Julgrot is part of the traditional Christmas Eve Supper in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. 'Tis a gift to be simple.
Rinse and drain the rice. In a medium saucepan, bring rice and water to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for a few minutes. Drain rice thoroughly (and carefully...it's hot!)
Add rice, sea salt and honey to Organic Valley Whole Milk in top of a double boiler. Cover and cook over gently boiling water until rice is very tender and milk is absorbed, about 2 hours.
Ladle into serving dish and stir in 1 almond.
The guest who discovers the single almond in their bowl will surely be blessed with good health, prosperity and oodles of love in the upcoming year.
Traditionally, a marzipan pig was the "prize" for the almond holder, to represent abundance and good luck.
Allow guests to add a pat of Organic Valley butter to represent the sunshine and the richness of life, as well as sprinklings of cinnamon sugar to represent the sweetness in life.
The Holiday Porridge was traditionally offered on Christmans Eve, and the lore around this tradition varies greatly. We have always offered rice porridge as a remembrance of simplicity, as rice is a basic staple. We send out blessings to those who have little and hope that they will dream tonight with full bellies and love in their hearts.
The butter (in our family lore) represents the sunshine that helps the grass grow, which feeds the Organic Valley cow, who releases her milk that will become the rich sweet butter. The circle of life!
The cinnamon sugar represents the sweetness in life that is well blended with the spicy. It also represents the east, as that's where the sun rises, and where the cinnamon was grown.
Before we eat the porridge, we each would recall our blessings and place our intention on the new year that is dancing around the corner. Some families recite rhymes or riddles before eating the porridge, too!
There have been years that we have actually "planted" the solitary almond in someone's bowl who may have faced challenges that year, or whose health was poor. It's also fun to "plant" the almond on a child, but please make sure that they have plenty of teeth and an awareness that something hard and crunchy may be swimming in their porridge! We used to joke about this..."No Holiday Heimlich's for me!" The marzipan pig was traditionally gifted to the almond holder. There were a couple years that we could not locate a marzipan pig, so we tried plush stuffed pigs, and later a maple candy Santa Claus (to represent our late Papa who embraced the heart and look of Santa Claus - literally he had a long white beard and hair with a real Santa belly - no pillows in the shirt!).
One of the children's favorite songs to sing around the porridge is "'Tis a Gift to be Simple." We will play Raffi's version this year and sing along!