Friday, December 30, 2011

A Sip of the Past...

When my family moved to Blaine I was 11 months old, so needless to say Washington is the only home I've ever known.  We moved in next door to an elderly lady named Freda Lindall.  Freda was a widow who never had any children, and we adopted her as a grandmother.

We spent many afternoons at Freda's house and she was always giving us treats and feeding us stuff that made my mother cringe.  Freda didn't place a lot of importance on refrigeration, and so we ate a lot of stuff that had just been sitting on her stove overnight, and we survived!

There were two things that I loved having at Freda's house and they were both drinks.  Freda made this amazing rhubarb juice, and I know that rhubarb juice must sound kind of disgusting, but it was so yummy! The other drink that I loved so much was called "Sukkola."  Sukkola is an Icelandic hot cocoa that Freda always made us. 

Freda passed away when I was 9 years old, and we were given the first chance to go through most of her stuff and choose what we would like.  I chose a blanket of hers that I still have, and some books.  My mom looked for her recipes.  We all wanted the recipes for sukkola, rhubarb juice, and Mom wanted the recipe for Dandelion Wine.  I think she found the wine recipe, but the other two were nowhere to be found. 

About 10 years ago, my friend Heidi and I were faced with a large quantity of rhubarb in her garden and not sure what to do with it all.  We went down to her Grandma Audrey's house to go through her recipes.  As we sat and talked with Audrey about rhubarb recipes I mentioned Freda's rhubarb juice and how much I wished I had that recipe.   Audrey said, "I've got a recipe for rhubarb juice here somewhere, I've had it for years."  Heidi and I figured that her recipe had to be a good one, so we started looking for it.  As we searched, Audrey continued her story and said, "I got that recipe from the lady down the lane."  Heidi and I were puzzled and wondering, "What lady? What lane?"  As Audrey continued, she told us about taking Heidi's older sister Darcy on walks when she was little and how she met up with the lady down the street from Darcy and Heidi's house, and they talked about gardening and recipes and she got the rhubarb juice recipe from her.  The lady down the lane was my Freda, and 15+ years after her death, I finally had that rhubarb juice recipe I'd wanted for so long.

A year ago I started thinking, as I so often had, about sukkola and wishing I could find the recipe.  I searched the internet and found several recipes but none were right.  They all involved cooking the sukkola before serving it, and I distinctly remembered the jar that Freda kept her sukkola mix in.  So I sadly abandoned my search and decided that I would probably never find it.

Last Thursday, the 22nd, had been a really hard day.  It was a day that I wish I could erase.  But then I got a phone message that not only changed my night, but it also made a 26 year old dream come true.  I got a frantic message from my friend Lisa telling me that I needed to call her right away because she had found Freda's Sukkola recipe.  It's kind of hard to describe my reaction as I listened to this message, but I do remember clapping my hand over my mouth because I started to cry, and I was sort of doing this combination of running in place and jumping up and down.

On Tuesday evening my plan was to sit on the couch and knit because I was trying to finish a birthday present for my mother-in-law.  Well you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...  I texted my husband asking what he wanted for dinner because I was out of ideas, and got no response.  So I used the Find my Friends ap on our phones to stalk him and see where he was.  I figured he was out on a call, so I didn't try calling him.  A few minutes later I checked again, and he was still there.  I turned on the scanner ap on my phone (aren't all these aps great?) and after a moment I heard him call out to dispatch something about "trying to call in there."  A minute later I heard dispatch calling out Emergency Traffic only, and I thought that he was the one needing the air, and got a little stressed about what was going on.  I succumbed to one of my few and far between Nervous Nellie Cop-wife moments.  I started wondering what was going on, and I hesitated a few times before grabbing my phone (again) and Facebook messaging a friend at Dispatch asking what was going on and if Matt was ok.  This is the first time I have EVER done that! (I came close once before when I asked another friend at dispatch to message him and ask him to call me when he was back in the area, but she wasn't working that night, so I don't count that moment of weakness.)  Anyway, this does tie into the whole Freda recipe story, I promise. 

When I have these Nervous Nellie Cop-wife moments, I have to do something.  Usually I bake, or clean.  That night I decided that it was time to make my sukkola, so I grabbed the keys and my wallet and headed off to the grocery store.  I picked up my necessary supplies and headed for the register.  When I reached the register, I became the customer who  needs to tell the checker exactly what they are doing. I couldn't believe that I had done it because I get so tired of being the checker who has to listen and pretend to care.  After I finished bothering the poor lady, I took my bag and drove home where I set to work mixing up my sukkola.

I put my kettle on to boil, and made myself a cup of sukkola and sat down to knit, watch tv, and listen to the scanner.  I took my first sip, and tears came to my eyes... my lifelong journey to find sukkola had finally come to an end.


  1. Steph...... I'll be needing both recipes :-). We always have a ton of rhubarb and I love good hot chocolate! Will you be willing to share with your friends??

  2. It was SO exciting to find you that recipe! Love you!!

  3. God is so good: blessing you with two new/old recipes! Now is Matt okay?? What department does he work for?

  4. He's fine... he was tied up on a call that could have been scary but was ok in the end. He works for the Everson Police Department. Thanks for asking!!