Local Flavor: Coffee & Kringle

When I was a kid, we'd visit my grandma and grandpa's lake cottage up in Eagle River, Wisconsin in the summer. Every time we were there I remember my grandma parceling-out tiny slices of cream-cheese-filled Danish kringle over a couple of mornings. Smell, taste... these are what allow time-travel in the Vonnegut manner.

When I eat a piece of kringle I'm transported immediately to a beautiful summer day, the lap of water on a dock, chipmunks and squirrels bouncining-around in ferns and moss (looking for peanuts!), jays flashing through the trunks, the smell of pine needles, moss covering the old shed roof and lichen on the walls of the house, the slight smell of pipe tobacco, and the warm blanket of grandparents' infinite kindness and generosity.

Later-on, my grandma would send kringle through the mail (from Bonson's) for birthdays from time to time as visiting grew more difficult due to life's many obnoxiously-changing paths. Bonnie even got treated to it a couple of times.

It'd been years since I've had kringle (a proper Wisconsin, cream-cheese-filled-one, that is) and so I figured it was high time the kids were introduced to it. I think the smile in the photo says it all. This is the half that's left on the second morning. I'm not as good as my grandma at slicing these things tiny to savor them, but I did try...


Unknown said…
I grew up in SW Virginia, but one of my grandparents was from Racine, WI, and we have handed down a kringle tradition too. Pecan are the best! Holiday wishes to you and yours, Jake!