Thursday, August 16, 2007

I love lefse

I love lefse, a Norwegian flat bread that looks sort of like a cross between a crêpe, a tortilla and Indian naan. It starts as a dough made with mashed potatoes, flour and cream or butter, and is then rolled as thin as possible (“thin enough to read the newspaper through,” according to one Norwegian cook) and quickly cooked on a hot griddle.

It’s odd that I have actually had lefse because I am not of Norwegian heritage, nor did I grow up in a part of the country with big Norwegian settlements (North Dakota and Minnesota, for example). I believe that I first had lefse when I was working on a book called The International Cook’s Catalogue. I was in charge of a section on Scandinavian baking tools and I ran across a rolling pin that was specifically for making lefse.

This led me to a small shop in Manhattan that sold all things Scandinavian, which is where I got my first taste of lefse. What I had was packaged lefse (Norwegians would probably shudder at the thought) that in order to be edible had to be resoftened: It had to sit layered with damp towels for what always seemed like way too long, because I was anxious to scarf it down.

I have since been tempted to learn how to make fresh lefse, though it seems to be quite an art. In my search to find a good lefse recipe, I found Terry's Lefse Links page, with lots of links to all things lefse (though some of the links are unfortunately out of date). And one of the links is to a site called Lefse Time, where you can order anything you need to make lefse, including the wonderful looking lefse rolling pin.

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