Blogs are inexorable, did you know that? If you write one you do. You may think you’re ahead if you finish one early in the day but - lo and behold! - the day goes by and the night and another day and you have to write another blog before it’s over. Like now. What I like best about blogs is he chance to make an assessment and/or to learn something. Every day is a learning opportunity; I just have to stop and try to recognize it.
I’ve been busy, going over my tweaked book manuscript, updating and checking for typos and stuff. It always goes more slowly than I think it will but I can’ t cut corners. I am a nitpicker and very patient. No stone unturned and all that. Even so, I make mistakes, all the time, and that’s a good thing because a mistake means there’s something I didn’t know and I should know better. I’ll tell you about one I learned today: a mistake and a correction. It has nothing to do with the book.
My Icelandic grandparents influenced my life profoundly. My mother was the only one of her generation to marry outside the Icelandic line but her parents made sure the line held secure; they gave my parents a cottage as a wedding present. That meant I spent every summer of my life in Gimli (on Lake Winnipeg, in Manitoba) in a little house two doors away from the big family home. I’ve written a lot about it and them. I tried to learn Icelandic - too late, I fear. (I can count to twenty.) I also did a little Icelandic cooking and I still bake Icelandic brown bread. I learned to make the special Icelandic cake the immigrants brought with them in their first major inlfux in the late 19th century. I used to make it as my family’s Christmas cake. It took a long time to make. I don’t do it any more and I don’t have to because an Icelandic-Canadian friend (purer blood lines) has made it her business - I should say career - to make it for everyone. She has formed a company and the word is spreading, including the correct spelling and pronunciation of the cake: vinarterta.
I was calling it vinar terta - two words. Originally the Icelanders adapted it from Vienna torte (two words, with whipped cream). When the Western Icelanders (as those who have left Iceland for the new world are called) arrived, vinarterta became a tangible symbol of their past, and they kept on making it, their specialty, now a legend.. Today in Iceland no one knows what they’re talking about when they ask about vinarterta.