My ancestors are most recently from Norway. My dad's mom was born and raised in Kristiansand, while my mom's grandmother was from Kristiansund. Being Norwegian has been and remains a significant part of my identity. I am proud of this heritage for many reasons — in particular, their approach to healthcare, the grace and beauty of the people and the land, and their values regarding nature, family, personal time, holidays, and eating.
At least within my family, food played a significant role in my Norwegian identity. My dad's mom, or Farmor in Norwegian (though we called her Mormor for mom's mom because she liked the sound of it better) would make Fårikål (I pronounced it Foi-call) on what felt like a regular basis. Oh man did I hate the smell of it! Stewing cabbage and lamb were not remotely appealing to me! I was significantly more excited about Norwegian food around the Christmas holidays. Holiday baking meant fresh bread and lots and lots of cookies!
Now not all of the cookies we make at Christmas time are Norwegian; we have discovered other personal favorites over the years. But baking cookies and Christmas bread, julekake, has always felt like a Norwegian tradition. Last winter was no exception. I baked so many different cookies that I ran out of my self-made pottery and was forced to offer cookies to guests on purchased serving-ware as well!
It was at a holiday tea, surrounded by my community and friends, where I asked myself, "Why aren't you doing this?" Baking for people has always made me happy. Being able to share my Norwegian heritage with those who have never tasted food from Scandinavia always makes me proud. The feedback from the community was incredibly positive. Perhaps most importantly to me, there were friends from foreign countries who said my cookies tasted like home, or their childhood. It is for that feeling — being able to transport someone to another country, or into their memories — that I pursue my dream to open a bakery or tea house.