Gledelig Jul! (“Merry Christmas” in Norwegian!)
This week was a surprise double-header in the ATW195S blog! We decided to travel to the Vatican for our meal, and then realized that we always travel to Norway for Christmas anyway! So we rolled that into the blog for the week 🙂
THE DINNER: Hey guys, it’s the chef here! I wanted to fill you in on the background of Norwegian Lefse, since I’m the one that makes it in Brovskyland each year! Lefse has been around my family for years during the holidays; so much so that I thought we had Norwegian heritage (which we do not!). My Grandmother made it for days before Christmas just so that there was enough to feed all of our relatives who love it so very much. Grandma had a close friend who was Norwegian who taught her how to make it. Potatoes were inexpensive, had a long shelf life, were filling/hearty and were used in a variety of dishes and during the depression. It was all of those things that inspired her to add Lefse to her dinner table on Christmas.
There are many different ways that Lefse is made and eaten depending upon the region, but it generally resembles a flatbread.
- Tynnlefse (thin lefse) is a variation made in central Norway. Tynnlefse is rolled up with butter, sugar and cinnamon (or with butter and brown sugar)-This is the most frequent type consumed in the USA and in our home!
- Tjukklefse or tykklefse is thicker and often served with coffee as a cake.
- Potetlefse (potato lefse) is often used in place of a hotdog bun and can be used to roll up sausages. This is also known as pølse med lompe in Norway, lompe being the “smaller-cousin” of the potato lefse.
- Møsbrømlefse is a variation common to Salten district in Nordland in North Norway. Møsbrømmen consists of half water and half the cheese smooth with flour or corn flour to a half thick sauce that greased the cooled lefse. Lefse is ready when møsbrømmen is warm and the butter is melted.
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: FOUR and A HALF STARS out of five this Dinner!
This is perhaps the most challenging thing I’ve seen. It’s easy to say that these are the Norwegian version of the potato latke, but it’s so much more than that. Frying a latke is a lot easier in that the shredded nature of the potato makes for easier flipping and better continuity. The make up of lefse is that it’s ready to tear apart at any moment. I have watched my mom make these year after year and know it’ll be maybe 10 more years before I will feel comfortable attempting it… let alone for it to turn out. That’ll be probably 15 more years I’m sure. But please don’t let that deter you!! This is so much a tradition that it will take practice, but it will be worth it, like so many traditions are! Have fun. Be patient. Enjoy the food!
Best dish of all time scale: FIVE stars for Dinner.
I don’t personally care for lefse. But I’m not a huge fan of potatoes in general, so that’s not really fair to the lefse. This is something that the family, year after year, anticipates and drools over and fights over and laments over when it’s gone. It’s seriously a five star dish. It’s worth all the work. We have it every Christmas and, last year, was the first year in literally decades that we didn’t have the time to make it (as it takes days to prepare). I remember the outcry of sadness that ensued when there was no lefse at Christmas Eve 😉 so based on that alone you should know that this is spectacular. You should eat it warmed up– the butter and brown sugar melts away into the potato wrapper like a dream. Float away on clouds of potato bliss, guys!
Nothing like a little double header plot twist to spice things up!! We are heading south for the winter next week. Come along as we venture to South Africa for a little dinner and maybe some futbol 😉
Wishing the happiest of New Years to you and yours!!!
– L & K