{Interview} Meet Becky Olsen

Becky is a Utah native and proud of it. She has Swedish blood and married a Norwegian. (Shhh..don’t tellGrandpa Erland.) Whether it’s scoping out a local bakery to try their signature item, attending an art exhibit or joining the nearest CSA, she loves to support local. Becky authors two sweet-centric blogs: Utah Loves Cupcakes and Project Domestication, which chronicles her journey in baking, cooking and all things domestic. Becky recently completed every single recipe from what she deems ‘the best baking cookbook of all time’ by Dorie Greenspan. It took her 3 years and 3 months and it was completely delicious! She loves using high-quality, local ingredients, especially if it means learning something new and being able to enjoy a special treat with those she loves.

Tell us a bit about your Scandinavian heritage.
I was not raised in Sweden, nor been to the beautiful country. Yet I feel such a connection and pride by having Scandinavian heritage. I supposed this comes from my mother. As a child she shared memories of her father speaking Swedish, and her mother’s authentic Swedish meals. She decorated our kitchen in blue and yellow and talked and taught us how to celebrate St. Lucia. I always felt special knowing I had ancestors from Sweden. It made me feel unique.

As I’ve gotten older I seek out experiences whether they be through music, food, family history, clothing or design to bring me closer to my ancestry. To me there is something so special about connecting past and present. It makes us stronger and gives us more purpose in life and in family.

What was the most surprising moment as a parent?
I had to keep this question in here even though I am not yet a mother. When we lived in New York City I made it a point to visit the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. It had to be fate, because they happened to be showing, Pippi, the sneaky red-headed Swedish character.

I knew I wasn’t leaving my time in NYC without going inside the Swedish Cottage and seeing that marionette production. So I called to make my reservation and this was how the conversation went. You’ll see that nothing can stop me from celebrating my Swedish-ness.

Ring, Ring, Ring…
SMT Employee: “Hello Swedish Marionette Theatre, how may I help you.”
Becky: “Hi, I’d like to make a reservation and reserve a ticket for Pippy this Thursday at 11am.”
SMT Employee: “Wonderful, for how many?”
Becky: “Oh, just one.”
SMT Employee: “Okay ma’am. One adult and one child?”
Becky: “No, just one adult.”
SMT Employee: “So no children?
Becky: “Right, just one adult.”
SMT Employee: “Are you with a school group?”
Becky: “No Ma’am.”
SMT Employee: “This show is just for children.” {read puzzled}
Becky: “I was really hoping to see this…I love marionettes…{continue babbling…}”
SMT Employee: “Well, we have a kindergarten group coming today.” {now annoyed}
Becky: “Is there any room?”
SMT Empolyee: “Ok. Just sit in the back and make sure the kids can see. What’s your credit card number.”

And if you’re wondering if I felt silly sitting all by myself in a room full of 4-year olds. Not in the least. I loved every minute of it!

What is your favorite children’s story or fairytale?
I love Sleeping Beauty. As a little girl, I remember twirling around our living room, holding my night shirt up as if it were a large ball gown and singing “Once Upon a Dream.” Of course, this is all Disney’s rendition, but a fairytale is a fairytale. One of 2012 must-reads is select works from Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which happen to include the original “Little Briar Rose,” the predeceasing story to Sleeping Beauty.

This past Christmas, I became amused with the mischievous Tomtem and surrounding folklore. We see these little farm creatures a lot in Swedish holiday decor and literature. I really enjoy the illustrations and story,  in Astrid Lindgren’s, The Tomten, albeit a tad creepy if you analyze the story. But hey, it’s a great addition to my Christmas book collection.

What is your favorite Swedish food?
I oogle over my mother’s Swedish meatballs, rice pudding, pickled cucumbers and our family recipe for dop-i-grytan. We devour these dishes every Christmas Eve, and if we’re lucky, sometimes in between. I have never actually made my mother’s Swedish meatballs and I feel a bit guilty. Aren’t they always better when Mom makes them?

Today, I’m inviting all you Danish Mamma readers over to my blog, Project Domestication, as I share my grandmother’s Swedish Pancakes recipe and begin an open discussion on the joys {and pains} of family recipes. These Swedish Pancakes are delicious. They’re a sweet and light breakfast, and perfect with a bit of lingonberry jam and a dusting of powdered sugar.

What favorite Swedish experience you want to share with your future children?
I want them to know their heritage. In the end it doesn’t matter to me if they acquire a taste for stinky cheese or know greetings in a different language. I want them to know who their ancestors were and their stories. I feel so blessed to have grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents who were honest, hardworking individuals who sacrificed all they had to do what they knew was right and give their families the best life possible at any cost.

What are your favorite Scandinavian companies or stores?
IKEA and Hemslojd. IKEA is only a freeway drive away and I always find something to help me stay organized, decorate my home without spending thousands of dollars and finding cool gifts for myself and friends.

Hemslojd is one of my favorite catalogs and my go-to for authentic Swedish gifts and decor. I dream of the day I can purchase a giant Dala Horse to place near my fireplace, but for now my tree ornament-size will do.

What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Be authentic. Everyone has a story to tell. Don’t force your posts. Share what you are passionate about and what makes you, you. By all means expand your horizons, learn new skills, try new hobbies and be inspired by others…but never ever forget who you are and why you love to blog.

Connect with Becky:
Blog: Project Domestication
Twitter: @DomesticBecky
Facebook & Pinterest


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2 thoughts on “{Interview} Meet Becky Olsen

  1. Good fun Becky! Loved the photos and your comments. Remember, Grandma Edith’s papa, Karl, was a Norwegian! Grandma Julia was the Swede. It’s all Scandinavian though. I have an Edith Johnson pancake recipe that is different from the Grandma Beda pancake recipe you posted. It is in mom’s handwriting and she calls it Edith’s Thin Healthful Pancakes. These are the ones I recall her making. Now maybe this is Edith’s own recipe, or an adaptation of something Grandma Gunrud used to make. But this is the one she gave me and I remember her making it for us. This is even crazier than a ‘scant cup’ measurement. She taught me to use a soup spoon measurement for the following:

    Edith’s Pancakes:
    6 heaping spoonfuls of white flour
    6 heaping spoonfuls of whole wheat flour
    2 Real Tablespoons raw or brown sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1 TB. powdered milk, not instant
    1 TB. soy flour (she called it soya flour)
    1 TB rice polish (I use japanese rice flour)
    6 egg yolks, beaten with a fork
    Milk (enough to thin the batter to make it the right consistency for a thin pancake)
    ADD–3 TB safflower or unsaturated oil
    ADD–6 egg whites stiffly beaten (have these ready)
    *Add dry ingredients, sifted, add some milk then beaten egg yolks and more milk to thin. Then add the oil and last, the beaten stiff egg whites. I use an iron frying pan (kept just for this purpose). Add a little Fleishman’s Oleo (Edith’s preference) to the frying pan for each pancake.

    Tell me what you think. This is what I have fed my kids all these years. We used to top them with syrup when I was growing up at home. Not lingonberries. We didn’t have them. Dad used to tell us about lingonberries but they were unavailable to us then.

  2. Becky truly is an amazing person… Words can’t express how grateful we were when she sought out our little “local bakery” when we were still running it out of our basement kitchen doing catering orders. With her photo shoot and subsequent blog posts, she made us look and feel like superstars. She continues to impress us as she helps other businesses get noticed, and though I don’t officially represent any group of small businesses–I’m sure I could echo their statements that we are grateful for people like her, who believe in our concept and enthusiastically spread the word.

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