Today, my sister and I made Fattigmand. It is a Norwegian delicacy usually made before Christmas. We were a week late this year, due to lack of motivation. Now that Christmas Day is over, we had some time on our hands, and Mom had already bought all the eggs. The cream was in the freezer, and the Peanut Oil was sitting in the pantry. It was a good thing to do on a cold Sunday afternoon while waiting for a baby to come, but that is another blog for the future.
A few years ago, I was able to get in on the Lefse making, and the doughnut making, but I had not experienced the Fattigmand making. Basically, it is deep fried egg yolks with cardamom and a little bit of brandy, but I was at Mass when my sister made the dough, so I am sure there is more to it than that. She rolled the dough. I had the dangerous job of manning the fryer.
The dough is rolled very thin, sliced with a crimping tool into diamond shapes, and then a slit is cut in the middle. You are supposed to turn the dough through the hole to make a twist. That was too delicate for us, so we just fried it in diamonds, and it crinkled on its own. The Fattigmand comes out as a very thin, crispy pastry. After the pieces are cooled, the perfect ones are sorted out, and sprinkled with powdered sugar just before serving. It is pretty labor intensive. Fosdal’s Bakery in Stoughton charges a dollar apiece for Fattigmand, and they don’t taste as good because theirs are baked. We say forget that healthy method.
I love sharing all these practices with my family, here…the Christmas Eve worship, the gathering celebrations, and the specialty foods. I am not Norwegian by birth. I am Norwegian by a marriage of 61 years. It is good to get in touch with your history, especially when it is your present.