Lefse, Lefsa! Let’s Eat!
Christmas! It’s the season to be merry, to celebrate, to give gifts. And it’s the season to eat! Most North Dakota families can attest to that.
Christmas baking is as important a part of Christmas as attending the local elementary school Christmas program, and going to church on Christmas Eve (or Day).
Or to Sons of Norway Christmas celebrations, not to mention those festive observances at the Long X Visitor Center and Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County in Watford City.
Family and Cultural Traditions
During November and December each year those who love to bake, and carry on family traditions, hole themselves up in their kitchens. For most, out come the mixing bowls and baking sheets.
Special recipe books opened only once a year become flour laden. And for some, out come the rolling pin and lefse griddle and lefse stick.
Reminiscing begins. Talk of the ‘olden’ days might even outweigh cell phone texting and social media.
For me, I think about spending time with my great aunt, born in 1890 on the very farm on which I reside. There I raised my family. Some of my best memories are of frying lefse on a huge iron cook stove, which is still in the old house next to mine.
My favorite crab apple tree is behind that old house. It’s well over a hundred years old. My great aunt named it ‘Lefse Tree’. Its wood burned at just the right temperature to fry her lefse to perfection!
I still have the lefse stick she and her mother used. It’s carved from a tree on their homesteader’s woodlot, which still stands.
Sons of Norway
Lefse making for my children was a bit different. We cheated, and used an electric lefse griddle, as most do now. Sons of Norway provided the most intense lefse making experience possible. Their recipe is a classic!
A quick search on Pinterest for Lefse recipes yields successful results!
Potatoes. Potatoes. Potatoes.
Lefse is traditionally made from only three ingredients. So one would think one recipe would be all it takes to make the best lefse around. Wrong! Talk to any Scandinavian, consult any Norwegian or Swedish cookbook (or any church cookbook in North Dakota, for that matter) and evidence will show just the contrary. Do the lefse recipes ever end??!!
The Watford City Centennial Cookbook, A Taste of Home, boasts seven recipes for lefse! All good Scandanavians have their favorite. And a special lefse stick, rolling pin and griddle to match, no doubt.
Here’s a sampling:
My own cookbook, Enger Family Cookbook, which I compiled a few years back (with the goal of passing on my Norwegian heritage and traditions) boasts eleven recipes! These are my favorites:
Lefse, Lefsa! It’s a Mighty Big Treat!
And There Are More!
Cookbook after cookbook presents variations of lefse recipes. Each family has its favorite, whether for reasons of taste, or the memories associated with them. What cookbooks do you recommend?
What Are Your Favorite Lefse and Christmas tradition recipes?
What lefse recipes have you used? Who makes the best lefse ? Where can good lefse be purchased? How do you serve and eat lefse?
Most importantly, what memories do you associate with lefse?
Let’s compile a recipe file of them all! Message me/comment on Beautiful Badlands ND Facebook page. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
And for that, Mange Tak. Heck…… Mange Tusen Tak!
Western North Dakota Christmas traditions include many cultures. You’ll love to learn about this elaborately stunning Ukrainian Christmas fare: A Twelve Course Christmas Dinner!
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