Department Of Authenticity
Next week I am hosting my annual Ladies Lefse Party. Well, once upon a time it was an annual event. After a hiatus of two years, following my mother’s death, I’m ready to get back in the saddle – or lefse griddle, that is.
After my paternal grandfather, a full-blooded Norski-American married to a full-blooded Irish-American,  died (ca. 1963), my grandmother no longer felt up to making the lefse her husband had so adored and that she’d come to love as well.  My mother’s eldest sister, my late Aunt Erva, lived in Spokane, and after her husband died  Erva would drive down south every year in autumn, ahead of the first Spokane snowfall, to spend the winter with her mother in Santa Ana. Thus, Erva assumed the mantle of lefse maker in our family. She made meatcakes (Norwegian-spiced meatballs, a traditional lefse accompaniment) as well.
Like many traditional ethnic dishes, lefse has foundational ingredients, and also variants in composition, preparation and serving. Evey family I’ve met who also “do the lefse thing” have their own favorite recipe which, of course, they consider the “most authentic” way to make and eat lefse.
I’ve been making lefse for longer than I can remember. I took Erva’s recipe and evolved it over the years (or made it “kooky,” as Erva would likely say  ). The lefse is still delicious, if dairy-free, and the “meat”cakes I make are now sans meat (a plant-based version, main ingredient tempeh). Back when I did eat (some) meat I used ground turkey when I made meatcakes, instead of Erva’s more traditional pork-beef blend, but what with my using the distinctive/traditional spices  my parents said, when they were guest at my Christmas Eve table, that they couldn’t taste the difference. Still, moiself always felt my version was missing that certain tinge of maternal family authenticity, which, I came to realize, had nothing to do with the kind of ground meat used. Here is the “flavoring” my versions of meatcakes have always lacked:
(1) an overly crisp exterior (read: I didn’t burn them, which Erva did without fail); 
(2) the ash from Erva’s cigarette. 
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Department Of Look Who’s Talking, Considering What’s On The Back Of My Car….
Dateline: Monday morning, on my way to yoga class. I’m driving behind a big ass truck that has three bumper stickers, which I read when I’m stopped at a traffic light and which get me to wondering about what goes through someone’s mind when they purchase and then apply to their vehicle stickers which proclaim,
My grandson is a Marine
Gulf War Veteran
My car’s stickers are a combination of puns/whimsy and opinionating, meant to make a few salient or silly points or in a (hopefully) humorous manner.
The truck’s third bumper sticker was some variation on the Gun Control Means Using Both Hands rant, and while I disagree with those stickers’ inherent pro-firearms sentiments, I appreciate the jests of the message. As for the previous two stickers I mentioned, I’m curious: why does the person driving that truck think it’s important for moiself, the person stuck behind them in traffic, to know that their grandson is a marine, or that they (the truck’s driver) are a veteran of the Gulf – or any – War? Is it because, as son K has opined,  they want, blatantly or slyly, to brag (ala, “My Child Is An Honors Student At Schlemfarght Junior High School“  ), or have people think highly of them and/or give them receive special treatment because they’ve been in the military?
Perhaps a more generous interpretation would be to ask questions re their motivation along the lines of, Is it that they take pride in their family’s history of military service and/or they wish to raise awareness of such in a society where such service is not mandatory?
Of course, it’s much more petty (read: fun) to impugn their motives using the scant evidence available.
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Department Of ‘Tis The Season For Surprises
Dateline: Wednesday am, 12/5. After posting a Happy Krampusnacht message on Facebook I went to my yoga class. After class, when I turned my cellphone on, I saw this message from daughter Belle:
You gotta change that link you posted on fb about krampus
The very first thing you see when you open it is a huge picture
of someone’s VERY spread open butthole
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry
Before I could panic, the message continued:
Wait I just clicked on it again and it wasn’t there????
I’m sorry I don’t know what’s going on haha
I think I might have gotten a very terrible pop-up ad?
I quickly checked link I’d posted on FB – as intended, it merely led to the Wikipedia article on Krampusnacht. I haven’t heard any other OOPS feedback, so if any of y’all followed the link and got the…unexpected pop up…Happy Holidays!
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Department Of The Partridge  Of The Week
As per an earlier warning post, I will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in my front yard. Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?
* * *
May you evolve your own holiday culinary traditions;
May you have patience with those of us who don’t give a flying fart
where your child is an honor student;
May you enjoy the petty thrill of impugning the motives of strangers;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 That was considered somewhat of a mixed marriage in Northern Minnesota;however, “Bapa” (my Irish grandma) told me that her husband’s parents would have considered it “worse” if he “had married a Swede.”
 No great surprise that an Irishwoman took to loving something which is essentially a potato tortilla.
 In the later 1960s.
 “Kooky” was Erva’s catch-all descriptor for things of which she did not approve, which could range from one’s choice of life partner to haircut or clothing to your career or political opinions. Deciding to open a boutique, which the wife of one of my cousins did, was, according to Erva, “a kooky thing to do.”
 Nutmeg; allspice;, white pepper.
 She swore that’s the only way you could tell if they were “done.”
 More than once I “caught” Erva in grandma’s kitchen frying the meatcakes, a cigarette clenched between her lips, the cigarette’s inch long ash column precipitously dangling over the frying pan.
 K is very, very, “unfond” of such announcement-type bumper stickers.
 I love those immodest stickers for one really great reason: they led to the plethora of “response” or parody stickers which read, e.g., “My golden retriever is smarter than your honor student.”
 In our pear tree.