The table that spikes a sweet memory for me is my Grandmother’s round oak table. Extended for the Christmas holiday with three leaves, it could accommodate most of the family of eight and their wives. We cousins were seated at auxiliary tables on the porch and living room. But the round (extended oval) table was always the prettiest, with Swedish painted candleholders and a seasonal tablecloth.
The air was electric with the fun of cousins eyeing packages under the decorated tree and playing games like Uncle Wiggley. One year Grandma lit the tree with Swedish clip-on candles.
We would feast on the traditional Christmas fare including lutefisk (for the adults) with white sauce and clarified butter, potato sausage for the rest, boiled potatoes, corn, sweet potato casserole (with marshmallows, always with marshmallows), lime jello cottage cheese and walnut salad (or green, red and white three layered jello salad), and ost ka ka (Swedish curd/cheese cake.) All was a feast for the eye as well as the stomach.
And for dessert, there was a big bowl of Rice Pudding topped with light, foamy meringue within which a single good luck almond had been hidden. The bowl was passed around the table for each to serve himself and the person lucky enough scoop up the almond will see a good year ahead. This tradition continues to this day and we still use Grandma’s (now Aunt Signe’s) recipe.
The table is with my son and his family.
Priscilla Hill sets her Swedish Christmas table and makes her rice pudding in northwestern Wisconsin near where she grew up.