Small Treats, Big Pleasures
Oskar, my grandfather (mother’s father) was one of the most humble, loving people I’ve ever met.
He passed away many years ago but still is one of the people I think about the most. I don’t think a week goes by without memories of him coming up. I loved Oskar more than anything.
I remember every visit in Denmark started with us being picked up at the airport by Oskar. He always had red teary eyes of happiness when we walked out the arrival gates. Kastrup airport had these big windows where you could see the arrivers, picking up the luggage and while my parents would get our things, I remember running to the big window to see my grandfather.
His face said it all- the gratefulness he felt at that moment was more powerful than any other feeling. The hug he gave me and the way he would talk to us about so many things while driving to their house was the best arrival ever.
We used to stay, the whole family, at my grandparent’s summer house in Hornbaek. My grandfather loved that and although he was the most quiet person there, his presence there and in my life had a great impact.
My grandfather’s biggest pleasure, food wise, was frying leftover potatoes the day after we had had them for dinner. He always made sure we wouldn’t eat them all, put the leftovers in a small plate in the fridge and the next day he would prepare them exactly the way he loved them.
He would take out the big black pan, place A LOT of butter in the pan, cut the potatoes into thin slices and when the butter was hot, brown and melted, toss the potatoes in the butter. He had this almost naughty smile on his face while he would stir the potatoes. Slowly and patiently he would stir them until they were golden and crispy.
I don’t remember he put any salt but with the amount of Danish butter I’m not sure there was any need for salt.
He would pour the potatoes (yes pour them because of all the butter) onto a plate, sit down and eat them. He loved those fried potatoes and enjoyed the few moments it took to eat them more than any other treat you could offer him. I remember always wanting those potatoes and occasionally when he would share a slice it was a slice of heaven.
Another specialty of my grandfathers were his Matzo Brie. Now when Passover is around the corner I can not stop thinking about how he waited for Passover just to wake up the morning after the Seder and make his specialty. I am not a Matze Brie fan but my grandfathers ones were truly delicious. There was something about the way he blended it all together, fried them to perfection and placed them on the breakfast table all proud and in anticipation for us all to dig in and enjoy them.
My biggest regret, biggest in my life, is that my grandfather did not get a chance to stand with me under the Chupa when I got married. When my sister got married, a couple of years before, he stood next to me and not under the Chupa. He was so happy and moved that he cried. At that moment all I could think about was that I want him with me when I get married. I didn’t get to fulfill that dream but I had my wonderful grandmother there, Bella, and for that I thank. I still have Bella in my life and appreciate her from a distance everyday!
Bella, My Dad, My Mom, Me, Roy the love of my life, Roy’s Dad, Roy’s Mom
My Grandfather Oskar’s Fried Potatoes:
Pre-boiled small potatoes (preferably Danish summer potatoes- they are the best)
Slice into thin slices
Heat pan and melt butter (my grandfathers way is to use A LOT of butter! but can be done with A LOT Less…)
Once the butter is melted and hot, toss the potatoes into the butter and stir on high heat until golden, crisp and absolutely delicious.
Can be a side dish, or Oskar’s way- a stand alone treat to enjoy.
A Passover treat that replaces french toast/pancakes for breakfast. If made well, is very tasty. You have to have Matzo Brei at least once during Passover to feel it is Passover.
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Break the matzo into small pieces
Mix the eggs together well and pour over the matzo
mix well and add the salt
Let rest for a few minutes so the matzos will soften.
Warm a pan with oil or butter (Oskar’s way, needless to say, butter)
pour some of the mix onto the pan, flatten it out and fry on both sides until brown and crispy
My grandfather would put sugar powder on top and jam.
Can be eaten with maple syrup, cream cheese, nutella, bananas and berries, butter and any other addition that will suit your palette.
Enjoy! Let me hear from you!
Tal my dear!
Reading this post is like going back in time . Every word makes Oskar, my father, come back to me. The truth is that he is in my mind too almost every day. I am sending you two wondeful pictures of him. Enjoy and thank you for writing this wonderful and emotional post. Your Mom
Thank you for the beautiful memory of Oskar that you shared with me.
There is not a day when I don’t think of him. Not really missing him anymore, but talking to him telling him what goes on in my life. And I can hear his voice, and imagine what he would say to me, and imagining his joy that I am doing fine in spite of all, and that Lajs has turned out so wonderful as he has.
It makes me very happy that you have these joyful memories of our vacations in Hornbaek, as I have the same. I remember everything we did together, our bicycletrips to Helsingoer or to the beach, the games you played in the garden, especially the way you acted playleader during all Lajs’ birthdayparties.
Such happy days.
As I wrote to you the other day I remembered the kringle I used to make, and I tried to make it for my birthday. And it came out so wonderful.
So I will send you the recipe later. It’s not so hard to make, just takes a LOT of butter or margarine. But it is really good.
As you wrote Pesach is coming just around the corner, and I think your parents will be here for the holidays. I wish you, your Roy and your three beautiful children could be here as well.
Should you decide for it, I can offer you a place to stay. Not big, but you’ll have a bed, a kitchen, a bathroom and a television set. Maybe you will have to share it with me but as we say in Danish: Hvor der er hjerterum, er der husrum. So consider yourself invited.
If not, I wish you a happy and kosher pesach and a wonderful life!!!
Lots of love from