Thursday, November 8, 2012

~SPICES~

 My Mr. AGPMan's family came to America from Sweden and settled in a small Nebraska town.  My guy was raised in the tiny town of Gothenburg and over the years I have loved learning about his ancestors and the customs and traditions once celebrated by his family. 
 In Sweden, a century ago or so, spices were a luxury the commoner rarely enjoyed...except of course, during the Christmas Season.  It was at that time that people saved their finest produce and costliest ingredients for the most special, end of the year celebration.
 Saffron, cardamom, and ginger.  Cocoa, vanilla pods, cloves and cinnamon.  Their baking was done with fine -ground white flour, braided into saffron buns or rolled out for gingerbread.

Sounds delish, right?
Baking ingredients were carefully measured out from ornate tins and glass jars. 
Their houses and tiny villages were filled up with the smells from exotic places one could only hope to see and flavors connected solely with the holiday time of the year.
One thing on my to-do-list this year is to bake a something different for my family during the holidays~

Something never before tried~

Something special from, say,  

 G√∂teborg (Gothenburg), Sweden!

  How fun will that be?  I mean~I know my hubster, children and Miss  K LOVE special treats...spicy cakes, buttermilk spice muffins, etc.  But, just maybe this year I'll just try baking a braided coffee-cake ring for myself...one filled with bits or orange and lemon rind, sweet raisins, cinnamon and ginger....hmmmm...

Probably won't add the Saffron...Wikipedia says this:

 Because each flower's (Crocus) stigmas need to be collected by hand and there are only a few per flower, saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.

Off to ponder.  And plan. 

Love to you~

13 comments:

Deanna said...

Hi!
I've never tried saffron. Will have to look that one up.

Happy Baking,
d

Teresa said...

Some times I think that we forget how much our ancestors valued the things we take for granted now. We forget that sugar was a precious treat. Very hard to come by. Much less most of the spices we use now! Either then weren't something that they could afford or just not available. Being from a big family we had very basic meals. So just to think back to how many things were available to our families when we were kids to what we can get now is kind of amazing!
I know that you will make some thing amazing! I love how you think. You bring so much to us to think about. No wonder Miss K is so imagative!

Susan said...

I have Swedish roots, too.
Have you ever tried baking limpa? It is a rye bread with anise, orange peel & molasses. It is WONDERFUL! Special for the holidays.
I have a very simple recipe, if you're interested.

Susan

Julie Marie@Idyllhours said...

Your spice jars are just beautiful Rebecca!... and how fun hearing about Mr.AGP's family... your coffee cake will be delish... I would love to sit and have a bite with you and chat... where do you display those exquisite jars?... xoxo Julie Marie

ga447 said...

It is handmade gifts this year for me jams, cookies, and a pot holder. About 3 miles from my home - NE I have a great shop called Little Scandinavian.

Marilyn said...

I've read that saffron comes from the crocus that bloom in the fall. The plants are very particular about how they are grown. So unless the conditions are perfect, a small or no crop will be harvested.
The spice jars are so different than any I've ever seen! Hope they belong to you.♥♫

Christy Buchanan said...

Love your spice jars, I still have mine from 1977, why does that sound old? :) Anyhoo, I'm still a little new to blogland but when I discovered yours, my fav, I became hooked! Have a blessed day!

Yasmin Smith said...

Loved your blog post today!! I enjoyed hearing about the traditions and baking and spices of long ago.
Your spice jar collection is wonderful...and baking something new, and spicy, sounds like a good idea to me. I know Miss K would love to be on hand to help you!!!
...I have never tried saffron either, but would love to...I have eaten things with it in the food. Very spicy and good.
Thanks for a heart-felt blog today
I especially love long-ago stories!!
Have a happy weekend...Love you, Francy

Theresa said...

Beautiful jars:). I am planning for Family meals during the Holidays too! Have a blessed day my friend. Hugs

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,
Spices have been always very special and considering the Dutch Golden Age during the Spice Trade, that says enough. Still most come from the far east and as you already mention about the saffron, that is labor intensive. Crocus grow only once a year and therefore it is very limited. But oh so special for using it for rice etc.
Funny about your husband's Swedish ancestors. When we worked in North Dakota we also learned that a lot of Swedes did settle there. It always will get passed down in a way family traditions have been in the Old World and later in the New World.
Nowadays with better transport and preservation, spices no longer are that special. As a matter of fact we all are spoiled rotten and often don't even realize all this. Our grandmothers had only very few spice jars...
Hugs to you,
Mariette

tibby said...

Hello Rebecca,
I know saffron is expensive, but don't be afraid of using it, it goes a long way. We use it mainly for the world famous paella, and just a few stigmas are enough for a 6 serving paella. Any rice dish would benefit from it.
Another good spices from Spain is paprika, sweet or spicy and the best from La Vera (an area close to Portugal in middle Spain). We use it in many dishes.
Hugs to you,
Cristina

Jonell said...

Omy I am loving those spice bottles..they are incredible-what a collection!
I hold on to very special bottles and jars -If I saw these in a store I would not be able to leave empty handed.

JH

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

I have never used saffron. I guess I never really ran across a recipe that called for it. When my children were growing up I used to bake fifteen kinds of treats every Christmas. I was one busy bee! This year, it will be fruitcake only because I'm flying off to spend the holidays with my son and his fanily on the west coast.
I really enjoyed your post and all those sweet bottles! Have a delightful weekend, my friend.

Blessings,
Sandi

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