My great-grandparents (on my mother’s side) immigrated to the United States from Norway, setting up a family farm in Minnesota where my Nanny grew up. I never met them, but when I was a young child, we spent one Thanksgiving with her brother and his family. That was when I was introduced to Lefse.
Lefse is a simple flatbread made from Russet potato dough. It’s traditionally served with butter and sometimes cinnamon sugar or fruit jam. While the bread itself is basic, the process of making it requires patience, skill, and a good amount of counter space.
Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to learn the Lefse process, Nanny was no longer up to teaching it. Consequently, it’s not something I’ve ever attempted on my own, and the deliciousness has been only a memory.
Then yesterday, my sister and I visited a little shop filled with all things Norwegian. In the cooler, there were packages of Lefse, freshly-made, ready to take home and eat. I put a package in my basket and thought of my Nanny. I thought of how she’d have enjoyed this little place, the stories that might have been prompted by the items in the shop, the window into her life that we might have had if she was there with us.
This morning, I’m enjoying a bit of Lefse with my cuppa, and I’m thinking about making my own. There was a woman at the store who said that she offers Lefse-making classes, and I want to learn. Nanny won’t be the one showing me the steps, but I have no doubt she will still be part of the experience.