Having spent my formative years in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, I grew up knowing more Berits and Trygves than I did Britneys and Taylors. Most of my neighborhood friends came from families who were deeply, proudly Scandinavian, which made having dinner at their houses a vaguely familiar but mostly foreign experience. They served fish baked with lemon and dill sauce, taut-skinned boiled potatoes glazed with fresh butter, or finely textured, cardamom-scented sausages rolled up, burrito-style, in puffy lefse with a dollop of lingonberry jam or a smear of whole-grain mustard. Sleepovers with my Scandi pals introduced me to the very appealing concept of having rice pudding for breakfast and, on one occasion, the very unpleasant Nordic ritual of taking a morning dose of cod liver oil, which tastes exactly as awful as it sounds. Their birthday parties presented me with many opportunities to face my extreme distaste for marzipan, and later in life their Christmas parties taught me valuable lessons about the joys (and... More >>>