While we all have our favorite foods and traditions during this holiday season…for me, it’s not chocolate or cookies, it’s lefse! For as long as I can remember this Scandinavian treat has been part of my Christmas season. Oh my, and it is SO good…especially with butter and sugar!
Lefse is a traditional, soft Norwegian flatbread. It is made with potatoes and flour and recipes often include milk or cream. This dough is rolled thin and baked on a hot, dry griddle. It might sound easy, but there is a real art to it—and my mother knew just how to roll that dough out and place it on the griddle without tearing it. There are special tools to assist in the process, including a grooved rolling pin and long wooden sticks used to pick up the rolled out dough and place on the griddle. For many families making the lefse is a group effort because it’s just more enjoyable as a holiday activity.
When my Mom turned 70 all of my siblings were going to be in Minnesota to celebrate the event, and since her birthday was December 21st it seemed like the perfect time for a family “Lefse Roll-Off” Contest. I made special aprons for everyone and we all had our chance to roll out a piece of lefse and bake it on the griddle. Of course, Mother Hopfner was the judge! I can’t remember who won the event…but I do remember what fun we had making the lefse and consuming it! Warm lefse with the butter melting is simply heavenly.
I have yet to perfect my skills with making lefse, I just was never good with the whole process, so now I just buy it in the store. My mom has passed, but not those wonderful memories…I will always have those to cherish!
Of course many memories will be made in Green House homes across the country with Elders and family members during this holiday season. Our core value of Meaningful Life revolves around those formal and informal opportunities for engagement. Special holiday traditions and events are all about putting meaning in our lives!
Let us know if lefse is on your table this year…or what favorite food or tradition is always part of your holiday season!