Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Norwegian Time Machine Recipes: Lefse No 1

To the mothers of Norwegian descent in America:

Who with courage and fortitude almost incomprehensible came to this country in advance of civilization

Who have been the centers about which our happy homes have been reared

Who never stinted in toil of the hands of effort of the mind that those about them might be happy

Who by their love, loyalty, interest, enthusiasm, cheerfulness, radiant optimism, and hopefulness

And not least by their observance of customs and occasions and the serving of good things to eat

Did their part in building and maintaining a morale so necessary in the work of transforming the wild forests and prairies of this great country into golden harvest fields, comfortable homes, and thriving cities

This humble volume is respectfully dedicated

The year was 1924 when these words were written and the passage comes from the introduction of a small, green-canvas-hard-cover, frayed on the edges and definitely well-loved cook book of popular Norwegian recipes called (logically) COOK BOOK of POPULAR NORWEGIAN RECIPES.

I found it a while back when I was doing some cleaning and going through the space under my stairs and after reading the above passage I got to thinking that this cook book probably had a number of recipes from our parents’/grandparents’ generations and thus maybe a wider audience. I think we all have at least one or two favorite family recipes that always seem to taste better than modern variants, right? I think of my grandma Almira’s cooking, using recipes that her folks brought over from the old country and how modern recipes never seem to match them.

So, in hopes of helping a few folks out there reconnect with their heritage and to reminisce about times gone by, I’ll be posting a number of these recipes throughout November and December. Now, before we get onto the recipes, here’s a couple items to give this book some historical perspective: Vladamir Lenin had just passed away and Marlon Brando was born; Also Calvin Coolidge was the president of the 48 United States of America and had just given the first ever presidential address from the Whitehouse over the radio.

So, with that, enjoy today’s Time Machine Recipe:

Lefse No 1

Potatoes, as many as desired
Salt
Cream
Flour

Peel potatoes and cook till well done. Mash fine and add a little salt. When cold, add a little cream and flour enough to mold. Sprinkle the molding board well with flour. Take a large spoonful of dough at a time and roll out thin. Bake on top of a moderately warm stove until a very light brown. Turn with a long pointed stick (made for the purpose) and brown lightly on the other side. Fold and place in cloths to keep soft.

3 comments:

RennyBA said...

How wonderful that you have found this and even more: that you will share it with the rest of us in Blogsphere!

Lefse is of course good old Norwegian, but only a few know how to make it themselves. I'm born in the 50s and remember my grandma was good at it - the lovely smell in her kitchen when she made it and poor sugar on :-)

Nowadays, you have to go to a museum to see how it was originally made. I made a post about it from The Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.

MJ said...

I am the proud owner of my Grandma's recipe box. Her recipe for lefse says "use 1/3 C flour for 1 C potato mixture". Seriously.
Luckily, we know how to do the rest and make lots of yummy lefse every year.

outsideoslo said...

It's fun to dig into the past by way of recipes. And lefse's a good one: each recipe must have a story kneaded and rolled into it, as families and loved ones often make it together this time of year.

My grandma has been teaching me how to make lefse, and it's such an amazing thing to be getting trained by a master lefse baker. Plus, we're creating memories that will last a lifetime.