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Find a little Norwegian comfort at Trinity bazaar in Freeland

Peggy Swart, Barb Enberg and Steve Swap create lefse, a soft and sweet flatbread from Norway. The flatbread will be featured at Trinity Lutheran Church’s holiday bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 2 in Freeland.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Peggy Swart, Barb Enberg and Steve Swap create lefse, a soft and sweet flatbread from Norway. The flatbread will be featured at Trinity Lutheran Church’s holiday bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 2 in Freeland.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

A streamlined operation unfolded in the Trinity Lutheran Church kitchen earlier this month.

A dozen hands rolled, fried and packaged a fluffy, soft, sweet flatbread from Norway called lefse. It’s a remnant of the old world in Scandinavia and a favorite of Whidbey Islanders at the Trinity Lutheran Church annual holiday bazaar Saturday, Nov. 2 in Freeland.

Ten volunteers were busy toiling away for a couple of hours preparing lefse. As the workers flattened and fried, they discussed the important differences in the spelling of last names like Anderson vs. Andersen and Scandinavian ancestry.

Lefse for many of the church’s volunteer cooks is as filled with nostalgia as it is with butter and brown sugar.

“People just seem to like it,” said Lorean Carter.

Judging by the history of lefse sales at the bazaar, there are lots of Norwegians on Whidbey Island devouring the flatbread. Carter estimated bringing in about $600 from lefse, which goes toward the church’s giving fund for Helping Hand, Good Cheer Food Bank, Ryan’s House for Youth, the discretionary fund for the church’s pastors and its preschool.

“Every piece will be sold and people will be begging for more,” said Sandra Iversen.

Making lefse is an annual tradition for the Freeland church, and one of the top grossers at the bazaar. For $5, someone can leave with a packet of four lefse. Carter estimated they made more than 500 pieces of lefse over four cooking days in October. Any scraps or overcooked pieces were thrown into a pile with some melted butter and brown sugar for the volunteers to dispose of.

“All lefse is good, burned lefse just isn’t as good,” Iversen said.

 

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