Friday, July 8, 2011

My new Norwegian Cookbook

I am very excited about my new cookbook! My friend and colleague, Angela, went on a trip to the "north country" -- in her case Wisconsin and when she saw this cookbook, thought of me and brought it to me as a gift.

I am certainly not descended from Norwegians, but long ago, I lived a couple of years in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Even though I was a young and inexperienced girl from the south, the people there were very nice to me and I developed a deep appreciation for them, their culture and their hearty lifestyle. (Who else could thrive in sub-zero winter temperatures.)

The recipes in this cookbook bring back so many memories for me. Who could forget the amazing breads made with potatoes -- the potato pastries, krum kake, especially the lefsa, a potato flatbread that I tried a number of times. And the Norwegian dishes like fruit soup. Some dishes brought from the "old country" and some probably inspired by the harsh climate.

I remember the mounds of pickled herring in the grocery store and I remember, but never had the courage to try, lutefisk -- a dish made from whitefish soaked in lye until it becomes a jelly-like substance and then is baked or boiled and served on holidays. This dish has inspired a number of Lake Woebegone stories by Garrison Keillor. They always make me remember and smile. I now have the recipe, if ever I come across any lutefisk.

Some recipes I would like to try are the jelly-filled scones and I would really love to adapt some of these bread recipes into gluten-free breads using mashed potatoes.

I didn't find any recipes using rhubarb, especially the rhubarb coffee cake like I had there one time (and loved), but this is a great cookbook for me to get inspiration and to reminisce.

I know if I visited East Grand Forks now, it would be very different since many things were washed away by the big flood a few years back. (I can't believe the Westward Ho is gone, but it still lives in my memory.) I know the people are certainly the same and I will always appreciate them because I learned while I lived there, that you can venture any place in this country and find some great folks and enjoy things about any community.

I experienced a diversity of culture that I found charming. They loved my southern accent and I loved their northwestern/Norwegian accents. I can't see the movie Fargo or hear Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin speak, without remembering people like my friends Joann, Darlene, Bill and Donnie. I will always remember the LumberMart where I worked and the potato chip factory, sugar beet plant, the Bjornstads and the Hagens. It was a huge learning experience for me and I appreciate that time.

I also appreciate the great cookbook that made me nostalgic. I don't remember the cold so much any more but I now can make lefsa way down here in the sunny south.

1 comment:

  1. Love your post today, Deberah - that cookbook cover is beautiful! My husband is from Minnesota and his family members are (originally) from Holland. We have enjoyed visiting out there, you're right, the folks are so friendly. I always felt that the warmth of the people were such a contrast to those
    oh-so-cold winters.

    How about that 'lutefisk?' I actually took a small bite - memorable, for all the WRONG reasons!

    By the way, I shared your recipe for
    gluten-free brownie (cake) with a friend of mine and she really enjoyed it, so thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend, Joanie