Rømmegrøt: Room-a-what?

A couple of years ago we were celebrating Christmas with my husband’s family in Florida. We all brought our easiest recipes. My brother-in-law brought a recipe for Rømmegrøt (pronounced: room-a-grout) he got from his mother, Phyllis. I was concerned. One, I had never seen my brother-in-law cook anything besides warming a hot dog in the microwave. Two, my experience in the past with traditional Norwegian foods were…bad—very bad!! Plus, I hadn’t even heard of Rømmegrøt before. I figured I was in for another in-law holiday celebration of not eating much.

To help settle my fears, my brother-in-law, told me what the ingredients were. I smiled, thinking, yup, it’s typical weird-bland Norwegian food.

Have you ever eaten Lutefisk? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. The fish (can you even call it fish after all the processing that is done to it?) reminds me of firm fish flavored gelatin. I won’t even go into the details of what your house will smell like when you cook lutefisk. The first time I had traditional Norwegian foods was my first Christmas with my husband’s family 26 years ago. Here was the menu: For starters; we had oyster stew (they literally opened a can of oysters and dumped them into a pot of boiling milk); then, Lutefisk topped with white sauce and boiled potatoes for the side dish; and klub (pronounced Clue-ba) which is a potato dumpling; and for dessert, lefsa, which is made out of potatoes too and spread with butter and sugar. They didn’t serve anything else. No salads, veggies or anything with color—everything was white and bland!

I asked my brother-in-law how do you make Rømmegrøt? He replied, “In the microwave.” Now I was fully convinced this was going to be terrible. I thought of his hot dog.

I watched him make it. His kids all stood around waiting and watching too. I thought it must be some what good or they were born without taste buds. I know little bit about cooking and I thought, there is no way this is going to turn out. As I watched him, all kinds of things were going through my mind. He’s cooking it too long. The butter is going to separate. It won’t be cooked in the middle. Where’s the potatoes? Doesn’t every Norwegian food have potatoes in it??

I had already convinced myself that if its bad, I won’t say a word. I will smile and tell him I like it—I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

It was done. He scooped a tiny amount in my bowl and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar. I tasted it. Wow! It was really good! I couldn’t believe it! I gobbled it up and asked for more. It was gone. I looked at him with pleading eyes and humbly, asked, “Will you please make some more?” He smiled.

I always know when a recipe it a big hit with me; I think about it and crave it from time to time. I dream about Rømmegrøte. Yes, it’s that good. Thank you Murray!

Microwave Rømmegrøt

½ cup butter

½ cup flour, unbleached, all-purpose

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup milk

cinnamon and additional sugar

In a large glass bowl, that will fit in your microwave, melt the butter in the microwave, about 30 seconds on high. Stir in flour and sugar. Add the cream and milk, stirring while pouring each in. Microwave for 2 more minutes on high, then Stir. Microwave again for 4 minutes. The butter will leach out of the batter to the sides of the bowl—it’s supposed to do that. Let cool for 2 minutes and scoop a 1/3 cup into 4 bowls and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to taste.

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