Some of Allrecipes’ talented staff members are passionate about other parts of the planet, so when a big holiday comes up in their favorite country, it’s the perfect time to share the love, along with special recipes! This week, it’s ‘Syttende Mai’ for the Norway lovers in the group!
Confession: A few of us at Allrecipes adore Norway’s brown goat cheese. It’s called gjetøst in Norwegian (pronounced “yiet-oast”) and it’s sold in big blocks that look like bricks. You shave off paper-thin slices using a cheese plane, a handy tool invented by clever Norwegians (who also invented the paper clip and the Evinrude outboard motor). Slightly sweet, slices can top heart-shaped waffles or crisp rye flatbread.
|Heart-shaped waffles topped with Norwegian goat cheese|
All over Norway on May 17th, in every town small and large, there are parades of school children and adults carrying Norway’s flag with its red, blue and white cross—along with marching bands and countless speeches by dignitaries. What is most significant about Syttende Mai (pronounced “Soot-n-duh My”) is its non-military aspect. By involving children, the holiday looks to the future while honoring the past and Norwegian history. In Oslo, the parade begins at the royal palace with Norway’s royal family waving from a balcony as throngs of marchers swirl past and walk down the city’s main street past the Parliament buildings.
Given Seattle’s Nordic immigrant history, particularly in its Ballard neighborhood, May 17th is a really big deal—and has been since 1889. The neighborhood hosts a day-long Syttende Mai Festival with a luncheon at the local Sons of Norway Lodge, kids’ activities, concerts, and at 6:00PM, the largest Syttende Mai parade outside of Norway, with more than 100 participating groups watched by 20,000+ spectators. If you have any Norwegian or Viking genes, you have to be there! We always end up going, sitting on the curb to watch the sights and grabbing a pølser (Norwegian-style hot dog) wrapped in lefse, traditional wheat or potato flatbread. (The style depends on which region of Norway the cook is from.)
|Rita and Allie Spangler at Ballard's Syttende Mai parade|
|Some of the smallest Norwegian-Americans in the Ballard Syttende Mai parade|
|Traditional Norwegian potato lefse|
|Gravlox served as an open-face sandwich|