June 6, 2012
“It was the goat who brought gifts on Christmas Eve”: Swedish Christmas traditions through the eyes of Lena Mann.
Initially I went to Larsen’s Original Bakery in hopes that my interview would have some sort of relation to Danish heritage. While a Swedish woman has nothing to do with Danish culture, the bakery opened my eyes to the variety of Scandinavian traditions. Larsen’s is located in the heart of Seattle’s Scandinavian town, Ballard, Washington. At first I noticed that the entire town had a “small town” feel, even though it was located in a big city. After I parked in the parking lot across from the bakery and next to the Lutheran Church, I began seeing some of the history that the bakery was surrounded by. A lot of the bricks were red brick, with trees planted in the side walk. This made me realize that the town is not upgraded as often as the city of Seattle is. As I looked at the outside of the bakery I noticed the sign was older and had the traditional Danish baker’s symbol, the upside down pretzel. While this wasn’t a Swedish bakery as I had hoped, the inside of the bakery not only told a lot about Danish history but as Scandinavian history as a whole. The inside of the bakery had an overwhelming aroma of cleaning supplies and sugar. To me, this says that Scandinavian bakeries are cleaned very often (which I found very interesting considering there were no tables or chairs inside), and that Scandinavians love sweet pastries. The shop wasn’t very big, maybe 600 sq. ft including the kitchen in the back. When you walked in, you would go straight to the counter where you could see every pastry though the glass. Through talking to the workers, I noticed that they were very knowledgeable on the topic of their pastries. They had traditional ones from the Danish Kringle, to the Kransekage (a traditional wedding cake), seasonal pastries, and the Danish “Kermit the frog” in a sweet cupcake.