Wanna know how to scare the krumkake out of most true-blue, traditional lefse makers on Halloween? Tell them they have to make lefse using instant potatoes!
This has been a forbidden ingredient in lefse because, say traditionalists, instant potatoes are not real (although the box says the contents are 98 percent potatoes), and using instant potatoes is perceived to be cheating.
Part of lure of lefse is in the anticipation that is increased with the time required to boil potatoes, mash them, rice them, make the dough, and then cool the dough overnight. This potato-prep time is a nostalgic labor of love that connects us to those who made lefse before us, to grandmas and aunts in the “good old days.” But with potatoes that are instant (can’t you just see the sneer as traditionalist sputter that word), the anticipation is diminished, and the connection to grandma is hurried by an unquestioned and unwelcomed need for speed.
On the other hand, there are times when you don’t want—or physically cannot pull off—the big production; you just want a little lefse. Why not use instant potatoes and get right down to some fun rolling?
When I wrote The Last Word on Lefse 25 years ago, I was one who sneered at instant potatoes. But with age and with the writing of Keep On Rolling! this year, I no longer sneer. Over the years, I have interviewed too many lefse makers who make excellent lefse using instant potatoes.
So for the first time I am going to explore using instant potatoes as an experiment in my lefse-making classes, which begin next week. We’ll make dough with “real” potatoes and dough with instant potatoes, and we’ll see how the lefse rolling and baking go, and how the lefse tastes. I’ll let you know.