Kake Kage Caca Caga… Cake

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

San Geraldo didn’t make his traditional Norwegian Kransekake (wreath cake) this Christmas. It’s a huge amount of work with inconsistent results. But it’s so delicious. I really missed it, so I went to a few of the local Scandinavian markets to see what I could find. I was sort of successful at one shop. Although they don’t carry the complete ring towers famous in Norway (they wouldn’t ship well), they do have small packages of the pastry (this one from Sweden and called “kage” instead of “kake”).

At €4.25 for four little pieces, it’s ridiculously expensive. But I thought I would splurge for today’s lunchtime dessert. You might remember that “kake” (pronounced “kah-kah”) in Norwegian means cake. And “caca” (or caga) in Spanish means poop. So, it surprises our Spanish friends when I tell them we love to eat many kinds of Norwegian kake.

As for today’s “Kransekage”: Well, it wasn’t PURE “caca,” but I won’t buy it again… even though it was dipped in chocolate.

Click here, here, and here to experience the history of kransekake at our house.

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San Geraldo no hizo su tradiciónal kransekake (pastel de corona) de noruega ésta navidad. Es una gran cantidad de trabajo con resultados inconsistentes. Pero es tan delicioso. Realmente me lo perdí, así que fui a algunos de los mercados escandinavos locales para ver qué podía encontrar. Tuve algo de éxito en una tienda. Aunque no tienen las torres de anillo completas famosas en Noruega (no se enviarían bien), tienen paquetes pequeños de pastelería (este de Suecia y que se llama “kage” en lugar de “kake”).

A 4,25 € por cuatro piezas pequeñas, es ridículamente caro. Pero pensé que iba a derrochar el postre de hoy para el almuerzo. Tal vez recuerdes que “kake” (pronunciado “kah-kah”) en noruego significa pastel. Entonces, sorprende a nuestros amigos españoles cuando les digo que nos encanta comer muchos tipos de kake noruego.

En cuanto al “Kransekage” de hoy: Bueno, no fue “caca” PURA, pero no lo compraré de nuevo… a pesar de que fue sumergido en chocolate.

Haz clic aquí , aquí, y aquí para ver la historia de kransekake en nuestra casa.

I should have been suspicious when I saw they had hyphenated the product name! Who approved THAT design?!? (The “r” in the name makes it plural.) / ¡Debería haber sospechado cuando vi que tenían un guión con el nombre del producto! ¿¡¿Quién aprobó ESE diseño?!? (La “r” en el nombre lo hace plural.)

A Very Yerry Christmas

San Geraldo’s maternal grandparents were both Norwegian, his grandmother from Bergen in the south and his grandfather from way above the Arctic Circle. His grandmother, Gudrun, focused on becoming “American” and couldn’t understand why her grandson, who to this day refers to her as “Gramma” Nelson, was so interested in her past in Norway.

WITH “GRAMMA” NELSON, 1949.

I never met Gramma Nelson. She died just before I met her grandson, around the same time my sister, Dale, died. But over the years I’ve heard many loving and funny stories about her.

No matter how hard she tried to become solidly American, Gramma Nelson never lost her Norwegian accent. Of especial difficulty for her was the “J” sound. Her grandson Jerry was always called “Yerry.”

ANOTHER OF OUR CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS,
YERRY’S BABY RATTLE.

Wednesday afternoon, while we waited for Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here if you haven’t met her) to arrive at Málaga Airport, we had overpriced Starbuck’s cafe mochas and overpriced stale Starbuck’s pastries. At least the staff was nice. When he ordered our drinks, San Geraldo gave the name “Jerry.” When we received our drinks, we knew Gramma Nelson was right there with us.

From another Nelson… Gee, ain’t it funny how time just slips away?

Why Move? Why Leave? Why Spain?

To the first and second “why” questions, there are so many answers.  But, the easiest responses are, because we can and because we want to (or vice versa).  We have talked for years about living in Europe.

I thought of moving to England in the late ’70s.

Jerry and I considered the Netherlands in the ’90s (those “Bush the First” years).  Coming from San Diego at the time, we decided we could if we had to, but the weather would be an adjustment.

Then in the “George Jr.” years, we considered Ireland (a job prospect in Dublin for Jerry) but again decided the weather would be an adjustment, along with some social/political/religious issues.  Not to mention the fact that we weren’t a legally recognized couple and I, therefore, would have no legal right to go/stay with him.

Our next thought during the George Jr. years was Norway.  Specifically Bergen.  We thought, well, we love Seattle.  And Bergen reminds us in so many ways of Seattle.  We figured, we can tolerate the weather in Seattle (well, no, we really can’t), so how difficult could Bergen be?  Our family in Bergen loved the idea of having us as neighbors (no, really, they did).  But they thought we were nuts if we believed we could tolerate the weather.

We then did some research and learned that Seattle gets 37 inches of precipitation a year.  The total isn’t significant except that it’s continual drizzles.  (Seattle Rain Festival: January 1-December 31).  But, Bergen, hold onto your hats, gets EIGHTY-NINE INCHES OF PRECIPITATION a year.  And it’s almost all rain.  And the rain falls sideways. There’s no escaping it.

Southern Spain is a popular and easy-to-reach tourist destination for Norwegians.  So, we thought we could spend half the year in Bergen and half in Southern Spain.  But that still meant at least, unscientifically speaking, 45 inches of rain.  And, as I just mentioned, in Bergen it rains sideways.

So, we’re still here.

Until we had our hotel in Palm Springs from 2000-2003 (that requires another post), we had talked a lot about retiring there.  And when we returned to Southern California from Vegas last year, that was back as the top possibility.

But the problem was that Palm Springs, although beautiful, just didn’t excite us anymore.  There isn’t anything new for us.  So, we bought “Retirement Places Rated” for the U.S. and studied.  And we still couldn’t find that spark.

A few months passed and we started to talk about Europe again.  We decided to list out our requirements in order of priority and then narrow down to regions, countries, and cities based on those factors.

The top priority (I’ll admit to being a bit shallow on this one):
THE WEATHER.
We realized a pleasant climate — a la San Diego — was what we required.  That knocked off a whole bunch of countries.

The second priority was political/social climate:
Admittedly this went hand in hand with weather.  Cuba’s sunshine and ocean breezes can be quite charming, but we’re not rushing off to live there.

Other requirements (and no longer in order of priority) were:
An interesting culture and history; a population that welcomes outsiders; safe and secure living conditions; a language we could learn; national/nature parks; good healthcare; good public transportation–local, regional, and national; easy/cheap access to other parts of Europe; and I can’t remember what else right now.

That led us to Southern Spain–Andalucia.  But we didn’t want to end up in an expat community surrounded only by other non-Spaniards (and Andalucia has a number of beautiful communities filled with expats).  So, we did more research, talked to more people, and finally narrowed down to Sevilla.  After deciding on Sevilla, we re-opened the discussion (we re-open discussions a lot) and decided to look in the outlying area for smaller cities where we could more easily relax (and where our money would go further).  We decided to follow the train line down from Sevilla to Cadiz.  And there it was, Jerez de la Frontera.  Home to sherry, the horse, and the flamenco.  Also  home to the Motorcycle Grand Prix (not really on our list of interests).