Monday, March 23, 2009

Eating in Minnesota and more....

Well we have now started studying about a new country each week so I decided I seriously better get busy about finishing my reporting on each of the states we studied. This post will be the final one on our own great state of MN. We are excited to start on countries but I have decided I won't be doing a post about each one of them. I will probably hit some of the exciting highlights though. We have a couple of international students that are eager to help us do some cooking (our friend Pei Lin loves cooking and baking and can easily help us learn about Malaysia but has been studying up on the foods from a lot of different countries and plans to help us out a lot0 as well as other friends from various countries.
Now on to Minnesota. If you come here some of the most notable foods you might hear about are Lutefisk and Lefse. Both come from the Scandinavians that settled here. Lefse is quite good and I did attempt to make it one morning for our breakfast (though I don't think I would ever win any Lefse making contests -which we do have in this area).

I made ours with whole wheat which is not really normal but is healthier. :-) Lefse is a flat bread quite similar to a tortilla but it has a lot of potato in it. We like it best with butter spread on it and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and then rolled up.
Here is how you can make them:
Boil 5 large, peeled potatoes. drain and mash them and add 1/3 cup cream, 3 T. butter and 1 t. salt. Beat until the mixture is fluffy. After that has cooled, add enough flour to be able to roll out thinly, like a pie crust or even thinner. Make walnut sized balls and roll them out to around 8-10 inches. You can then cook these using a heavy cast iron skillet or a grill. Oil it very lightly and then turn them quickly to prevent scorching.
Megan was enjoying her lefse. (And sorry, I'm afraid you can even see the bite in her mouth.)
And about the Lutefisk..... Sorry we didn't have any, I'm afraid it isn't our style. Actually I've only had it once and that was a long time ago but that was enough for me. I am really not that picky but Lutefisk is fish that has been treated with lye and it becomes this white gooey mass. It really isn't very attractive but many, many Minnesotans love it.
Minnesota's state muffin is the blueberry muffin. This recipe is my personal favorite.

Another yummy food to be found in Minnesota is Indian Fry bread. The one pictured above we got when attending a special community day at the University and some Natives had a booth where they were serving fry bread. (They were also dressed up and dancing some which is where the picture from the top of the post comes from.) Fry Bread is basically bread dough that has been pulled into a circle and has a hole punched in the middle and you deep fat fry it. Then it can have honey or powdered sugar put on it. It is very yummy even if not very healthy.

At that event we also got caramel apples which were appropriate for our studying of MN as the specialty at our MN State fair is all sorts of food on a stick.



Another main staple for Minnesotans is "hotdish". This is our term for casserole and you can make it pretty much however you want. Wild Rice hotdish is even more Minnesotan as wild rice is harvested around here. Here are some recipes using wild rice. Wild Rice soup is very yummy too.
While we were studying Minnesota we also enjoyed Indian Tacos (taco fixings on top of fry bread, yummy!) and MN grown corn on the cob. That sure looks good to me now!
Another night we enjoyed Swedish Meatballs with corn. They are what is also served at the Lutefisk suppers for those that don't like Lutefisk. Here is a recipe.

Now if you would really like to learn about MN I would recommend this book: "How to talk Minnesotan" by Howard Mohr. It is quite humorous but for those of us that live here or know people from here we can see the reality in it as well. There are some things I see in me like saying "that's a good deal", "that's not a bad deal" and so on and so forth. There are some things I notice in a group of us like being quite unemotional and stoic during performances or sermons. It is hard for a preached from the south to come to a state like MN where they get pretty much no visible reaction from the audience. I also laugh at some things I see in others that are typically Minnesotan (probably actually Scandinavian) like not looking someone in the eye when visiting with them (you know you both kind of stare straight ahead while standing side by side to do your visiting) and remembering an older lady that we worked for always asking us if we wanted "a little lunch" (meaning a mid day snack).
One of the big crops grown in Northern, MN is sunflowers. Mn also grows and processes a lot of wheat.
Any foods from MN that you love? Or any funny stories about MN characteristics? I always love to hear from all of you!

2 comments:

HappyHermit said...

I really enjoy this post. I LOVE learning new things. I do deeply appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Abbi!
Love your blog as always! What a neat deal to have a fire ring outside! I'm sure that your kids don't know just how blessed they are to have you as a mom. I'm blessed to be their "Nana," too!
Looking forward to our visit.

Love, Sharyl
June 15, 2009

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