Baking the gingerbread biscuits together as a family was a firm pre-Christmas tradition throughout my childhood in Norway. And it still is. My granny (“Mormor”) did a lot of the baking with us, of which I have very fond memories. She lived till nearly 101. I now use her rolling pin and other tools when I bake, and using them to make “pepperkaker” in December is a must. My dad is a great cook too, and a bit of an engineer, so he was the one to always make us a unique biscuit house, which we’d smash up and eat after Christmas.
Carrying forward this tradition with my own children has been important to me. Baking with small children can really test one’s patience though!!! Doing it with mine has certainly made me appreciate the time my parents and grandparents spent with us baking all the more.
In so doing I feel like I’m keeping a vital part of myself alive, but I’m also making connections between my childhood and theirs, between cultures and countries, between them and their ancestors who are no longer alive but very much a part of who they are, and the kind of adults they will become.