This is an homage to my grandfather. He was a tall and humble man who worked hard and ate the largest portions of creamy rice porridge I have ever seen.
I almost grew up at my grandparents’ house. Their house lied next to ours, and I often found myself in their creaky house with the many rooms and loving care.
My grandfather was born in 1903. He was a fisher in the winter and a farmer during the rest of the year. Like many other men of his generation, he went to Greenland to go sealhunting. My grandfather was marksman on the boat, but at home he could never slaughter his own farm animals. He had to ask our neigbour to do it.
He married Jenny and they lived together all their life. They were young parents at a time when child mortality still was the harsh reality for too many parents. Their son died of Diphtheria on his second birthday.
My grandfather was not at home at the time, so my grandmother tried to get their little son to the doctor. The little kid, Lille Jon, died on the ocean on his way to the nearest town. While his son was put to rest in a coffin, my grandfather was on his way to the icy Arctic Ocean because he had to earn money. All the way out to the Arctic he lied in his bed mourning for the child he would never meet again.
The next year, in 1940, a little girl was born. Johanne Mari was named after her dead brother. Johanne Mari was was born the same year World War 2 came to Norway, and another boy came with the peace in 1945.
My grandfather was to become and old man and he lived to become a great-grandfather. Although he was retired, he never stopped working. He trimmed the grass with a scythe and stood on a ladder high above ground painting the barn – even moving the ladder as he stood on it. At the time he was 85 – making my grandmother, who witnessed his daring act, almost faint with terror. They say he was lying in bed all they way out to the sea, crying for the son he would never see any more.
A working man needs fuel for his body, and every Saturday my grandmother cooked rice porridge for dinner serving my grandfather a tower of porridge. In my grandparents’ house there was no such thing as fast food. The porridge had been simmering on the stove for more than an hour making it wonderfully creamy. On Christmas Day the porridge became more luxurious – now the tower of rice porridge was topped with a layer of that distinctly Norwegian porridge, sour cream porridge.
My grandfather died when I was 19 years old. He died in his old wheel chair, in his own home. It had been two years now since his Jenny died, the woman whom he had been married to for 59 years.
If you want to make the rice porridge my grandfather loved, you will find the recipe in this blog post.