Manna From Heaven The Real Story

Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I found it somewhat satisfying when, a couple of weeks ago, my pal and fellow Norwegian (although he only claims about a half a pint of Norskie blood) Steve Hemmingsen, wrote a blog which included pictures of a lutefisk feed he attended in Astoria.
He actually seemed to enjoy himself and the lye-cured cod fish that is the butt of so many jokes and can send even the mightiest of men scrambling in search of sanctuary away from the sight and smell of the stuff.
Of course Steve felt compelled to note that Lutefisk, while not as vile tasting as some claim,(including me I’m afraid)  it couldn’t compare to the  lobster he gobbled up by the dozen on his recent trip to Maine.
I should have invited him along to a party I attended last Saturday which would have taken him further down the road of Nordic cuisine exploration.
It was the first annual Springdale Lutheran Church lefse party. (hummm, that’s funny. My spell checker doesn’t recognize the world lefse.) 
What is lefse some of you ask?
Well, read your Bible.
In Exodus it is called unleavened bread sent down from Heaven by God to feed the starving Israelites wandering around in the desert.
What the scriptures don’t mention is that the Lord used potatoes instead of wheat to make it.
Throughout the ages, scholars and kings have pondered the question of why the Almighty chose the lowly spud to work his miracle.
Then, a young prophet, named Anders, from the city of  Trondheim received the answer in a dream and in 860 AD was summoned to the court by King Harald Fairhair to reveal it.
“Der’s really not dat much to it your highness,” said Anders. “God vas out of flour.
Potatoes vas all He had “LEFT, SIR.”
The king thought he said lef-Se  and decreed that henceforth  this heavenly food be made and consumed by Scandinavians each holiday season until the Lord returns in a cloud of glory.
I have loved eating lefse (Norwegian tortilla if you like) since my mother baked them by the thousands in my youth. After she passed, both my brothers picked up her turning stick and carried on the tradition. I have not…until Saturday.
About 30 of us showed up at church to learn the delicate technique of lefse making from expert experienced bakers willing to share their skills.
Patties are made from chilled mashed potatoes and flour.  The real challenge is rolling those patties out paper thin and getting them wound upon the turning stick and deposited on the hot griddle.
Like me, Pastor Marlin Haugrud is a lefse eater not a lefse maker but receives high praise from parishioner, Mary Reifers for his rolling skills.
 Of course, lefse can puff up like a souffle and explode if it’s not rolled out thin enough as Anna Budahl discovered.  
Just like a steak, I like my lefse well done. If it looks like mygreat aunt Christy’s liver spotted face..that’s perfect.Steve..even agnostics are welcome at the lefse table. We’ll make a believer out of you yet.

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