by Alexandra Takasugi, viola
If you don’t see me playing viola, you’ll most likely find me in the kitchen. I love to bake as a way to alleviate stress and share delicious goodness with my fellow orchestra members. These madeleines are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, especially during rehearsal breaks.
My mother’s family immigrated from Sweden and settled in a large Swedish-American community in central Massachusetts. Swedish food has always been a big part of our holiday celebrations. Swedish meatballs, potatoes, red cabbage, cheeses, pickled herring, breads, and wonderful sweets make up a traditional smorgasbord. My mother always made Glögg to add to the holiday festivities. Glögg is a spiced drink similar to mulled wine but with more of a kick. There are many variations on this warm winter beverage. My Mom’s was always quite potent. I fondly remember the shock of inhaling the fumes as a child. Here in Virginia, my husband and I enjoy making Glögg for our VSO friends and family. It is best served on a cold winter day in front of a crackling fire. Skol!
As the weather cools down, I enjoy cooking stews and braises. Aside from being warming, these recipes easily make 4-6 servings, saving me time in the kitchen. I particularly enjoy sopping up the savory broth with a piece of good bread as I eat.
My dear mother, who recently passed, was an amazing cook. I found it fitting for my first recipe submission to be a tribute to her. One of my all-time favorite meals, (and one of the first I learned from my mother) was this recipe. It brings me back to my childhood and on a crisp fall or winter day this melange of sausages and sauerkraut was and is supremely comforting.