The joy of lefse. I’ve made so much of it and for so many years that there are times I forget the simple joy lefse brings to those who eat it and to those who make it.
This is a story about Jean Ostvoll, whose husband would enjoy good lefse on his 60th birthday, thanks to Jean. I knew he’d love the lefse, but I didn’t know how much I would enjoy making it for him and then shipping it to Jean from Minneapolis to Michigan.
I sell lefse made the same day that customers pick up the order. That’s the only way I fill orders. No freezing. This means I have sold only to locals who pick up. That was the case until Jean emailed me:
“Hello, Gary! So — I know you say you won’t ship outside of the Minneapolis area because of shipping costs, but if I were willing to pay overnight FDX would you ship to me in Michigan? My husbands 60th birthday is June 26 and he is always pining for good lefse. He is from Stavanger, but we have been here for 20 years now…and still looking for good lefse. I’d like to surprise him for his birthday! Please let me know….I would be interested in 5 packages of 3.”Jean Ostvoll, Union Pier, MI
When I had received these requests from lefse lovers in far-flung places, I‘d decline because people don’t want to pay the overnight shipping needed for freshness. Or at least that is what I assumed. But Jean anticipated that and said she’d gladly pay. Okay then! We agreed on the details of getting the lefse to her, and the excitement of giving kicked in. A line came to mind from the Saint Francis Prayer: “For it is in giving that we receive.”
I made the lefse and overnighted it to Michigan. Here is Jean’s account:
For everyone trying to find that something special for the guy who has it all and wants nothing…..the answer is Gary’s handcrafted Lefse. My Norwegian husband (who is shy and wants to remain anonymous) misses home. I frequently buy Norwegian food items on line when I see them and think they might approximate the real deal. I rarely score. This year was the big 60 for him and I was getting desperate. Then I read about the Lefse King in The Norwegian American — a birthday gift from another year! I was so psyched — until I read to the bottom of Gary’s site where he says he doesn’t ship because of the high cost of overnight shipping — which I totally get. Undeterred and knowing our good friends would let me use their FedEx small business account — and associated discount — I negotiated a trial with Gary. He was game and grilled the lefse the morning of the shipment to ensure maximum freshness. The next morning they arrived, carefully packed, in perfect shape and cool. We just had a birthday lunch that was a HUGE success — lefse traditional style with butter and cinnamon sugar. And I’ve already had a request for more variations for “coffee and cake” time this afternoon, lol! My husband even went so far as to say they tasted (almost!) as good as his mother’s back in Stavanger — and he immediately emailed her pictures of them. It was a treat for him and a wonderful moment for us all as we watched him enjoy and reminisce about home. Thank you Gary — and the best money I ever spent on a present!!Jean Ostvoll
To Jean, I say it was my pleasure. And to anyone else in need of good lefse no matter where you are, click here to make it happen!