Monday, January 28, 2008


In explanation:

(The spelling: I wasn't sure how to spell it in my last post--"rummengrot" is just how I say it. In Norwegian it is properly rømmegrøt.)

'No arm twisting was necessary, however, to get me to eat rømmegrøt, the legendary cream porridge that Norwegians call their national porridge and whose recipe reportedly has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. Floating in drawn butter, it is a dish so divine that one can easily visualize the Scandinavian Gods Odin and Thor relishing it from golden spoons. Definitely a meal in itself and then some, it was a dish my mother often served when unexpected relatives dropped in around suppertime (there were no telephones on the prairies to warn one of unexpected guests) and she wanted to serve them something very special.

This is how my mother made it. She poured a quart of thick sour cream into a frying pan and boiled it for about five minutes to reduce it, then sifted half a cup of flour over it and continued to boil it until bubbles of butter could be seen around the edges. Next she began to stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until she could tip the pan slightly and ladle out some of the butter. My mother stirred and ladled, and stirred and ladled, until finally she had a cream pitcher filled with beautiful drawn butter. Left in the pan was the moist golden curd.

Setting this aside, my mother scalded six cups of milk in a large kettle, then sifted a cup of flour, three tablespoons sugar, and a tablespoon of salt into the milk and beat vigorously until she had a smooth sauce. Finally, the curd left in the frying pan was added, and another five or ten minutes of hard beating was required before the curd disappeared smoothly into the mixture. The porridge was now ready. It smelled fabulous--like something straight out of a Sigrid Undset saga.

The rømmegrøt was poured onto dinner plates and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, after which the drawn butter was poured over it until it formed a golden rim around the plate. Absolutely nothing else was served with it--except a glass of milk. Tradition held that one must drink milk with rømmegrøt!

When I describe this meal to my non-Norwegian friends they often ask, "Didn't you get hungry before you went to bed?" And I always reply, "If you are ever able to work your entire way around a dinner plate of rømmegrøt, I guarantee you that you will not be hungry for another twelve, fifteen, make that twenty-four hours."'

From the book Nothing to Do but Stay: My Pioneer Mother by Carrie Young

Now I don't make my porridge just the way that Carrine Berg (Carrie's mother) made hers. Her rømmegrøt is more the inspiration for mine. Mine is just made from milk, freshly ground whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, and brown sugar to taste. It is one of my very favorite breakfasts. One can only eat a smallish portion of it, but it does a good job of keeping you until the next meal (or if you are eating for two, perhaps until the next time for a snack!) My mama's version of rømmegrøt porridge is wonderful; she makes it many mornings for my papa and siblings. Sometime she will have to write down what she does, and when she does I will share it.


Michal said...

Mmm, that does sound like a good breakfast :-) Especially for cold winter mornings. I'll have to try it sometime!

Melissa said...

Dearest Kat.
I hereby grant full permission to pass on all that you know about making my humble version of what we call rummengrot around here! Carrine's version is so inspiring, isn't it? Thanks for sharing the whole delightful quote. It is a favorite.
Love always,