We seem to hold Christmas memories — the nostalgic, the sweet, even the sad — dearer to our hearts. Maybe that’s because this is a time of year that pulls us closer, makes us feel connected to each other. And when we asked area residents for their favorite Christmas memories, they were happy to share:
A special part of Christmas for Jessica Pauline Schmitz, an interpretation and experience coordinator at Old World Wisconsin, the living history museum near Eagle, is a recipe that connects her to generations of family:
“One of my favorite Christmas holiday memories is the gathering that my grandmother held every year as a way to spend time as a family and pass on our family’s ethnic traditions. She would have everyone gather at her house and make us hundreds of aebleskivers — a Danish fluffy pancake ball — and kielbasa. While these two dishes are usually not traditionally served together, they represented parts of our family’s heritage. It was an occasion to indulge in delicious treats as well.
“The recipe my grandmother used was passed down from her mother and has been passed down through the women in my grandmother’s family for generations. The aebleskiver recipes are generally the same, but each family has their particular version and way of making them. It requires a specific pan that looks like a solid frying pan, with small wells in it, to fill with batter.
“My grandmother taught me how to watch the edges until they were just right and to quickly flip them using her special fork, so the batter didn’t splatter everywhere.
“My grandma has since moved out of her house and in with my parents, but it is a tradition we still try to do every year. Now I am allowed to flip the aebleskivers on my own, and my grandma has even bought me a pan of my own. I am so thankful to my grandmother for passing on the things her mother taught her, and our family’s cooking heritage, to me.”