Once again this year, Momma and I kicked off the winter season at our home with the annual Crystal Lake Loons (& Lina) Lefse Fest. At its inception, the Fest was nothing more than an attempt to crank out a batch of pretty good lefse. Now it has gotten a little out of paw and has become quite the “doing.” (For those of you humans not from northern Minnesota, and therefore not in the know, a “doing” is another way of saying party or event, but without sounding so fancy!)
The first Lefse Fest was in 2011. Having baked lefse a few times with her own momma, Vi, Momma knew that it was as difficult as an Olympic event. In fact, it reminded her of one.
First, the participants must have just the right equipment – the griddle, the rolling pin, the pastry board and cloth, the lefse stick, the cooling towels and the potato ricer for starters. Then the lefse maker must prepare. This involves reading the instructions (many times), studying the pictures (and maybe even watching a YouTube video or two), buying the ingredients and prepping the dough.
Then there’s the actual making of the lefse itself – a herculean task that requires all the grace and timing of a champion figure skater. And just like any other Olympic sport – to get “good at it,” requires years of practice.
The dough must have the perfect consistency (and be formed into balls, a little larger than golf ball size the recipe instructs), the grill heated to the exact right temperature, the pastry cloth sprinkled with just the right amount of flour, the rolling pin covered by its own special little sleeve to prevent sticking, the griddle frequently dusted off (kind of like sweeping the ice in the curling event), and finally the large circle of paper-thin lefse lifted delicately off the griddle with a narrow stick and place on a cloth to cool. I have only one thing to woof – only a human being would be stupid enough to try this.
So, anyway, back to the Lefse Fest, where all the fun takes place. That first day, it was just Momma and her stepdaughter, Talla. Oh, and Momma’s Brittany Spaniel, Ben. Like me, Ben was excited about the lefse making, what with the delicious smells and scraps that fall to the floor and all. Here’s Ben, by the way. Wasn’t he handsome? And he was no dummy either as you will soon find out.
Momma and Talla had studied and shopped and prepped (under Ben’s watchful eye) and were finally ready to rock and “roll.” And after many grueling hours of trial and error, they finally got the hang of it. In fact, they ended up with a pretty good batch – maybe even podium worthy, Momma thought! Satisfied, they left the lefse cooling on the kitchen counter while they went upstairs to relax and look at some old photos.
The only itsy-bitsy problem was that Ben (wisely) stayed in the kitchen, and when the humans came back, he had dragged almost all of the lefse off the counter with his paws and eaten it. You talk about your woofdas!!! Momma was literally sick – days of working like a dog (ahem!) all for nothing. In fact, she almost cried. To this day, she says she can still remember the glazed look in Ben’s eyes and the saliva running down his chin as he licked his chops. To this day, I say, “Score!”
*Okay, editors note here – I might not be perfect, but I have never done that (I can’t reach the counter, but that’s beside the point). Anyway, you would think that Momma would appreciate me a little more, wouldn’t you?
So that was the ignominious beginning of the Fest. Amazingly, it nevertheless survived. In fact, the group soon expanded to include Talla’s sister, Tammy, and their daughters, Hannah and Tarra (not pictured). It also soon expanded to include champagne. And most importantly, it expanded to include me! Here is a picture of all of us this year – including me with my “trapper hat.” Cute, right?
The ladies have become so confident about the lefse making these days, that is has become almost an afterthought (especially after the champagne). Now they usually incorporate a photo into the festivities for posting on Facebook so all their friends can see how talented they are and how much fun they’re having, like last year’s SKOL, seen here,
or do a video like this year’s “The Lefse Song.” #soembarrassing! (You can find and like it on Facebook. I refuse to put it on my Blog.)
And next year they are planning on making a “movie” of the Fest. Really. With a director and staging and a plot and characters and everything. In the meantime, here are some pics from behind the scenes, including outtakes that will never make the cut!
Stay tuned for next year’s Fest post. I am thinking of calling it “As The Rolling Pin Turns.”
Lina, Chief Lefse Taste Tester
WOOFDA! YOU BETCHA!