The Museum of Cultural History in Oslo takes you back hundred (sometimes thousands) of years back in Norwegian culture, architecture and the daily and rural way of living. The Open-Air Museum sets the scene for entertaining and educating activities all year. In my last post you saw Norwegian folk dance and our traditional costume Bunad. This time, still as my MIL was visiting, we’ll give you a nice treat; the famous Lefse. It’s a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread made out of potato, milk or cream and flour, and cooked on a griddle. Special tools are available for lefse baking, including long wooden turning sticks and special rolling pins with deep grooves. There are significant regional variations in the way lefse is made and eaten, but it generally resembles a tortilla, although in many parts of Norway, especially Valdres, it is far thinner. This woman in an old bakery house at the museum made it the Valdres way:
There are many ways of flavouring lefse. The most common is adding butter and sugar to the lefse and rolling it up. In Norwegian, this is known as “lefse-klining”. Other tasty ways to eat it include adding cinnamon, or spreading jelly or lingonberries upon it. We had strawberry jam on ours. It’s very popular among Norwegian emigrants too of course. Their variations include rolling it with a thin layer of peanut butter and sugar, with butter and sugar, with butter and corn syrup, or with ham and eggs. It’s also quite good with beef and other savory items. Click here if you like to a recipe and how to make it.
Of course you can also put lutefisk in. If you don’t know what the traditional Yule dish lutefisk is, read my post from last Christmas about it. I’ve even heard that in some parts of the United States (such as Minnesota), lefse is available in grocery stores, just like tortillas; one Minnesota tortilla factory makes a run of lefse once a month on its tortilla equipment.
In the museum one can wander from one part of the country to another and virtually experience Norway in a day! So while I’m at it, let me also give a glimpse of some old rural buildings. We are visiting Hallingdal, a valley and traditional district in Buskerud a bit more than an hour drive west of Oslo. The first one is a loft or a storehouse:
Most of you might think of a loft as an upper room in a building, directly under the roof, used either for storage or to sleep in. Here you have a whole storing house. Observe that it stands on pillars to prevent moisture and animal intruders. This loft is from the 1700s at Grimsgard farm in Nes.
Update: My blog friend Mar from Spain has posted about their similar storehouse. Check it out!
Then lets take a look into a farmhouse, also from Hallingdal build in 1750:
You can see the coffee pot hanging over the fireplace and in front a copper kettle for logs. Remember; no electricity and the houses where quite cold, so the charming atmosphere as we see it, might have felt a bit different 250 years ago. You might also see the bed on the left side in the picture and that it is quite short. People at that time slept more like sitting than laying down as they thought it prevented illnesses like pneumonia.
Still hungry for more from this museum? Well, you might check my posts: The Christmas Fair in December and Advent time in Norway. Here’s the link to the Museum (don’t panic at the language – there is an English translation!).