Theatre -- This morning we attended a production of Snow White at the university. It was this year's selection by the student theatre troupe to raise funds for their activities throughout the year, so students directed it, costumed it, built the sets for it, even created seven puppets for it (to serve as the dwarfs, although maneuvered and voiced by seven full-sized actors)! Some of my own students were involved, as were some students whom Suzanna and Abigail got to know when they were in Seussical: The Musical at the university a year-and-a-half ago (remember?)--and it always adds a little something to a theatrical performance actually to know some of the people onstage or backstage.
Everybody's favorite character was the magic mirror, played by a man who had high energy and full commitment to the zaniness of his lines and costumes (including an '80s-style workout outfit with white short-shorts and a terrycloth headband). There was a woman in a yellow chicken suit and bright red tights who performed the chicken dance and bawk-bawked instead of talking, and Abigail thought she was funny. Suzanna also liked the fellow who played "Hansom," especially his transformation from a meek oaf to a confident prince at the end. After the show, the cast gathered downstage and greeted the children in the audience, and our girls collected autographs on their programs.
Carnival -- The Western Wellness Foundation, of which I am a board member, holds a Spectacular Spring Celebration as a fundraiser for its many programs, and Susan and I took the girls to the Prairie Hills Mall for that event after the play (well, after dinner at McDonald's after the play). There were many tables set up in the corridors of the mall, and volunteers were stationed at each table to help children play the carnival-style games (like on the midway of a fair) and to distribute prizes to the winners and to take photos of children sitting on the lap of a human-sized Easter bunny and to sell food at the bake sale table and at the cotton candy and flavored ice cone table.
Many of the volunteers are my students, so I chatted with them while the girls played the games and collected a bunch of stickers and candy and little toys. The table that seemed to be attracting the fewest children was the coloring table, so our daughters sat down to patronize that station, and they signed their coloring sheets and gave them to the volunteers before we left--so there were many "Oh-h-h"s and "Aw-w-w"s from my students: "Aren't your kids sweet!"
Recital -- We left the mall in time to return to the university for Suzanna and Abigail to play piano in a "gold cup recital" sponsored by the St. Cecelia Music Club (remember that group?). All three of our daughters performed just a couple weeks ago in a piano festival (remember?); and after three years of earning points with each "superior" rating, as of this year Suzanna and Abigail have accumulated enough points for the first trophy: a gold cup (in a series of ever-larger trophies, each requiring the accumulation of even more points year after year). Today's recital was for all the gold cup winners to perform, and some of the pianists were quite impressive. Afterward we enjoyed punch and cookies at a reception in the lobby. (ME: "What should I write about the recital?" ABIGAIL: "Um, the treats afterward were good. I liked the punch.")
Cuisine -- Faithful Reader, I know why you're really here: to get the skinny on this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper. Susan was my helper for the last such event, making this week my turn to cook alone. After the recital I consulted some recipes as well as our on-hand supplies in the fridge and pantry, picked up a few items at the grocery store, and got crack-a-lackin'.
sildefilet i dill urtesaus
For an appetizer, I served herring fillets in dill-herb sauce with rye-caraway crackers. Although the crackers were a standard American product and the tin of herring a German import, the ingredients are very Scandinavian: herring, dill, rye, and caraway . . . a super-tasty combination.
røkt laks bakt omelett
Svenske pannekaker med tyttebær og melis
For the main course, I served two items. First, I made a baked omelette with smoked salmon, red onion, garlic, capers, dill, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, and lots of Jarlsberg cheese. The smoked salmon was extra from our having eaten bagels and lox the other night, but it's such a Scandinavian ingredient (as are dill and the Norwegian cheese that I used) that it just called out to be used for tonight's supper, too. What a deliciously savory combination of flavors!
Second, I made Swedish pancakes. I used a mix that I bought at a Scandinavian import store last weekend and fried up cake after cake after cake after cake . . . It took a while to use up all the batter, but they were so, so, so delicious--light, eggy, and slightly sweet. We sprinkled them with powdered sugar and ate them with lingonberry preserves--a great combination of sweet and tart.
I served a couple more items that I had purchased last weekend. One was JulMust, a Swedish "winter soft drink." It tasted a little root beer-y and a little licorice-y and was a pleasant change of pace from the brands of pop that we're used to. The other item was Juusto--a buttery cheese with a caramelized, toasted crust--which I heated up and drizzled with honey. (This gives more details about the cheese's Finnish and Swedish history.) Cheese alone didn't strike me as sufficient for dessert, so I paired it with fruit: I washed green grapes, sprinkled them with sugar, and froze them. Each bite was a sweet, icy delight, making for an interesting twist overall on a traditional cheese-and-fruit course.