Monday, June 3, 2013

Vinaterta by Leanne Dyck

This creative non-fiction short story was first published (2005) in Flavours of Vancouver:  Dishes From Around the World.
Compiled by Sheila Peacock and Joan Cross for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation
Published by Douglas and McIntyre

Cookbook blurb:  If you could drop in on the kitchens of your Vancouver neighbours, these are the dishes you'd find burbling on the stove. And these are the stories that people share along with generous helping of their unique specialties.

CBC Radio invites you to explore Vancouver's international character with this globe-spanning collection of recipes contributed by every kind of Vancouverite, from those who have lived here for generations to those who have just arrived.

Don't be shy. These long-time favourites have been perfected over the years, then kitchen-tested as well. And while you're getting to know the neighbours, you'll be helping kids around the world. Proceeds from Flavours of Vancouver go to Save the Children Canada.

Buy this book

When I was growing up, Christmas was a joyous time of family gatherings, traditions, good cheer and food. Delicious smells poured forth from Mom's kitchen. This was her opportunity to showcase mouthwatering talent. Two desserts were at the centre of these festivities:  English Pud to celebrate my dad's heritage, and my mom's recipe for Icelandic Vinaterta. Not surprisingly, Mom had been given the roots of her recipe from her mom, Grandma Olafson. Grandma's recipe loudly proclaimed its Icelandic heritage with its strong ethnic taste. Mom slightly toned down the recipe to make it more palatable for her husband. I, too, far preferred Mom's recipe. Years passed and I fell in love. Christmas was the test for my Mennonite boyfriend. How would he react to my large extended family? To Vinaterta? To my delight, he seemed at home in the company of my family. Next, he was served a piece of Vinaterta. The first bite was foreign to him. He turned the tastes around in his mouth. Would he finish his piece?

"It's okay if you don't finish it. It's a unique taste," my mom offered.

"Oh, no, I like it." He finished it. "May I have another piece, please?"

Later that year we were married. Vinaterta was our wedding cake.


Learn more about the Icelandic-Canadian culture. Read the Icelandic Connection Magazine.
Next post:  Meeting an Angel (short story)