Thursday, November 27, 2008

Shakespeare and Lefse

© 2008 Karen Van Fossan

You may not have noticed this, but the stuff that Shakespeare and I have in common is uncanny.

A quick review:

William Shakespeare and I both...
A) Have ancestors who were lured to North Dakota in the 1870s (or so) by promises of its Norway-like mountains.
B) Have an age-old family tradition of making lefse with our Norwegian ancestors here in North Dakota.
C) Grew up knowing what "lefse" was, that it existed, and that it's pronounced, LEFF-suh.
D) None of the above.

(See what I mean?)

Much like William Shakespeare, I spent years and years of my life completely ignorant of lefse.

What I didn't know was:
A) Lefse is a flat bread, much like a tortilla.
B) Unlike tortillas, lefse is made with potatoes.
C) Also unlike tortillas, lefse came to America from Norway.
D) All of the above.

So, while preparing for the lefse extravaganza at Julie's, naturally I had some questions:

Q: Do we really have to peel this mountain of potatoes?
A: Yes.
Q: Is it fun to put potatoes in a great, big, giant garlic press (AKA "ricer") and squeeze them out like spaghetti?
A: Yes.
Q: Are there lefse-making songs?
A: No.

I didn't tell Julie this, but as far as I'm concerned, lefse cries out for lefse-making songs. Something familiar, something popular, something everyone can sing. Here's what I have so far:

A) Bridge Over Troubled Lefse.
B) I've Been Working on the Lefse.
C) From This Lefse They Say You Are Going.
D) Star-Spangled Lefse.
E) I Wanna Hold Your Lefse.

And my personal favorite:
F) Girls Just Wanna Have Lefse.

Anyway, back to Julie's. For some reason, in spite of William Shakespeare's total ignorance of lefse, we decided to watch Shakespeare at the lefse extravaganza. Before long, after boiling, peeling, ricing, chilling, flattening, cooking, flipping, and storing lefse -- William Shakespeare's words got kind of jumbled with the potatoes. Even William Shakespeare was all about lefse.

Shakespeare's most famous quote:
"All the world's a lefse."

Shakespeare's most famous play:
Romeo and Lefse.

Shakespeare's most famous character:
Lady MacLefse.

All in all, after toiling in the kitchen with my lefse-making friends, even though I didn't learn a whole lot of Shakespeare, I did learn a little something:

Potatoes get peeled faster with many hands.

Happy Lefse!


JGH said...

I love it! William would have had so much fun with us making lefsa. Although...he might have talked a lot!

blogslut said...

"What a piece of work is a lefse--"
W. Shakespeare

Thought I'd share that one...found it in an old anthology...

Toni B said...

For Nirvana fans -

Smells Like Teen Lefse