Tag Archives: love

Making Lefse

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For those of you who do not know what Lefse (lef-suh) is, let me educate you…it’s basically a Norwegian tortilla, but that’s really blasphemy.  I’m not Norwegian by blood, but by love, so when I visit my family in Wisconsin, I get the full-on Norwegian heritage experience.  I love that about my life.

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There are several variations of a Lefse recipe.  Me:  What’s in this?  Just potatoes and flour?  The women:  Yes.  Later…

One of the women:  I like the Lefse made with cream.  Me:  It has cream?  Along with potato and flour?  Them:  Yes.    Still later…

One of the women:  It tastes better when we make it with butter, too.  Me:  Butter?  And cream, potatoes, and flour?  Them:  Yes.  And then I found out…all of the recipes consist of potato (real mashed, powdered, or flakes), flour, a shortening of some sort (lard, butter, Crisco-type), a liquid (cream, milk, or water), and salt.  A smidge of sugar is optional.  I guess I just needed to read a recipe.

The potatoes are made the day before.   They sit in the refrigerator to cool for at least 24 hours.  The dough is mixed by hand, adding flour to make it the correct consistency, and it is rolled really, really, really thinly on a round cloth, covered Bethany board.  A special thinly-ridged rolling pin is used, and that is covered with a sock thingie.  Then long flat sticks, sometimes decorated on one end, are used to lift the circle of Lefse, which is brought to the hot, Heritage Griddle, carefully laid across, and then cooked until it bubbles on one side, is flipped, and cooked briefly on the other.  The flat is lifted off with the Lefse turner, and laid on a cloth.  Many circles of Lefse are piled up, and later, when properly cooled, the Lefse are folded in fourths, and packed in baggies.

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Lefse is a tradition.  Like Krumkake, around here, Lefse is a taste of the past.  People eat it with butter and sugar, or jam, or just plain.  Saturday, I went to the church with my sister to make Lefse.  There were eight of us…one mixer, four rollers, and three turners.  I, as a rookie, was assigned to be a turner

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People will come to special church sales just to buy the Lefse.  And women in churches all over the northern midwest are gathering to make the Lefse to sell.  Some have a personal business, selling Lefse for at least $4-$6 a folded over piece.  It is a big money-maker for the churches, and a bargain for the buyers who get a baggie of 9 pieces for $15.  All aspects of the experience are bonding events for the Lefse-making women and the Lefse-buying folks.

America is a melting pot.  We are people from all the lands on earth.  We embrace our past, share our traditions, and look to a better future for all our humans.  It’s a better world with Lefse making women, or any other food-making tradition that’s practiced.  My take-away lesson?  It’s all about teamwork.  If only we could have an overflow of this practice in the real life world-at-large.

 

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Being a Pilgrim…

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No, not the kind that wears buckles on the hat and shoes.  The religious kind.  Hoo-boy.  Never thought that would be me, but I guess God had a different plan.  Imagine that.

So what is a modern-day pilgrim?  My treasured, brown Webster’s New World Dictionary defines a pilgrim as one who makes “a journey, especially to a shrine or holy place.” Somehow, that doesn’t quite capture it.  I think a pilgrimage is a journey made with an open mind and heart to the experience of said visit to the holy place.  At least that’s how I began my pilgrimage.

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I just returned from Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.  It is a small, fairly obscure village in former Communist Yugoslavia.  In that village, since June of 1981, the Blessed Mother has appeared to six visionaries, who started out as young people, ages 16 down to 10, who have grown to be mostly middle-aged joyful, prayerful, normal, kind, men and women.  Not that I personally met any of them, but I did see and hear a couple of them speak.  By the way, they have been medically certified as normal and sane.  I can’t say that I have that piece of paper.

It was a long and arduous post 9/11 journey, from Charlotte to Toronto to Munich to Split.  I had never even heard of Split.  Then a three hour bus ride to Medjugorje.  The village is dominated by a very large, double-spired church, with Cross Mountain and Apparition Hill at points equidistant to each other.  We spent nine days climbing the Hill, going to Mass twice a day, praying the rosary twice or three times a day, climbing the Mountain, hearing talks and testimonials, and well, I’m not proud of this, but shopping.  At least the shopping was for sacramentals and blessed items to bring back, I tell myself.

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This place is what the rest of the world should be like…accepting of differences.  The Italians are pushy.  So what!  That’s just them.  They are loving and faithful people.  The Americans talk too much and say little.  So what!  They are generous.  The Protestants don’t pray The Way of the Cross.  So what!  They respect Christ’s Passion and suffer for Him the same as Catholics.

The experiences I had do not center around the visions of the Blessed Mother.  I haven’t had any of those.  My experiences and impressions center on what the Blessed Mother calls us to do.  Love.  That’s it.

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I am working very, very hard to keep that message in my heart and at the center of my life.  And with prayer, it’s possible.

 

Another Birthday, Thank the Lord…

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Four years ago, I published a blog entitled “Shootin’ Sh*t in Wisconsin.”  It got a lot of traffic, and that surprised me.  It was about spending my birthday with my siblings, and doing some target shooting at the farm.  I had a great time that birthday weekend.  I laughed with people I love like nobody’s business.  This weekend, I celebrated a birthday weekend at Lake Waccamaw with my friends that are just as much family as my Wisconsin folks.

Having a birthday, no matter how many of the numbers accumulate, is a gift.  There are a significant number of people who won’t have another birthday after last night.  That breaks my heart, and it breaks the hearts of all the people who loved those who were shot down like pigeons in a barrel, if you will pardon my using that simile.  Why someone would give up their life and leave their family, with children, because they didn’t like the way someone else lives is beyond my comprehension.

What I do comprehend is that America has got to do something about easy access to assault weapons and guns in general.  The Founding Fathers did not mean for the Second Amendment to be a blank check for mass murder, or murder of any kind, thank you very much.  No one in their right mind would even begin to assume such a thing.  As a matter of fact, the Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  I am not a lawyer, but it certainly reads, “A well regulated Militia…”  The people who argue for the right to bear arms are not arguing for the cause of a Militia.  They are just arguing.

I am tired of seeing my country’s flag flying at half-staff for human beings, our citizens, being attacked and murdered for nothing but hate and anger.  That is not a human way to deal with others.  That is just inexcusable, and it needs to not be excused anymore.  The world doesn’t understand it, and neither do I.

And I got to have another birthday.  God bless America.

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