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.
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.
Call to order and arrange Curbside Pick Up!