Just a couple Iceland-related adventures I had during my absence from the blog earlier this year…
Icelandic Exiles Rugby
Back in February, I somehow learned that an Icelandic rugby club was heading to a tournament in Vegas and was playing friendly games in several cities along the way. One of those cities happened to be Portland. I know absolutely nothing about rugby. Neither does my sister. But we decided if our kinsfolk were coming all this way from the homeland, they should probably have a couple fans rooting for them.
So one evening in February, we bundled up and went to watch the Icelandic Exiles play the Oregon Sports Union Rugby Club. It was cold. It was dark. We didn’t know anyone and really had no clue what was going on. We felt a little silly standing there with our chattering teeth and our Icelandic flag. I wanted to be brave and strike up a conversation with someone from the team but I guess my bravery was frozen by the winter weather. But it was an experience. And the ref’s Michael Bolton hair and teeny short shorts just about made it all worthwhile (unfortunately I have no clear photographic evidence; it was dark and he ran very, very fast). It was interesting to note that a great number of the Icelandic players/coaches/entourage were not in fact Icelandic at all, but British or Irish, which makes sense when you consider the origins of rugby.
Seven weeks before Easter, on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, Icelanders celebrate Bolludagur (Bun Day). “Bun” refers to cream puffs topped with chocolate. Traditionally, the morning of Bolludagur, children would wake early and creep into their parents’ room armed with a wand. They’d yell “Bolla!” and spank their parents with the wand, and the number of spanks delivered before the parents got out of bed determined the number of cream puffs the child would get to eat.
The good news for parents is that the tradition these days is to skip the spanking and get right to the cream puff eating. This year, I decided Bolludagur sounded like quite a delicious holiday and I wanted to celebrate. I used a combination of recipes for my attempt at bolludagsbollur – a couple from the Internet and one from our Icelandic cookbook. The dough I made was very similar to a French choux pastry – mixed up in a pot on the stove, then dropped by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and split in half when cool. I filled mine with freshly whipped cream, although some people also put jam in theirs. And of course I topped mine with melted dark chocolate. The verdict? There’s room for improvement, but they were quite delicious and I intend to use this holiday as an excuse to eat copious amounts of cream puffs for years to come.