Rolling out the lefse and laughs

The streets were silent and the sky was still dark when I arrived at the church Friday morning.

On this particular morning, the kitchen was already packed with men and women, each one abuzz about lefse.

It was lefse-making day!

Similar scenes are happening in congregations throughout the country this time of year as people work at all hours of the day to prepare delicious foods (Norwegian and otherwise) for church bazaars and dinners.

I’m new to the world of lefse preparation; after three years of observation and novice participation, I still don‘t know all of the steps involved. From what I’ve gathered, to make lefse you must follow this basic equation: potato + flour + love = delicious.


I did not grow up with lefse in my vocabulary (or rosette or lutefisk or krumkaka). I’m thankful for how life in Minnesota has widened my Scandinavian glossary and appetite.

A joyful part of congregational life in any setting is the opportunity to participate in traditions that go back many generations. Each congregation has its own special rituals and customs. It can sometimes be intimidating to jump right in and participate, but I highly recommend it. Most of the time, people will rejoice at the opportunity to pass on the knowledge.

When I was in seminary, a dear pastor from India invited my friend and me to come to his annual church potluck. Most of the members of the church were from Southeast Asia. I still savor the flavors and smells and hospitality of that lovely afternoon.

Regardless of cultural background or religious heritage, it’s a beautiful thing to see people working together in a church to prepare and share delicious foods. It’s a special gift to be able to listen to folks share memories of days gone by.

Years ago, I rejoiced in learning how to make naan (an Indian bread). Now, I rejoice in learning how to make lefse.

I like the process of making lefse just as much as I like eating it. I might not know what I’m doing with a rolling pin or a griddle, but no one seems to mind. I’m thankful for the annual opportunity to laugh, learn, listen, and, of course, eat!

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