Cooking Up the Past

In the years since I started Outside Oslo, I’ve taken not only to cooking Scandinavian food in general but also to preparing some of my family’s old recipes. When it comes to learning about my family’s history, genealogy seems a bit daunting, at least at the moment, but preserving memories and history through food just requires some enjoyable time spent in the kitchen. I wrote about my experience in my latest column in the Norwegian American Weekly, and included a recipe for Grandma Agny’s Bryte Havrekaka (oatmeal cookies).

Grandma Agny–my dad’s mom–gave few recipes to us. Among those I wish I had are her raspberry jam, various cookie recipes–including the one I’m documenting the search for here–and rice pudding. I have found a few recipes, however, in an old church cookbook, including one for Bryte Havrekaka. With just four ingredients–oatmeal, sugar, butter, and an egg–these cookies are much different from the chewier, denser American oatmeal cookies. These are at once decadent and delicate, with the flavors of the oats and the butter being allowed to shine. Click over to the Weekly for the story and recipe!

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8 thoughts on “Cooking Up the Past

    • I’m trying! Thankfully Grandma Adeline has held onto many recipes, and gave them all to me a few years ago. But I have very few of Grandma Agny’s. So I’m thankful for whichever ones I find!

  1. Loved the cookies! I have always made oatmeal cookies using my mother’s recipe, which contains Hornsalt (Hjortetakksalt in Norwegian.) They come out of the oven lacy and beautiful, and taste wonderful, and it is my family’s favorite cookie. However, they take some time to make, so when I saw your recipe for oatmeal cookies I had to make them. They were quick to make, very tasty and everybody approved. I did add some almond flavoring – being Norwegian, I love the almond taste! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for sharing your feedback–it’s fun to know when someone tried a recipe and enjoyed it so much. The almond flavoring sounds like a great idea–I’ll have to try that sometime.

  2. This is SO random, but I found an old Philadelphia Church Cookbook at my grandmother’s house and started looking through the cookie section. This one caught my eye and I ended up making up a batch. They are DELICIOUS! I was actually surprised they worked.
    I’ve never heard of Bryte Havrakaka before and looked it up on google. Imagine my surprise to find that you have posted an article on your grandmother’s cookie recipe that I’m baking.
    Question: what kind of oatmeal did you use in the cookies that you made above? I used regular oats and they do not look the same.

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