This past weekend my sister called the ladies of the family together for a Lefse making party. Lefse, a potato based tortilla, has always been a staple at our annual family Christmas get togethers, but for years now, since my Norwegian grandmother became older and then passed away, we’ve only had store bought from Nordic House in Oakland. Store bought lefse are pretty awful when you compare them to homemade. The flour-y, potato-y smell of a fresh grilled lefse is such a familiar and comfortable smell to me. Spread it with butter, roll it up and enjoy.
With my father recruited to watch all the little grandchildren we mustered up every last cell of Norwegian blood we have left in our bloodline, got out the funny looking lefse rolling pin, rolled up our sleeves, covered ourselves in flour and got to work.
After you roll them out, you need a this special flat lefse stick (this one my father crafted) to slide underneath, lift it up and lower and then roll it onto the griddle.
A stovetop griddle is far slower than the hearth top cooking that my dad remembers as a kid, but we built up a nice little pile of lefse. And the joy of getting together as a family over the holidays to carry on a family tradition that almost got lost was priceless. There are so many traditions associated with the holidays, new ones that my little family have created, ones that I remember from my childhood, but to participate in one that has been in our family line for generations upon generations was very special. Thanks for getting us all together, Marga.
Although, contrary to the family history, we decided to skip the Lutefisk.
Do you have any long lived holiday traditions in your family?