The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Julebord





On Saturday night, Dec 6th, Rich and I attended our very first Julebord. A Julebord is a traditional Norwegian Christmas party. This party was in Madla, just down the road from us, at one of the Norwegian bases. It is a training base for Norwegian conscripts. Everyone gives one year of service to the Norwegian military. A little off-track information that Rich just told me...there is only two different ranks within the enlisted corps here in Norway...you are a conscript (like a private) or you can be promoted to a Sgt. That's it...and the officer corps is also very different from the U.S. system. I just found that interesting... Anyhow, I digress! We were at Madla to celebrate Christmas with other military members from the Joint Welfare Centre (NATO - where Rich works) and the Norwegian Military Headquarters (currently co-located with JWC). There were people there from many different countries. We sat with some Americans, Germans and Norwegians. All of which were co-workers and friends. Our Norwegian friends talked us through the traditions, which was really fun. Although many of these Julebords end as a kind of "drunk-fest" according to our Norwegian friends, there wasn't a lot of heavy drinking because the JWC was in the middle of a big exercise and everyone had to go to work the next morning.
We had pinnekj√łtt, which is a traditional dish on the western coast of Norway. It is salted and steamed mutton ribs. It literally means "stick meat". They tend to use birch soaked in water to create the steam. It's really good. We had some other traditional foods such as boiled potatoes (Mandelpoteter), meat cakes (medisterkaker)and riskrem (rice cream) as dessert. Because all of the foods were so heavy and had a high fat content, they serve a special Norwegian alcoholic drink along with the meal called akvavit. This is what is in the little glasses in the pictures. I don't drink alcoholic beverages, but did put a little on my lips and then licked them. It allowed me to feel like something was burning into my tongue for a good 30 minutes or so. I don't like the taste of alcohol...so perhaps I am not a good person to talk about this, but I imagine that akvavit tastes somewhat like paint thinner and vinegar mixed together. Evidently, it is never drunk by itself...it has to be combined with food. (That should be a real big red flag, right there!) However, they expecially drink it at the Julebords as supposedly it helps to digest all those heavy, fatty foods. We had a really great time and hope to go again next year!

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