As I write this, my friend, Wayne Knain, probably is on his second or third bowl of rommegrot, a rich, creamy wheat porridge.
While Syttende Mai (May 17) isn’t until tomorrow, Wayne, a full-blooded Norwegian, is celebrating the holiday a day early in his hometown of Northwood, N.D. It seems the folks there don’t want it to conflict with the Grand Forks Sons of Norway celebration Sunday.
Of course, Wayne will take in those festivities, too. He wouldn’t miss the chance to have rommegrot two days in a row.
Syttende Mai, for those of you who don’t know, has a similar significance in Norway as July 4 has in the United States. It marks the country’s declaration of independence and the triumph of constitutional government. This day is also called Constitution Day and National Day and is a great spring festival in Norway.
Norway’s independence is much more recent than America’s (less than 90 years compared to 225), and observance of Syttende Mai is still a very important occasion in Norway — and in areas of the U.S. with large populations of people of Norwegian descent.
Just as in Norway, there are lots of parades and celebrations on Syttende Mai in cities across North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa — and probably a few other states.
And you can bet that there is a ton of rommegrot served.
For you non-Norwegians like me, here is an interesting recipe for rommegrot, just in case you’d like to try your hand at making it.
And don’t be alarmed by the massive amounts of butter, milk and heavy whipping cream this recipe contains. These natural saturated fats are good for you, and should be enjoyed without guilt.
4½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter
¾ cup whole wheat flour (preferably whole wheat pastry flour)
½ cup maple syrup
Cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling on top
Heat milk and cream over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Be careful not to let it scorch or boil over. In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter to use as a topping for the Rommegrot.
While milk is heating, melt the remaining 2 sticks of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Gradually whisk in the flour, and cook over medium heat for five minutes, whisking constantly. The flour/butter mixture should be smooth and bubbly.
Slowly whisk hot milk and cream into the flour mixture. Cook, stirring frequently until mixture bubbles and thickens. Turn off heat, and stir in the maple syrup. Serve warm, with the melted butter and cinnamon-sugar as toppings.
Yield: Serves 8.