Lefse. Krumkake. Sandbakkles. Rosettes.
That sounds like Christmas to me.
Why is it that we only bring out our ethnic desserts during the winter holidays? Is it something warm and cozy to heat us up during the cold nights? Is it bringing the memories of our relatives and holidays of long ago? Or is it a great reason to sneak a dessert or two?
When having Christmas dinner at my Norwegian-American grandmother’s house, she would make her cookies that Grandma only had the magic touch to make just right. In her later years, she began buying lefse from the store. I only knew that it was a flavorless Norwegian dessert that you spread butter on topped with cinnamon. But it was a nod to my ancestors and that made it special to me.
But why didn’t she make it? Why didn’t she teach me to make it?
Little did I know that when I was hunting for my next church home that I would learn the secrets behind making lefse and other Norwegian desserts.
While searching for my next church, I browsed webpages, looked for some unique identity, and the warmth that would bring me closer to God.
In our community, we have two ELCA churches: Bristol and the other church, which turns out to be an offshoot of our congregation. But something about Bristol’s community was unique and capturing: the Norwegian Bake Sale.
Bristol Lutheran Church has Norwegian ties going back to its first Sunday as an organized congregation. The church held services in Norwegian until the 1940s before switching to only English.
Although we are an evolving church, an evolving society, and a renewing mindset, we still have Norwegian culture surrounding us in our building. We have signs with rosemaling, potato mashers with intricate handpainted flowers and designs (okay, more rosemaling), and we have Norwegian Bibles on display in our glass cabinets.
The Bristol Lutheran Church Women’s group continues to breathe life into the Norwegian traditions. These women taught me what it takes to make these different delicacies and proved that homemade lefse tastes better than store bought. They introduced me to new desserts that I had never knew of but fell in love with (Mandelkake, the creamy almond cake, is utterly amazing). And most importantly, the women who taught me how to make these just right were doing it out of love to pass on the church’s traditions and through serving others.
Each dessert’s proceeds goes to a different charity in our community. It is a way to give back to the community and to help others by selling the products of our hands, our traditions, and our good will. Many people will benefit from our skills and food.
This will be my second year being able to help give back to the community. I originally signed up to help because I was going to learn the traditions of my Norwegian ancestors and for fellowship> They gave me a gift of family tradition that my grandma didn’t give. However, it quickly became evident that it is much bigger than that: it is another way to help God’s people.
Baking starts Labor Day and goes through the first week of October.
Sign-Ups are in the fellowship area.
The sale is on Saturday October 7th!