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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Breakfast with the Family

I wish I'd had my camera last Saturday morning, around 10:00 am.

My mom, dad, sister and husband, Scott and I made the 74 mile trek out west to Rockford to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa. Before we met up with them, we decided to fortify ourselves with a Swedish Breakfast at the Stockholm Inn, a popular Scandinavian restaurant that features dirt cheap, "retiree" prices and an amazing kitchen that bakes all their breads and coffeecakes fresh each day.

Now, just so you understand, Rockford has a huge population of Swedes. None of us could figure out why, but it's a huge part of the culture. Blue and yellow flags hang everywhere, even the local hospital is "Swedish American." I am 1/4 Swedish by descent, but thanks to Grandma's influence, it is the dominating culture in our family's heritage. The food, especially the breads and sweets, are a personal Achilles Heel.

So anyways, back to the story. We arrive at the restaurant and are ushered to our table, surrounded by bustling and buzzing bluehairs, excited by the smells of melted butter wafting from the kitchen.

I am hungry, REALLY hungry. And I have a well-known propensity for over-ordering. Yes, I admit, my eyes are bigger then my stomach. The problem is, I don't stop eating when I'm full (I get that from Dad) so I guess to be totally accurate I should say my eyes and my stomach are the same size. Whatever.

I open the menu and start salivating. Mountains and mountains of carbs: pieces of homemade skorpa (Swedish coffeecake that has been slowly toasted until crisp), their famous Swedish pancakes, homemade cinnamon rolls with buttery warm frosting, hash get the idea.

My family begins to place their order. As we continue to speak, the waitress's blue eyes grow bigger and bigger and bigger. For the sake of possible embarrassment, the quotes shall remain nameless:

"Yes, I'd like a cinnamon roll and 3 large buttermilk pancakes."

"Hi. May I have the stack of three Swedish pancakes (Each one is the size of a plate, then rolled up), an order of hash browns, and two fried eggs?"

"I'd like the large cheddar omelet, and stack of three Swedish pancakes."

At this point, the waitress leans in and asks, "Uh, would you like the toast that comes with the omelet? You ARE getting three pancakes and hash brown's with the eggs."

And then SOMEONE pipes in, "Of course we'll eat the toast! Can you bring out wheat?"

The waitress disappears and we sigh and lean back, anticipating the waves of food we're about to encounter. The cinnamon roll makes an appearance shortly, and I must say, based on my impressions from one bite, it was phenomenal. Everyone is jealous of the individual who thought to order it.

Twenty minutes later, the food comes. This is point when I wished for my camera. It was obscene and all we could do was laugh at the MOUNDS of butter we were each given (it seemed like I had two dollaps that were each 1/4 cup), the immense size of the Swedish pancakes (I thought they'd be like Mom's, small, round, and thin. NOPE.), and how many carbs we were all consuming.

Ask me if my father finished EVERY BITE OF HIS MEAL. Ask me. I couldn't believe it. Thankfully he runs four times a week and eats salad for lunch most of the time.

If you've never tasted a Swedish pancake, you haven't lived yet. I have a great recipe that Mom dug up from an old Swedish cookbook. Ask me for it and I can post it. They melt in your mouth, and are best topped with a little melted butter and warm maple syrup. My sister and I have been known to smear strawberry jam, butter, AND syrup on them, with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar for good measure...but that's just crazy.

It was a great meal, full of laughs and a good start to an emotional, wonderful, day. I love my family and I love the memories we make together.

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