Getting ready for “Lefse Day”
Sisters collaborate on a children’s book about lefse, family, and tradition
CHRISTY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor
As the calendar transitions to fall, holiday baking and traditions are on my mind. What will lefse-making look like this year in the Norwegian-American community?
I found one sweet way to celebrate the tradition with the youngest generation of Norwegian Americans: Lefse Day, an illustrated book co-written by lefse-loving sisters Heidi Smith and Kari Throop.
I spoke by phone with Smith, the creative talent and graphic designer of Nordic Fox Design Co. in Fullerton, Calif., to learn more about the book.
She sells her modern Norwegian folk art-inspired prints, greeting cards, wrapping paper, candle sets, and more through her website, Nordicfoxdesignco.com and at Scandinavian festivals along the West Coast.
“My sister Kari and I grew up making lefse with my mom, and we were very proud of our Norwegian heritage. We grew up going to Sons of Norway and Daughters of Norway meetings, and there weren’t many kids our age… I’ve realized that a lot of kids don’t know much about their heritage,” said Smith.
“I heard from so many people, ‘Oh, I love lefse, but I don’t make it.’ This book honors the tradition, and encourages other people to make it,” she added.
The 28-page book features light and modern illustrations by Smith, and a sweet story about gathering the ingredients and people together to make the beloved Norwegian flatbread.
If your family doesn’t have a lefse recipe, Smith and Throop include their recipe at the back of the book.
Making lefse together is an important part of my own family’s Norwegian identity, so I ordered two copies: One for my young kids and one for my parents to keep at their house. When our copies arrived, my 6-year-old declared, “Ooh, lefse! My favorite!” It’s been in regular rotation during our reading time ever since.
Said Smith, “It’s a nice keepsake. One woman told me in tears, ‘This reminds me of my mom and my childhood.’ It captures that feeling of tradition that we grew up loving, and I wanted to be able to capture that.”
Time will tell if we will be able to gather together safely for lefse-making this year, but there is one thing I know for sure: There will be lefse.
Lefse Day (2017) by Heidi Smith and Kari Throop is a 28-page softcover book. You can purchase it through Smith’s website, Nordicfoxdesignco.com, or on Amazon.
This article originally appeared in the Sept. 18, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.