My dad would like to think I grew up eating lutefisk for Christmas like he did being 100% Swedish, but for better or worse, I did not. But I really don’t remember what I did have. We spent most of my childhood Christmases at my Grandma and Grandpa Wood’s, and I’m sure we had great holiday feasts, but I don’t remember anything particularly special or ethnic or anything.
Well, okay, the poppyseed rolls were pretty special and might be of Eastern European extraction. My Great-Aunt Mary, whose family was from Czechoslovakia (she was my Grandpa Wood’s sister-in-law; I’m not even a little Czech or Slovak), made them originally. I seriously need that recipe. One of my uncles makes them occasionally, but there’s never enough to go around. Particularly as I’d like all of them to make it around to my tummy.
As time went on and we didn’t go to see my grandparents for a whole week around Christmas, my parents, my brother, and I ended up with a tradition of lasagna for Christmas Eve supper and often Cornish Hens for Christmas Day dinner.
We did have lutefisk once. My Grandpa Strum made it one year. I’m pretty sure I was already an adult, and I’m not sure if my brother was still in Minnesota then. It wasn’t terrible. Really, it wasn’t so bad, but I seem to recall it was kind of rubbery or something, and my dad assured us later that Grandpa hadn’t made it quite right, and it should have been better. Maybe someday I’ll try it again.