For as long as I can remember, my grandmother made Lefse for Christmas every year. It's a thin Norwegian potato bread that you cover with butter and sugar and roll up to eat. It was one of my favorites as a child (and as an adult). My grandmother passed away several years ago, and with her so did the frequency of lefse. Just one of the many things I missed about her.
A few years ago, my grandmother's sister and her daughter taught my sister how to make it. Since I was going to be spending Christmas with sister Molly and my grandmother's sister this year, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to learn myself.
Molly did most of the preparation work and did the first few pieces to show me the ropes and then she let me go at it! We rolled the dough as thin as we could, but often it just wouldn't hold together as we moved it from the board to the griddle. As Molly said the other day, "We had a lot of casualties."
It might not have looked as presentable as grandma's always did, but the taste and feeling of comfort from the past were too good to pass up.
I can picture my grandma working over the hot griddle for hours as she prepared batch after batch for her large family Christmas gathering. (Could she ever make too much?) I wonder if she had casualties like we did and how much practice she had in order to make them so perfect each time.
I wonder if she learned along with her sisters from her mother and what those lefse making sessions looked like with five girls gathered in the kitchen. I think all of them continued the tradition with their own families.
I wonder what tricks she learned as she went and what tips she would offer if she were the one giving us the lesson? I think if I could, I'd ask her to invite me over next time she was going to make them, just so I could learn by watching a pro. That would have been special.
It was somehow special for me to make them with my sister this year too. Something she "passed down" to me from grandma's generation. Somehow feeling that with her and I knowing (my other relatives also know now too), this tradition won't have to fade away.