Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Nordic Heritage Day

Tom and I both have a parent who was half Norwegian and half Swedish. We've had our DNA tested, and I am 69% Scandinavian and Tom is 74%.

While our parents didn't do much to acknowledge this heritage, Tom's mother did make fatigmand cookies, and my mother learned to make potato lefse for my dad. 

Over the years I have really felt a connection to my Nordic roots, especially after touring Norway and Sweden, and connecting with fourth cousins there. We both were able to find ancestral villages and the locations of farms where our ancestors lived.

I have made lefse many times, and started making the fatigmand a few years ago. Last year we decided to make fatigmand cookies with our grand kids. This year we decided to add lefse making too. 

Fatigmand cookies are fried cardamom flavored dough, rolled very thin, cut and slit and the tail tucked into the slit to make a buckle like cookie. 

I rolled the dough, Irene tucked the tails, and Tom and Isaac manned the hot oil. 

 When the cookies are cooled they are coated in powdered sugar. And then finally they could be tasted. Yum!
We got all of that process cleaned up and then it was time to make the lefse.

Yesterday evening I made the mashed potatoes, enriched with butter and half & half. I chilled them in the refrigerator over night. This morning I worked in just enough flour to make a dough that holds together with a bit of elasticity. 
 Each ball of dough is rolled out as thin as possible. Lots of flour "tossing" is required to prevent sticking. 
 Tom taught Isaac how to use the special lefse stick to lift the delicate rounds and get them on the griddle - the lefse iron. 

 Irene had a turn too.

But Irene was much more interested in eating them. We made her wait. 

 When all of the rounds were cooked, Tom showed Irene how to prepare them, brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, cut in wedges and rolled up

 And then it was time for lunch - left over turkey soup, and lefse. Finally Irene got to eat them! Yum, yum!

I don't know if anyone will eventually carry on these traditions, but at least they will know about them. And we all get to eat well. 

Yah, sure, you betcha'.


  1. You see Isaac in the background on his phone in one photo. In his defense, he was doing research. He was looking up the history of the two cookies and where they came from; Norway.
    Tom Reeder

  2. Doing a baking activity brings more meaning to that Norwegian heritage.

  3. I’m super major impressed you can get Issac to participate. It’s how tradition gets passed to the next generation. Very cool.

  4. Such a fine tradition, and they do look wonderfully tasty! :-)

  5. My daughter makes lefsa. Here in Minnesota we cool the lefsa and then take one whole round fold it in half and then in half again to store until ready to flip open and put butter and plain sugar on so we have a large lefsa roll when we are done. Practically a meal in itself. Lefsa is not one of my favorites but my husband enjoys it.
    It is good to carry on traditions, both of my Grandsons can make lefsa from start to finish...they have learned all the steps of the making. :)

  6. Perhaps traditions fade because of the amount of work involved -- but seeing grandparents and grandchildren engaged in the passing on of history -- wow, something mystical and holy. Honestly, it brought tears to my eyes, in big part from regret at letting my own family traditions fall by the wayside.

  7. looks fun...sadly one of my grandkids is gluten and lactose intolerant which leaves out lots of goodies that could be made and shared and then i'm diabetic. but did manage to find a sugar free pumpkin pie for me...

  8. What delicious memories you are making with your Grands.

  9. The last picture made me laugh out loud. What, no lutefisk?

  10. I think it is so cool how your grands jump wholeheartedly into the cooking projects you present. The traditions will continue through them and their kids.

  11. A lovely tradition. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

  12. I agree... it's a great tradition and important that the grands know about it.

    I just love Irene's beautiful, long hair!!

  13. Passing on traditions is fun . Kids may adopt them into their adult life at some point. I am affraid some of my family baking has not made it to the next generation. But some slightly modified versions have.


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