PEQUOT LAKES -- It was only 8 a.m., but already the kitchen was buzzing with activity at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes.
The rounded grills scattered about the countertops were already heating up the large kitchen. They were ready and waiting for the 20 or so women who gathered three mornings last week for one sole purpose: To make lefse.
Last week the women in the church made about 1,800 pieces of lefse, a Norwegian delicacy made of potatoes that will be served during the church's annual lutefisk and meatball supper, which starts at 3 p.m. Saturday. About 700 to 800 visitors usually file in each year to the church for the traditional lutefisk supper with all the trimmings. Sometimes people are turned away at the door because there isn't enough lutefisk to go around.
Lefse is an important part of the lutefisk supper. And making lefse isn't easy.
"It's a delicate operation," said Cece Granos, Pequot Lakes. "All these people have been doing this a long time. It doesn't take long, you just have to flip them."
Lefse makers use specially designed, rounded grills to make lefse, which looks like thin tortillas. Then they use lefse sticks to "flip" the thinly rolled lefse. This can be tricky in itself, because the dough is so thin and tears easily when handled.
Joyce Hanson was in charge of three grills last week, flipping a different piece of lefse nearly every minute. Donna Plautz rolled the dough into flat, round pieces for her.
"You just kind of get the feel of it," Plautz said. "You roll until you can't roll anymore."
Lavonne Clink, a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes, packaged pieces of lefse into plastic bags that were then frozen and stored for the church's upcoming lutefisk and meatball supper.
The women in the church make lefse twice a year, once for the church bazaar in July and again for the lutefisk supper, which has been going on for more than 50 years.
Helen Heifner, who is a lefse roller, said she moved to Florida last October. But she and her husband return to Pequot Lakes every September so she can be back to roll the lefse and attend the lutefisk supper.
"It's fun to be with all the women," said Heifner. "We talk and visit, and we're doing it for the benefit of the church, which makes it special."
"We eat our rejects," said Plautz with a smile.
"Ours is the messy part," said Mary Lundin, who was rolling the dough. "It's like playing with Play-Doh."
Lundin said she'd been a lefse volunteer for 13 years.
"I love lefse for one thing," said Lundin, when asked why she volunteered each year. "And it's so much fun to be with this group. We just chat and soon it's all over with."
Lundin conceded that although she enjoys lefse, she can't stand lutefisk.
Tickets for the annual lutefisk and meatball supper will be sold at the door only and dinner is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $11 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-12 and free for children 4 and younger.
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