Well, you get the picture.  Thanks to the movie The Sound of Music, I had a master plan for our first Christmas: sitting beneath a huge tree, singing Edelweiss and happily munching fancy cookies, my favorite things.  Ethnic things.  

The ethnic bit nearly ended my marriage.

There's an old German saying: That which really tastes oft us trouble makes.  That should've warned me.  It didn't.  

I studied German and Swedish Christmas customs.  A good wife gets up at 4:00 a.m. to mix her cookies.  No sunlight should land on the dough or disaster would befall the household.  The good wife hoped there'd be a crescent moon to bring good luck to her baking.  No kidding.  Without that sliver of light she could get killed, stumbling around in the dark like that.  

For our first December thirteenth as a married couple, I decided that I was going to create an authentic Swedish Saint Lucia Day.  

According to tradition, saffron buns and coffee were served between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. by the eldest daughter, who was dressed as the Lucia Queen.  Since we didn't have children, I, as an eldest daughter, became the first Maltese Lucia Queen.  Ever.

I stitched up a long white robe and tied shining red balls to our Advent wreath.  I memorized the traditional poem.  I made a batch of cinnamon buns. 

Yes, I made cinnamon, not saffron, buns.

Have you priced saffron lately?

part 3

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