Saturday, November 20, 2010

Heritage

My family has always emphasized it's Norwegian heritage for my whole life. This means weird jokes about Ole and Lena (thanks Dad), a general knowledge of Norwegian cuisine (lefse* and lutefisk**), and for me a name that is generally mispronounced by most of the population. The actual percentage of Norwegian in my blood is pretty diluted, but it's the only culture that has really hung on in my family.

heritage

I am Norwegian via my father's side. My mother's side is pretty much Irish (and some other stuff, of course). My mother has kindly made lefse* claiming no responsibility for any imperfections, even though it's always great, because she lacks the proper heritage.

The other day she received a phone call that threw my mother's image of her heritage on it's ear. She learned that her mother's maiden name McLaughlin means, one who comes from Norway (not confirmed by any scholarly research on my part)! So I have been celebrating, though I am not really sure why, my new found Norwegian info.

I suppose I am enough of a mutt that I have no business claiming any other heritage beyond American, but that's just how I do it I suppose. What's your background?

*Lefse is kind of like a tortilla made from potato. Mine has been veganized and I like it with margarine and a sprinkle of sugar rolled up into a little treat. Die hards would never use sugar.

**Lutefisk is essentially rotten fish, gaaa-roooossss.

9 comments:

affectioknit said...

I love that! Up here in Norwegian country we get asked about our nationality a lot - and although I've traced our ancestors back to the 1600's I often just answer that we're 'mutts' too...when your family has been in America for hundreds of years there has been lots of opportunity for mixing...whereas a lot of people here have living memories of great grandparents who came over from Sweden/Norway/Denmark...

Robin said...

I miss my Grandmas lefse soooo much! My fave memories were her showing me how to make it. It's hard to o and takes forever!

*Ummm... who wouldn't put sugar on it???? That's the best way!

Daphne said...

Oh my god, I love lefse. I used to have that in Finland sometimes.

Pam Brewer said...

Maria- I feel obligated (as I am 1/2 Norwegian) to tell you that lutefisk is ceremonial food. It sustained our ancestors as they crossed the ocean in harsh conditions to homestead in the Midwest (in harsh conditions). Just a taste, please, to appease the ancestors. :)

Maria Rose said...

Pam, I do know about lutefisk...but thank goodness I can claim vegan on this one. I don't eat animal products at all, so I am safe from lutefisk. I did smell it when I was a young girl and that odor will haunt my dreams forever.

Keia Kato-Berndt said...

Norwegian? That is so cool. And Lefse sounds sooo tasty.

My dad is Japanese, and my mother is Greek and Irish.

Momma CupKate said...

Today, at 3 p.m., my sister will welcome another Maria (pronounced like Your name, despite the distinct lack of Norwegian heritage) into the folds of her family. While this beautiful little niece of mine is affectionately dubbed Ria for now, I suspect that as she ages, she'll become more validated by her full name.

And by the by, I LOVE Norwegian Christmases! My kiddos will probably grow up thinking they're December Norwegians, lol!

Soley said...

My Mother in Law is a McLaughlin too!!
We gave our youngest the middle name Lachlan to honor the Irish on her side of the family, and my Icelandic heritage because Lachlan is Irish, and roughly translates to 'the place where the vikings live'.
Speaking of gross food, ask Anne about the sheeps head in Iceland...

Maria from Sweden said...

Lutefisk is so nice!

We eat that in Sweden also for Christmas, it's very good!

With potatoes and a white sauce.

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