From Rommegrott, Lutefisk, Lefse Recipes to Ryōkan the Hermit = Mind Traveling

I found this recipe in one of the church cookbooks that I collected long ago and far away. As a laugh, I sent this to my friend Alan, who has some Norwegian ancestry and called me to rave about how his mother made Rommegrott and how they loved it. Another person of Swedish descent turned me on to Lefse, made from potatoes. It’s like a soft potato tortilla only thinner. Slather with butter and eat. It’s harder to find them these days. Lutefisk, well that’s another story… a dried fish, pickled in lye and reconstituted into a gelatinous consistency…er, ah, I have only heard about this dish over the years. Most peoples’ description is accompanied by a hesitancy and a slight grimace, which sums up how they feel about that particular tradition. ‘Nough said.

Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan translated by John Stevens.  It’s published by Shambhala. 

Click on the image to expand the view
Winter Benches 11-13-2010 CKatt

Winter Benches is a color photograph without any manipulations of the image. It was taken in Washburn Fair Oaks Park, where I have made many photos.

My mind is traveling while I am not able to do so. It’s January 2021 and I was retracing my travel adventures one afternoon last week – cleaning up to throw out all the related paper I had for my trips. I attempted a chronology back to 2011. Then turning to my online calendar I realized my trips were all recorded there. LOL. I threw out the papers.

From Norway to Japan I traveled through food and poetry and back again to Minneapolis. Where today it is snowing and raining on and off. Climate change has brought us rain in January for about the last four years.

On Solstice, December 21, 2020, which seems so long ago, I attended a zoom meeting with a small study group that I attend on Zen Buddhism, when I heard this poem recited that is printed above, it was very moving. Any errors are mine.

This past week, in our discussion group based in the book “The Zen Teaching of the Homeless Kodo” we looked at Chapter 42, ‘Only When We Practice’. The book is the teachings of Sawaki Roshi, with commentaries by Kosho Uchiyama, and Shohaku Okumura .

Shohaku Okumura wrote in the end of the chapter: “Reading about zazen [meditation] is the same – like counting other people’s money or studying recipes without cooking or tasting. Even if a medicine has hundreds of benefits, reading about them won’t cure us.”

In these unsettled times, my reading has gone down to a trickle almost. As I have heard, people are looking closer at how they live and what they eat. Perhaps I am doing more cooking and tasting of life with a new vision of looking beyond the swirling turmoil.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen.

Have a good day wherever you might be.



P.S. The friend, who taught me about Lefse, sent this note today:

“I read your blog. My grandmother made Lefse, my sisters too.
I buy it whenever I can. Of course the Norwegian-American way to make it was with dried potato flakes and lard!
My grandmother must’ve made the old fashion way.

My grandmother also served Lutefisk, but I never ate it. We bought some about 20 years ago, tried it, disgusting! We put it out for our cats to eat. One of them smelled it very suspiciously then peed on it.

There must be Norwegian markets there in Minneapolis that have it.”

Ingebretsens in Minneapolis sells Scandinavian foods – Lefse – and gifts. It’s a very nice store.

We’re Open In-Store and for Curbside Pickup on East Lake Street
9 – 4   Mon – Sat

Call to order and arrange Curbside Pick Up!    

Butcher Shop 612 729 9331      Gift Shop  612 729 9333

1601 East Lake Street, Minneapolis  MN 55407

Email: | Local Calls: 612-729-9333 | Meats Direct: 612-729-9331 | Toll Free: 800-279-9333

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
This entry was posted in Art Work, environment, Food Humor, health, photography, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to From Rommegrott, Lutefisk, Lefse Recipes to Ryōkan the Hermit = Mind Traveling

  1. Rømme grot and nutmeg with sugar on top. OMG 😛

  2. mydangblog says:

    Potato pancakes–sounds delicious. Love the photo of the benches, especially being able to admire them without getting cold!

  3. Forestwood says:

    Having Rommegrot in Norway made traditionally is really so delicious. Not overly sweet but hearty. I have not seen a recipe for it so was surprised at how simple the ingredient list was.

  4. leggypeggy says:

    Happy New Year. Love the Winter Benches photo. The recipes are interesting.

    • kunstkitchen says:

      Happy New Year to you too. Many Scandinavians migrated to Minnesota in the 1800s. The terrain and weather have many similar features. The rommegrott is a Christmas tradition.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.