Last year, I did a DNA test with Ancestry.com. I wanted to see where I was from, in the national sense. In the ethnic sense. In the cultural sense, having been so devoid and divorced from all the culture I grew up in. I wanted a summary, a percentage chart to tell me who and what and where I could be. It turns out, I'm European. German, and Irish and English. Those are my roots, in the proverbial sense. In the lackadaisical sense of a diaspora that have all culminated to the Eastern part of Indiana where I was born.
Midwestern, that's all you really need to know, at the end of the day, of who I am and what I am.
I thought about this as I perused the books that Nordic Ware sent me to review and bake from. I thought about how my ancestors on my father's side settled in the same county they live in now. How they looked at the expanse of field and the gentle, almost imperceptible slope of flat, flat earth and thought this was a place to raise a family. I thought about how their Protestant work ethic fed families of 8, 10, 12. I thought about how that has shaped the way I eat today - how these cookbooks, and so many more, are a reflection of inherited values and cultures and belief systems that I've lived at the very edge of my entire life, but never deep in their thickets.
Below, I made a bundt cake. I added mayonnaise as the recipe called for. It lasted for days, moist and tender and just the right amount of darkness to it. I also made Swedish pancakes. Lighter, they spread out paper thin on the griddle I used. A bit of fig jam or confectioner's sugar did the trip. They filled me up. They were made with simple ingredients. They told a story I'm still figuring out, about the place I'm from and who I am and how I got here.
Nordic Ware - Book Reviews
Earlier in the Fall, Nordic Ware asked that I bake from two books for them, in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society. These books connected with their brand and heritage, which has always been a subject I've gone back to in my own writing.
Bundt Cake Bliss - find more info here.
When I got this book, I was curious to see if I would find a recipe that I would connect with. While I do not stray away from more down-home style cakes, I wanted my baking to feel authentic. What surprised me was, behind the cover, it read like a regular ol' spiral-bound church cookbook, complete with names and small suggestions for variations. It felt right at home.
So, for this recipe, I baked a classic cake that I remember growing up with: a chocolate bundt made with mayonnaise. Because of the high oil content, I was worried this cake would fall to pieces when I took it out of the pan. Not a problem with with Nordic Ware's copper bundt pan.
You can find the recipe in Bundt Cake Bliss. The photos below show a drizzle I did of cream cheese and a bit of milk and confectioner's sugar.
Jul - find more info here.
For me, Nordic food is a new arena and not one that really played into the food I grew up on in the Midwest..or so I thought. It was exciting to see recipes that my own family had derivatives from--meatballs, Christmas breads, and even pancakes. The high quality of the pictures and easy recipes had me dreaming of how to incorporate a bit of Swedish food into my Christmas table this year.
I made a super simple Swedish Pancake recipe from Jul, using Nordic Ware's slim griddle. As mentioned, I topped mine with fig jam and a squeeze of lemon juice. It was perfect.
A special thanks to Nordic Ware for sponsoring this post. Nordic Ware has been producing quality kitchenware products in their 70 years and are now one of America's most beloved and iconic brands. For more information or products, check out their website!