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Bob Lind, Published March 31 2013

Lind: More readers weigh in on how best to garnish lefse

Ideas about what to put on lefse continue to roll in. Somehow, lutefisk becomes involved, too.

Laurie Stewart-Hanson, Fargo, says what she calls a “Norwegian burrito” is her favorite way to eat lefse. “I wrap lefse around turkey and stuffing, and smother it with gravy,” she says. “Mmmmm ... getting hungry just thinking about it.”

Carl Carlson, Fargo, writes, “I was delighted with the Neighbors column of Dec. 1 (last year) to find out that other Norwegians put meat and potatoes on lefse, roll it all up, eat it, and call it ‘betta.’ ”

But there’s a debate over sugar.

Andrea Halgrimson, Fargo, who writes about local history and food for The Forum, says, “Whatever you do, don’t put sugar on your lefse.”

However, Kathy Madsen, Enderlin, N.D., writes that her grandmother, “a true Norwegian, made lefse many times. We always put butter and sugar on.

“During one visit, we got to try a different topping. It was like caramel, but had a slightly tart taste. I asked what it was. My grandmother cracked a smile and said, ‘Goat’s milk.’ To this day I still put butter and sugar on my lefse.”

Easter tradition

Ruth Carlson, Ada, Minn., says lefse and eggs are her family’s Easter breakfast tradition, handed down over at least three generations. “For those who scoff,” she says, “I would remind them that many enjoy hash browns with their eggs, a good combination. Lefse is potatoes in another form, that’s all.

“I’ve often wondered,” Ruth says, “did great-grandma find she was running a little short on bread for her big family one Easter morning? Most likely, there was plenty of lefse in the pantry. You know the saying, ‘Necessity ...’ ”

A December column telling of the mother of Arland Wisted, Detroit Lakes, Minn., fixing graham lefse and lutefisk for Christmas Eve led Gene Lee, Dallas, to write, “Graham lefse sounds good!”

While Terry Olson, Fargo, writes, “As a lutefisk/lefse eater (not necessarily in that order), I enjoyed the column. I surely would have enjoyed Christmas Eve dinner at Arland’s house.”

Myrna Lyng, Mayville, N.D., writes about a “unique celebration of lefse” held in Peoria, Ill.

Jerry Bietz, a Mayville native, and his wife Myrna, who is from Walhalla, N.D. (also the hometown of Myrna Lyng), live there, and each November for the past 44 years they’ve gathered some people together “to be goofy and make lefse,” Myrna Lyng says. “They have a parade around their front lawn, sing appropriate songs, have a lefse stick gauntlet and flag-raising, then get to the business of making lefse. They also have intervals of eating and tossing down adult beverages.

“It sounds just a tad rowdy,” Myrna says, “but it’s their way of bringing a bit of their Norwegian heritage to Illinois.”

Now, back to lutefisk.

Irene Gilmore, Jud, N.D., says she and her family have been invited to lutefisk and lefse dinners, which was nice, but they didn’t enjoy the meal at all.

Later, after she helped a friend named Annie with her cleaning, Annie asked her to stay and eat with her and her husband.

“I hope you like lutefisk,” Annie said. “I thought, ‘Oh, no,’ ” Irene says. “But she was such a nice lady I didn’t say anything.

“The lefse was spread with butter and just a light sprinkling of sugar,” Irene says.

And the lutefisk? “It was very very good,” Irene says. “I told Annie how I had eaten it before and didn’t like it. She told me the only lutefisk she will buy is if it is pure white; no yellowish or dark brownish on the fish. She said that fish never tastes as good.”

And that’s not an April Fools’ joke, either.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com