"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Cardamom and Tchaikovsky

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cardamom and Tchaikovsky

This week I baked pulla using some ground cardamom that must be, um, 15 or 20 years old. Oops. It gave no flavor whatsoever. I gave the bland pulla to my husband to bring to work (his coworkers will eat just about anything) and vowed to use pods next time. My mother knew a Finnish woman who would crush the pods and blow away the chaff in her hand. Charming.

A cardamom memory: I was 9 or 10 and couldn't sleep one night. My dad was awake, too, and made me some hot cinnamon milk "just like his mom used to do." In the morning, mom asked why the cardamom was out on the counter. We had a good laugh.

Did you know that cardamom is a mild stimulant? I wonder if coffee and cardamom are effective against Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Today is the shortest day of the year, so the light is returning, bit by bit. Happy advent.

I hope you, dear readers, are enjoying the sacred and secular delights of the holidays. Today our four-year old and I are going to the Nutcracker ballet, with its delightful sets by Maurice Sendak. Not long after I left the OALC, a wonderful woman for whom I was babysitting introduced me to her Christmas traditions. The Nutcracker was one of them, and I am eternally grateful.


  1. A holiday favorite of mine is Handel's Messiah. Since the libretto is soley verses from the King James Version of the Bible, it also reminds me of my Apostolic Lutheran childhood (with a twist.)

  2. What a coincidence, as I was just listening to "Unto Us a Son is Given" . . . glorious music. Wish I could introduce my folks to it.

    By the way, Lars, I just caught up on your blog (http://godspeace.blogspot.com) and want to thank you for sharing your stories.

    Perhaps the Lutheran liturgy was not imported from Scandinavia because the Laestadian practitioners never really learned it, relying as they did on the state church. A real loss.

    (I've heard OALCers called toots and bunheads before, but huivilainen was a new one!)

  3. Merry Christmas, everyone!

    Cardamom's not something I've acquired a taste for, so I stay away from pulla, unless it's made without it. No pulla here, please.

    Some of our holiday traditions:
    Like the poster above, listening to Handel's Messiah; making candy houses with our children; small white lights; reading our wonderful selection of religious and non-religious Christmas stories; listening to lots of other Christmas music; going to church; shopping and wrapping; Christmas Day spent with our family; delivering gifts to family, friends, and neighbors; mailing dozens of Christmas cards; donating to worthy charities and participating in school-sponsored charitable projects; cooking and baking; and just plain enjoying this special time of year!

  4. I love cardamom, but the Finnish pulla is not one of my favourites, though... Caffe latte with cardamom syrup, that's something! And the Scandinavian type dry coffee cake with cardamom is good, too. By the way, did you know that cardamom is used also in many Indian seasoning blends? I was surprised to find out that because I was used to associating cardamom with sweet things, not real food.

    Why the Lutheran liturgy was not imported from Scandinavia by the Laestadian immigrants? I don't think I'm qualified to answer that, but some kind of a resentment over the state church liturgy can be perceived among the Laestadians in Scandinavia, too. Maybe it has something to do with the general Laestadian tendency to strive for simplicity in the ways of life?

    I've also read somewhere that when Takkinen (later the leader of the Firstborn/OALC fraction in America) was elected pastor in Calumet he abolished some of the liturgical customs that had been used before him.

    It might also be interesting for you to know that as some of the Swedish and Norwegian Firstborn Laestadian congregations practically split with the Lutheran state churches in their countries a couple of years ago by taking the sacraments "in their own hands", they did not continue with the same liturgy as was used in the state church but adopted a simplified liturgy that is quite similar to the one used by OALC in America. There are some differences, but the whole thing is pretty much just read hastily from the hand book without concentrating on the different parts. Not good in my opinion...