Holidays, Life

lefse

 

Around 1870, my 3rd great grandmother Signe Eskar left her home in Norway to come to America. She was my father’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother. Earlier this year I got to visit her gravesite for the first time, at the Stone Church in Houston MN. I stayed by it a little while and told her thank you for coming to America. That I’m so thankful for the life we have because of her decision. I told her that I still make lefse every year, and that one day I’ll teach my little girl, and little boy too. And I like to think of her when we make lefse.

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Kaden playing outside the church his 4th great grandparents attended, in Houston, MN. He took a rock from outside & I have it tucked away in my jewelry chest. I think of this picture whenever I see it.

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Lefse is a traditional Norwegian food made of potatoes, flour, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. When I was six years old my grandma’s sister, Aunt Sandy, invited me to make it with her, and I’ve now made it for the past 17 years – with her while we lived in Minnesota, and with my family’s help after we moved to Florida.

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This year everyone helped out. Davis riced the potatoes. Mom mashed them. Clarissa and Faith helped me mix ingredients and watch the griddle. The other boys took care of Kaden & Alia. And I was in charge of the rolling pin. That is the trickiest part, and was always Aunt Sandy’s job when I cooked with her. As I roll I recall her telling me not to use too much pressure – that lefse is not like a pie crust, and potatoes don’t like to be squished.

 

This was the first time ever we didn’t have a mid-cooking crisis that required an emergency phone call to Aunt Sandy. Other years we hadn’t properly cleaned the griddle beforehand, bought the wrong type of flour, and other issues I can’t remember. But instead this time, we called her as one of our last pieces was on the griddle, to tell her we were making it and thinking of her too.

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I wish Signe Eskar had had a blog. I wish I could see photos of what she looked like in December of 1892 when her son, Ole and daughter, Selma, were two years and 7 months old. I wish I could get a glimpse of their family when they sat down to eat together. I wonder what kind of things she thought about, worried about, hoped for. Gosh the world has changed since then. But I bet a lot is still the same. And I like to think of her when, once or twice a year around the holidays, my family takes an afternoon or evening to make lefse together.

DSC_0059 (1)DSC_0070DSC_0014Kaden tried his first lefse this year. He ate each of the 4 triangles we cut it in & we told him that was all. He looked at the pile of 40 pieces or so stacked up on the counter & said “whose is all that lefse?” 🙂DSC_0084 (1)DSC_0091 (1)DSC_0093 (1)

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Heather

    December 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Katelyn this is a lovely post. It brought tears to my eyes. I love that you take time to do this. Lefse and writing.

  2. Donna

    December 19, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you for using your writing talents to put this family tradition into words. I so enjoyed reading it. Love you, Grandma

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