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HAMC Auxiliary volunteers roll out lefse for Nov. 7 bazaar

By Staff | Oct 18, 2019

Sue Sitter/PCT HAMC Auxilliary volunteer Bernie Howard prepares to lift a lefse from the grill. Volunteers predict the Norwegian treat will sell out quickly at the HAMC Auxilliary Bazaar, slated for Nov. 7 at 10:00 am.

The kitchen at Rugby’s Heart of America Medical Center was busier than usual this week as HAMC Auxiliary volunteers brought in 150 pounds of potatoes to peel, rice, mix and roll into 720 lefse.

Volunteers made the lefse in a three-day process and packaged them for sale at their annual bazaar, to be held November 7 at 10:00 am. They predicted the Norwegian treat would sell out quickly.

“Oh, gosh, yes, it’s popular,” said volunteer Gerry Brenno.

“We start our sale at 10:00 and we’re always out by noon,” Brenno noted.

“Or sooner!” other volunteers chimed in.

After the potatoes were peeled on the first day of the process, four of the volunteers took a very short break on their ricing day to describe the work that goes into creating the popular Norwegian potato flatbread.

“We can’t talk long,” they warned.

They didn’t want the potatoes to get soggy.

Volunteer Marge Heilman described the process involved in creating lefse.

“We first peeled (the potatoes), and then we boiled them, and now we’re ricing them, mixing in butter, sugar and cream,” Heilman said. “Then, tomorrow morning, there’s a whole new crew that comes in, and they mix in the flour. We have men do that because it’s so hard to do.”

Heilman said the ladies enlist the help of men to mix and knead the cold, hard dough by hand. Next, the dough is broken into smaller pieces and rolled into balls.

Heilman noted the volunteers use a mechanical ricer for the lefse, but no machines are used for kneading.

“The men help us in the morning to make the balls, and then we have twelve rollers and twelve flippers, and then we just set up upstairs, and we have a whole big factory thing! It’s fun!” Heilman smiled.

Brenno and fellow volunteers Marlene Schaan and Margaret Whittmayer expressed gratitude for the number of enthusiastic community volunteers.

“We are so fortunate enough to find people to help. Some help finish the dough; some help cool (the lefse); some package it up for sale,” Brenno said.

The volunteers said the money raised from this year’s bazaar would be used to decorate the hospital’s two sleep study rooms.

Along with lefse, the sale will feature other baked goods.

“We’ll have a variety of baked goods. We usually serve pie and coffee at the sale. We make homemade pies,” Schaan said. “We’ll have butter braid bread, too.”

Volunteers returned to the kitchen to keep the potatoes in just the right condition and regular dietary staff made room for them as they went about their mealtime routine.

Dietary Supervisor Kim Kuntz stood near the volunteers and employees, making sure things ran smoothly.

Kuntz said the staff make room for lefse making every year. “We don’t mind this at all,” she said.

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