lefse2It’s hard to say when lefse originated. Maybe the Norse God Odin first had it served to the souls of the slain warriors who occupy Valhalla as a way to fortify them for their final battle. That’s probably just a folk tale given the fact that the potato was introduced to Norway a little over 250 years ago.

The first lefse in Norway didn’t contain potatoes, it was made from flour. Women would travel from house to house, village to village to make lefse to last the winter months. The flour lefse would cook up like a cracker and be able to last through the season. Many households stored their lefse is wooden boxes covered in cloth or just stacked on shelves. When you were ready to enjoy some lefse it was dipped in water and soaked between damp cloth til softened. Like today it was enjoyed with butter and maybe some sugar.

Then the introduction of potatoes, abundant and easy to grow. The potato was incorporated into many Norwegian foods, even lefse! Like Ireland, Norway suffered from the effects of the potato famine in the mid-1800’s, which is about the time that many Norwegians came to the United States. They brought their knowledge and rolling pins. The result is a Norwegian potato bread delicacy that’s part of a special tradition replicated in many Norwegian-American homes for more than 150 years. A tradition that you can be part of once again.

This version of Lefse’s history was submitted by Jim Berg from Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Now Den, vot you know bout dat….
Did you know that lefsa was invented by the norweigen Vikings…
Von day, dey vent and was going to raid Ireland…..
Vell they got over der, but they couldn’t suprise dem
Irish people cause they were making too much noise coming across
the Nort Sea from Norway.
When they got to the shores of Ireland, they tried to land
But couldn’t. You see the Irish heard them coming and began
throwing their potatoes at
them darn vikings so dat the cud not land. Vel by golly,
do you know vat. They load that ship with all the potatoes
dat got trowed at dem, pulled out their oars and finally got back
to Norway. When they got there they played aroung with those
potatoes and came up with a bread, and called it LEFSA.
They had a big party that night, day got out that old foul smelling
fish and put it on Lefsa and that is where the Lutefisk Supper vas
born………..My Grate, Grate, Grate, Grate, Granfodder was on that
ship that raided Ireland.
I’m sure glad they brought it to America other wise we would not have
Lutefisk Suppers Today.

My Lena makes the best darn lefsa in Minnesota. Corse I have to help
otherwise she’d eat it all up while she was cooking it and we would not have
any for supper that evening….

I’m sure glad they have Lutefisk Suppers around Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.
My mother Palma, made all the lefsa by herself. They wern’t very round,
but then she always said you could not taste the round……
Your Friend………. Ole

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