24 December 2011
It WILL be a Merry Christmas! Last year, I wasn't able to find any lefse for our Christmas Eve smorgasbord, the Norwegian tortilla made of potatoes that you slather with a fistful of butter, sprinkle with a pound of sugar, then roll up and eat like a Scandinavian pixie stick. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to roll up to my New Hampshire grocery store and find Norwegian delicacies in the refrigerated section like I could in Minnesota. Duh. The lack of Lutheran ladies pedaling samples on Saturday afternoons should have been my first clue. There are no Norwegians here so why would anyone carry lefse ("What is it again?" "It's called lefse." "Pizza?" "No, LEFSE." "How do you spell it?" "It's L-E-F- oh never mind.")? Norwegians started coming to the east coast in the late 1860's but, when they couldn't dig a damn hole because of all the rocks (uff da!), they went to Minnesota. Hence all the Lutheran ladies pedaling samples on Saturday afternoons.
But this year I did some research..............and planned a roadtrip to Karl's Sausage Kitchen and European Market in Saugus, Mass, outside Boston. We scheduled our Sausage Kitchen stop to take place after an afternoon in Boston. Driving and parking in and around Boston is ri-DONK-ulous. It's batshit craxy. Yes, I meant to say craxy. That's just how crazy it is. The words "right" or "left" or "straight" or "direction" or "can you keep the same street name for more than a f*ing block" are completely meaningless. So in order to lessen the holiday driving stress, I again did some research and hatched an expensive but brilliant scheme:
We would use the valet at a fancy hotel to park our car, eat lunch in the hotel restaurant, pay the overnight parking fee, walk to our downtown destination, and then continue to Saugus for lefse.
But after driving every street in the city of Boston, we still couldn't find that damn hotel with their fancy valet. We drove by the address about 19 times, the GPS mocking us every time with her "Arriving at address.....on right." And before we got to where the hotel was supposed to be, we had been doing this:
May I remind you that this is WITH a GPS? It's all a guessing game and if you interpret the left hand veer to be just 2 degrees further to the left, you will have taken the wrong left hand veer and missed your turn (for the 3rd time) and inadvertently gotten back on the highway (for the 3rd time) where you will have to pay a $3.50 toll.
Finally, when we see a giant blue "P" sign, we just drive in and park. Is it near our destination? WHO KNOWS? We have to forge ahead on foot! It's the only way!
And we DO find the hotel on foot. But they are too cool to announce themselves with anything like a sign or a doorman or a place to check in. Even the windows are tinted so you can't peek inside and see all the cool people there. Completely dark and nondescript until you step inside and experience the avant garde-ness of it all. We're not eating there at this point because our plan is foiled; but we just had to find it and ask Dieter or Bauhaus or Schnell how you actually get your car parked there.
Then Boston day is finished - and we're faced with getting out. We're afraid. How will we get to Karl's Sausage Kitchen before Christmas?
We brace ourselves, get in the car and buckle up. The ride is spastic and feels innately wrong.......like you're swimming down instead of swimming up toward daylight. The traffic is fast but the roads are small. And so not straight. The GPS shows us where to go but we don't believe her. As in:
"That was it! You missed the turn!"
"That wasn't even a road - that was like a sidewalk!"
"You were supposed to turn left on that sidewalk!"
At one point, it felt like we were driving in someone's backyard. But lo and behold, after fearing we would end up in Whitey Bulger's driveway, we see a shining beacon of light! A sign lit from within! Karl's Sausage Kitchen!
We pop a wheelie onto the shoulder (or do a pop a wheelie. it's a constant argument in our house) and careen into the parking lot. I'm manic when I go in and approach the counter.
"Lefse! Where's the lefse? Do you have any lefse left?"
I send Mike to look for lingonberries, Liam runs for candy, and I guard my space and bark my order like there are throngs of Norwegians behind me trying to score the last of the lefse before Christmas Eve (there was no one behind me).
We make our purchases and explode out the door - VICTORIOUS! And I'm like "LEFSE! LEFSE! YUM YUM! LEFSE!" And instead of being an irritated ball of stress, Mike is like "We did it! We did it!" (subtly, of course). And because he loves me and knows what I like, he quickly snaps a pic of Liam under the Karl's Sausage Kitchen sign.
That's a Merry Christmas.
A super Merry Christmas.
God jul, everyone.