For Tom and Paula Ovre, making lefse is not just a family tradition—it is something to be shared with the community, as well.
The Ovres hosted an annual Norwegian lefse cooking class Thursday night at East Ridge High School, teaching participants the art of making the traditional flatbread.
“A lot of times, it was the parents who were cooking lefse, and after they died families weren't making it anymore,” Tom said. “We decided to keep the tradition alive.”
Tom and Paula have taught formal lefse cooking classes for the past seven years, but they have been making it for at least 35 years, Tom said.
For Diane Nelsestuen and daughter Kathryn Hallas, the class was a way to connect to their Norwegian heritage. Nelsestuen said her father, who used to live in the Philippines, married her Norwegian mother when he moved to the U.S.
With the Twin Cities’ large Scandinavian population, the lefse classes have been well received the past several years, Tom said.
“We’ve had a lot of responses so far,” he said.
The Ovres’ lefse class was part of a Community Education program.
Does your family make lefse? Do you have any tips or stories to share? Tell us in the comments section.