#34: Norway

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 ūüôā

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.¬†

I was never really allowed inside the kitchen during Lefse making and as a child I never understood why that was. As an adult who has now been making it for the past decade, I get it! It is a difficult dish that requires a lot of concentration and skill. ¬†As far as the recipe for this week’s country meal, I can only offer one from the internet that is close to the one made by my Grandmother. Her recipe was never written down and as she and I both grew older she shared a lot about Lefse with me. She always said things like “just add a little of this and a little of that” and “you want the dough to feel like this.” Not very helpful when I was desperately trying to resurrect her Lefse meal. But eventually I figured it out and learned that each potato is unique in its size, water content and firmness. ¬†This is important when trying to figure out how much flour, butter and milk to add to get the perfect texture. ¬†

 

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¬†p√łlse med lompe¬†in¬†Norway,¬†lompe¬†being the “smaller-cousin” of the potato lefse.
  • M√łsbr√łmlefse¬†is a variation common to¬†Salten¬†district in¬†Nordland¬†in North Norway. M√łsbr√łmmen 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 m√łsbr√łmmen is warm and the butter is melted.

IMG_0065

IMG_0061

IMG_0063

IMG_0056

IMG_0057

IMG_0058

IMG_0059

IMG_0060

IMG_0053

IMG_0054

IMG_0062

IMG_0064

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 ūüėČ 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 ūüėČ

Wishing the happiest of New Years to you and yours!!!
‚Äď L & K

Advertisements

One thought on “#34: Norway

  1. Pingback: #63: The Maldives | Around the World in 195 Sundays

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s