This year I switched things up and volunteered at the Norwegian Church’s Christmas Bazaar instead of just attending as a guest. My day was all about food which suited me perfectly.
For me, food has always been a main reason for going to the event. I come to eat foods I only eat once a year, to buy freshly baked goods from the bakery, and to stock up on foods and drinks for Christmas time. On this occasion, I was assigned to the kitchen and café, and that was an assignment I appreciated and enjoyed greatly.
My day started out with getting wienerpølser (Norwegian sausages) in a pot for simmering, stirring lapskaus (meat stew), and slicing geitost (goat cheese) for julebrød (sweet bread with raisins). Once the event officially began, I headed out to the café and served cake and sandwiches to eager guests.
The first half of the day was by far the busiest. A crowd had even been waiting out front for the doors to open. Once they opened, a line was quick to form at the café so obviously food wasn’t a motivating factor just for me. The line moved slowly — there was much for us to explain as the foods were very traditionally Norwegian — but guests were very patient. Cake was a popular item, especially the marzipan cake. We were busy.
I took my break after the lunch rush was over and while the raffle drawing was going on. Many guests had had a hard time deciding what to get, but for me, it was not a difficult choice. I went for my favorite and usual item on the menu, rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge), served with butter and sugar and cinnamon and a glass of rød saft (red juice). I also had an open-faced sandwich of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and a bolle (sweet bun) with geitost (goat cheese) for dessert.
One perk of volunteering during the last shift is that you’re there when the guests have left and the easiest way to clean up is to eat the leftovers that won’t last until the next day. I was offered a portion of ertesuppe (yellow pea soup) to take home, which I gladly accepted. I had a feeling my 10 year old Doobie would enjoy that since he loves beans and minestrone and this was similar. I was right; he devoured it all. I also brought home a couple of slices of leftover marzipan cake. The first marzipan cake of the day had an apricot cream filling which didn’t really appeal to me, but the second marzipan cake had a plain custard cream, much more up my alley, and it was heavenly.
I had volunteered at the Christmas Bazaar many years ago when I participated in Småbarnstreff with my kids, but it was only a short shift manning one of the booths. Helping in the kitchen and in the café for a whole day was a much more active and fulfilling experience. I got to know the wonderful staff at the church a little, saw friends from my Småbarnstreff days, and met many more new people. And I definitely used my Norwegian which felt good.
I’m now stocked up with Solo, gløgg mix, saft concentrate, risengrynsgrøt, geitost, and some baked goods that went straight to the freezer to last longer. It was a wonderful day, and I already look forward to volunteering at next year’s Christmas Bazaar.
Sjømannskirken i Los Angeles/San Pedro was live on Facebook for the opening and took viewers on a quick tour of the bazaar as well. You can watch it here. The Christmas Bazaar continues throughout the weekend, Saturday 11am to 5pm and Sunday 12pm to 4pm after the family service at 11am. Saturday offers a children’s Christmas craft workshop and Sunday has an extra special raffle drawing at 2:30pm. I hope you’ve been able to stop by this year.
For the 2016 schedule of Christmas activities at the church, visit the church’s website: Julen i Los Angeles/San Pedro Juleprogram 2016.