Since my mom was born in Norway, the traditions that she grew up with also became ours.
Her baking and cooking, especially during Christmas, have always been some of our favorite traditions...
The top 3 on our list every Christmas season were... potatiskorv, heart shaped waffles, (in her old Norwegian cast iron waffle maker), and riisengrut... (and #4 would be about 25 varieties of her homemade Norwegian cookies)...
Potatiskorv was a sausage my mom made with pork, veal, potatoes and onions, all hand ground in her meat grinder, and stuffed into sausage casings and cooked. Oh how I would love some right now!!
Riisengrut was what we always had on New Years Eve. It is white rice cooked in milk, like a thick and creamy rice pudding. We each had a big bowl with a big lump of butter melting on top and cinammon and sugar. It's delicious!
In one of the bowls, my mom put an almond and buried it in the rice. Then she switched the bowls all around, with her eyes closed, so she had no idea which bowl held the almond. Traditionally, the almond was to bring special things in the coming year to the person whose bowl it was in...
As we began to eat, each one of us held our breath till the winner declared they had the almond in their bowl. The winner got a big gift wrapped box of something special. To this day, I can't remember what the gift was... it was all about trying to be sure we had the almond in our bowl!
We carried that tradition on with our 3 kids all through the years. Our gift was a coffee can filled with pennies that had been saved through the year. Our youngest son won that almond so many times, that we finally all said... just give the can of pennies to Tommy, before we even ate... (all 3 of them will be laughing and nodding in agreement if they read this!)
A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers.