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The Spirit of Lefse: Roadside Stand

Taking lefse to the streets in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Lefse is viewed as a limited edition of tradition, served at dressy Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with tablecloths and candles. But every summer, which is typically the lefse off-season, there are signs of life and vitality in Lefse Land.

Here are four examples:

  • I’m about ready to leave a wonderful fundraiser a couple of weeks ago when I’m invited into a friendly family feud about lefse. Which is better, brown sugar or white sugar on lefse? Of course, neither is better; it’s all personal. That bit of diplomacy didn’t fly, especially when Jane, my wife, jumped in and played the trump card by mentioning that I am the Lefse King. So I was pressed and said I prefer white sugar and cinnamon, which was the choice of part of the family but not the other, more vocal, part. The conversation went round and round, which supports my thesis that lefse and lutefisk are social ignitors. Mention those words at any—any—gathering and a lively and entertaining conversation will follow. This conversation ended with me and Mr. Brown Sugar bumping fists and smiling.
  • Back in June, Kristin Enger Niemi in Fresno, California, emailed that she usually makes her own lefse but couldn’t because she needed a shoulder replacement. Her 13-year-old son, Kurt, who had been making lefse since age 7, asked Kristin to make lefse so he could take it to school the next Monday. There was a happy ending because I made 15 rounds and FedExed it overnight so it arrived in time and in Fresno fresh.
  • Earlier this month, Jessie Turner in Spring Hill, Florida, sent an email on a Monday marked urgent. Oh dear! She needed 6 rounds of lefse delivered by Friday “for the star of a birthday party.” She could not find anyone from that lefse-less outpost to help her out. Could I fill the order and FedEx? I did and received a nice text from Jessie saying, “You have no idea how special this is for us to have for our celebration.”
  • Larry Lafayette of Minneapolis, who sends enewsletter items from time to time, sent this video of a lefse stand in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota (see photo). In the video, you’ll see Kathy Johnson and her grandchildren taking lefse to the people. She says she hopes their efforts will help make sure the grand old tradition will be “passed down to generations to come.” Someone say Amen!

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