Lefse! Let’s Eat!
Christmas. It’s the season to be Merry. It’s the season to celebrate. It’s the season 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 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 cook, bake, and carry on family and cultural traditions hole themselves up in their kitchens. For most, out come the mixing bowls and baking sheets. Recipe books opened only once a year become flour laden. And for some, out come the lefse griddle and rolling pin and lefse stick. Reminiscing begins. Talk of the ‘olden’ days might even outweigh cell phone texting.
For me, thinking about spending time with my great aunt, born in 1890 on the very farm on which I reside and raised my family, includes her memories of frying lefse on a huge cook stove, still in the old house next to mine. My favorite crab apple tree behind the house, well over a hundred years old, she termed her ‘lefse tree’. It’s wood burned at just the right temperature and heat to fry her lefse to perfection! I still have the lefse stick she and her mother used, carved from a tree from the then young homesteader’s wood plot on my farm.
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 fruitful results!
Potatoes. Potatoes. Potatoes.
Lefse is traditionally made from three ingredients, so one would think one, maybe two, recipes would be all it would take 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! I’d wager that each lefse maker loves his/her recipe for a particular reason, as well as a favorite lefse stick, rolling pin and griddle to match.
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!
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? What cookbook has the best lefse recipes? 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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