One of my favorite things about being from the Midwest is the history of our Prairie’s past and the traditions that follow it. The Red River Valley is chock-full of Norwegians young and old. The Sons of Norway – Kringen Lodge #25 boost a hearty membership. It is also one of the best spots in town to get authentic Norwegian dishes like Lutefisk, Klubb or Lapskaus. Every Thursday is Pie Day and I promise you it will be some of the best pie you will ever have.
Like most, the holiday season is when many family traditions come to life and in typical Midwestern fashion; they almost always seem to be related to food. The ones that first come to mine are Lefse, Rommegrot, Rosettes, Krumkake and Lutefisk. It’s exciting to see young adults take on the traditions of making these dishes just as their grandmothers and mothers did in the past, even Lutefisk. It’s not uncommon to find a Krumkake iron or Lefse griddle for sale at hardware stores or department stores. An item I hope to soon purchase so I too can master the skill of Lefse making.
- Lutefisk – Photo credit: www.wbez.org
The history of lutefisk dates back to the Vikings. On one occasion, according to one legend, plundering Vikings burned down a fishing village, including the wooden racks with drying cod. the returning villagers poured water on the racks to put out the fire. Ashes covered the dried fish, and then it rained. the fish buried in the ashes in the ashes thus became soaked in a lye slush. Later the villagers were surprised to see that the dried fish had changed to what looked like fresh fish. They rinsed the fish in water to remove the lye and make it edible, and then boiled it. The story is that one particularly brave villager tasted the fish and declared it “not bad.”
One holiday event that keeps these traditions alive in Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo is Christmas on the Prairie at Bonanzaville. This all day event offers carolers, sleigh rides, a silent auction full of locally made goods, desserts (where I’m sure you can find a delicious bar or two), pictures with Santa, hand-made crafts and lefse demonstrations. There will also be home-made Rommegrot by yours truly. It’s a great event for all ages. The kids will love it for the crafts, Santa and the popular cookie decorating station. The adults will enjoy the nostalgic feelings brought on by traditional dishes, carolers and the pioneer village that is now home to many old buildings from surrounding small town communities.
If you are from the Midwest or grew up here, what are some of you favorite holiday traditions? We would love to hear them!
North Dakota Tourism has 6 unique ways to take in the Holidays throughout the state. Click here