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Lefse making includes Alaska and Florida

By Staff | Nov 12, 2010

Feeding the mind, your heritage background, and one’s stomach all at once takes a bit of spirit. Last weekend I enjoyed this three-in-one combination–thanks to the invitation from Janice Knutson to learn how to make lefse.

This past summer, Janice was in my studio on business as she was making arrangements for photographing her high school class reunion. Once this picture was arranged, we switched gears and started visiting about canning pickles. I so enjoy when recipe swapping includes the perks to make the dish perfect. This is the validation one cook gives to another to suggest they truly know the thrills cooking can bring. I can assure you her pickles are perfect!

The next time I visited with Janice I wanted to seize the opportunity-this time on making lefse. When one is good at making lefse, the word gets out in the throng of the lefse-grill guardians. These hardy souls all secretly belong to the lefse legion. They don’t need a membership pin to show they belong; in fact, they don’t even hold regular meetings. They instead scout the local church bazaars, auxiliary bake sales, and Sons of Norway suppers. Once they have sampled lefse that is tasty, thinly rolled and lightly browned, they identify the maker. Now, they are in the club.

When cooks share, a number of great things happen. One, we share knowledge. Two, we can inspire each other in our kitchen toils and in our kitchen fun. This was so the case when Janice learned to make lefse. About 30 years ago, Janice was invited by Pat Ferguson to make lefse. Now neither one of these dear ladies had made lefse before, but bravely they entered the kitchen with sticks in the air and a goal of edible lefse. The best part of this story is that they inspired each other. Through many tried, and sometimes not-so-delicious recipes, they pursued. Each attempt brought them closer to higher goals, and before long they knew that perfectly round, tasty, lightly brown lefse was within reach. These gals also brought their husbands, Lanny and Lennie, into the process to make it more enjoyable. (They both figured since their names began with L, they should be brought into the effort.)

For several years Janice and Pat enjoyed making lefse together. Janice shared they often laughed at the shapes they created when first trying to master the rolling. It was common to see the state of Alaska or even Florida! When starting out, things became too sticky with the dough. Janice called upon her mother, Mary Busch, a Norwegian. Come to find out she had never made lefse, but did her fair share of flipping them at her sister’s home and eating them! Janice and Pat have not only rolled out perfect lefse for many years, they have also experimented with many recipes. They now have come upon a real winner. I share with you the recipe and lefse making tips they learned over the years. Pat is the one who discovered this recipe, and it is the only one that they now use. Who knows– they may wish to start a lefse company that features lefse in the shape of your state!

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