A Scandinavian FEAST

(This post is a love letter to my breda…her blog can be found at bunchberryfarm.blogspot.com/)

Maple turned 33 a week ago. We went out to Thai dinner and then the next day (on his actual birthday) got Ice Cream. I did not cook, though I did offer to buy him sheet cake from Fred Meyer’s. About this time my breda Mina asked when a good day to have the Birthday Dinner would be, and I told her next week, on the 24th.

Birthday Dinners are a tradition that both Mina and myself grew up with – basically that you get to choose the meal everyone eats on your birthday – and Mina and I have continued this tradition (both with each other and separately) since we arrived in Fairbanks. Mina went far above and beyond the simple title of ‘Meal’ this go-round however. She told me (and I thought she was joking) to prepare for a Scandinavian FEAST. Mina was not joking however, and together Maple and Myself, Mina and her Darlin’ Man, my brother Alex and our dear friend Stephan sat down to a six-hour long FEAST. What follows are the pictures I took.

What the pictures could not capture are how truly beautiful this night was. Beautiful people, long hours of chatting, laughing and stories. A candle lit. Scrabble played. Beverages of many different sort consumed. The sort of night you can’t ever plan, but just be so oh-very-grateful when it occurs.

And the food…what a FEAST it was…

Little Scando-horse for the local Scando-phile.


The beginning. Homemade chilled borscht with sour cream. Two different kinds of homemade sauerkraut: one with caraway, and one made with local turnips and dill.

Close-up of borscht. Served in tea-cups.

Smorgasbord style gravlox, hardboiled eggs (dyed purple with beet juice.) Gravlox was home cured sockeye salmon from Chitina cured with tarragon and dill.

With homemade rye biscuits and mustard and dill for seasoning.

It. Was. Amazing.

Main Course:

Pork loins with apples and prunes. Herbed potatoes (dill and tarragon) stewed in cream. Red cabbage with apples.


In a super sweet gesture, Mina informed us that in Scandinavia it’s a tradition to cook someone at least three desserts, but the more quantity of desserts (after the requisite three) is evidence of your affection. Mina took this challenge to heart and baked Maple no less than four desserts.

The first two desserts.

Bullar (They were like sweet cinnamon rolls. DELISH.)

Swedish Dream Cookies – made with browned butter.

Saffron rice pudding with Alaskan Lingonberries.

Opulence. Delicious Aquavit and Wine that Stephan brought in the background.

And a birthday cake. Happy Birthday Maple.

Blowing out the candles on his Almond Sugar Cake (the traditional cake for name days.)

With cardamom coffee. Of course.

We sat and chatted over cups of coffee.

A beautiful moment in time.


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