Christmas Exodus

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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 A couple more runs to the airport to send our two warm weather offspring back to their coat-free comfortable climates and that will be it. Christmas is a wrap for another year.

The "Kids" James & Brenda up front; Suzan, Christy and Patty L to R back row.

The "Kids" James & Brenda up front; Suzan, Christy and Patty L to R back row.

All in all, I’d say it was a good one. Our two youngest grandchildren, Zoey and Ella, seemed delighted with the bags of goodies under the tree.  I don’t know about your house, but at ours, the tedious job of actually wrapping Christmas presents gave way to putting them in brightly colored bags (sacks?) a long time ago. I suppose that disappoints some traditionalists but I’ve yet to hear anybody around here complain.

Zoey and Ella dig into their Christmas bags

Zoey and Ella dig into their Christmas bags

Linda and I both feel like we’ve put on plenty of holiday poundage even though I don’t believe I ate more than’s just that most of the things I consumed have been laden with copious amounts of butter, sugar and animal fats. Right on cue, we’ve both put into motion those annual lies about dieting in the new year..and by god, we mean it this time. But first, I have to finish off the lefse that John Mogen baked and brought over here the other day. I’ve said it before and say it again, his is the best I’ve ever tasted and, it looks like lefse is supposed to look; resembling my dear old great aunt Christie’s mole-covered face. Those of you who are new to the special craft of lefse-making..first of all, good on ya for at least trying to carry on this Scandinavian tradition, but you must realize that those big brown spots which appear during the griddling process are not flaws to be frowned upon and rejected..nay..they are badges of baked perfection by which all great looking and  tasting lefse should be judged. For within those scabby dark circles of burned flour lies the flavor goodness that makes this delicacy so delightful. There are also lots of leftover cookies and candy and Chex mix stuffed into Christmas cans around here but they are nowhere near the temptation to me as the lefse.

John Mogen's perfect lefse

John Mogen's perfect lefse

Christmas Eve is always a grand time at our house especially since it was our turn to have Suzan, Joe and Zoey here from Lincoln for our annual ham supper. We have to share them with Zoey’s other grandparents every other Christmas Eve so that meant all the kids and grandkids were in attendance. Although we had some snow, the weather didn’t affect anybody’s travel plans but it was partially to blame for a trip to the emergency room Thursday morning. Joe, my last remaining son in law, is a seasoned actor who is currently drama director at a high school in Lincoln. For years whenever he’s had a performance; either as a performer or director, we’d wish him good luck as is traditional in theater circles, by saying “ Break a Leg.”  I have no idea where that came from..(hold on I’ll check google.) Hmmm..origin obscure but apparently reflects a theatrical superstition in which wishing a performer good luck means bad luck.

Anyway, my performing son in law took the saying a bit too literally the other night and, after an evening of frivolity, proceeded to step out of the passenger side of the van; fell to the ground and broke his leg. It’s a fracture to the smaller bone of his lower leg which does not require a cast but rather a brace and crutches and a whole lot of extra careful trodding around his wife for the next six weeks.

Well, we’re back from the airport and Linda is about to rip into the decorations removing all signs of the season until next December. That means it’s time for me to skeedaddle; not that I’m unwilling to help but she’d rather I didn’t hear the cussing.


  1. JeniW says:

    As we know, the 12 Days of Christmas begins on Christmas Day, so we still have time to enjoy the holiday, treats and all that add to our waistline!

    A few Christmas cards will trickle in, but that is okay, I don’t call them late, I call them extensions of good cheer. The same way with the two gifts I have remaining tobe delivered.

    Soon enough, we will be getting greetings from the IRS to remind of the reality of day to day living, and the bills to remind us of our fiscal responsibilities to the utility company, to the bank for our credit card usage, and etc. Yeah, I think I am going to extend my good cheers and celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas.

    How wonderful that you had a great time with your kids and grandkids!

  2. Dawn says:

    I remember Suzan and Patty as little girls…and I loved your description of lefse!!

  3. Larry says:

    If you run out of lefse let me know because my wife and I made 20 pounds worth and we have a few left. The recipe is the one my Mom (Clarice) used for many years on the farm south of Volga with my Dad (Harry) sitting and turning as Mom rolled them out. Happy New Year!

  4. lnr says:

    Larry,could u share ur recipe PLEASE………

  5. Scottish Goldfish says:

    Fifteen to twenty years ago, I was living in the Denver ‘burbs and got a hankering for lefse. I made the rounds of all the grocery stores and couldn’t find any. Nobody in the stores knew what I was talking about. Even asking for potato tortillas didn’t help. I almost called home to see if anyone would bootleg some to me. Considering that there isn’t a single drop of Scandinavian blood in me, what was I thinking?

  6. Larry says:

    From the First Lutheran Church, Volga cookbook 1879-1993. The cookbook that my wife uses most of the time. We have made only one change to the recipe my Mom submitted on page 153.
    10 pounds will probably make 5-6 dozen. Peel the skin and boil until tender. We then rice the potatoes and mix 4 cups with 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup whipping cream, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tbls. sugar. Place the globs on cookie sheets and cool in refrigerator. After cool add 1 cup flour and make into 12-13 balls. You’re then ready to roll and fry on a lefse gridle. We then pile them on top of each other covered with dish towels to keep them moist and not dry out. Everyone once in a while you must lay one on the counter next to the butter and sugar for a treat. Good Luck

  7. grouse says:

    You’re absolutely right Larry….Scripture says one should not muzzle the ox. Making lefse is hard work, and the cook needs to be rewarded!!!

  8. Tom says:

    I got an e-mail from my son-in-law with a picture of Erin making Christmas lefse in Tennessee. I was in Hawaii where I got help from my 7 year old grandson Torin while making Christmas lefse out there. I think the tradition is going nationwide! Happy New Year, Tom

  9. Sweeps says:

    I chuckled when I read Grouse’s last comment. I’ve spent many hours at one of our local Lut’ran churches making lefse, and it’s a sad time, indeed, when there are none poor enough to put on the “cook’s pile.” I won’t say we intentionally messed them up once in awhile, but …..

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