I was wrong about the Lefsa recipe. It wasn’t Mabel’s recipe I was thinking of, it was Hilda’s. It’s an easy mistake to make, really, the sisters lived one floor apart in Weyburn Saskatchewan for much of my adult life. Visiting my grandma during those years always included Mabel, and for a while with Aunt Gertie too. There always seemed to be late nights (due to time zones and travel), lots of visiting and catching up about people who I remembered and people I didn’t, cards or some other game, and there was always great food, like my grandmother’s fantastic doughnuts.
Even though Hilda was my Grandma, and where you would think most of heirloom recipes from that part of the faimily tree would be from; Mabel worked as a camp cook for years and is the author of many of the beloved recipes that have been in my collection since childhood.
Hilda is my Grandma Anderson, my mother’s mother. My daughters call her Grandma Grandma. Mabel was her sister, Mabel Berg, my mother’s Aunt, my Great Aunt, and my daughter’s Great Great Aunt. My daughters used to say she was so great they had to say it twice.
My memories of lefsa are tied closely to family. It seems to me that it was served every time that there was a big gathering of my mom’s family in Saskatchewan, but it my have only been served at the big holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, which is how we did it in our house. No matter when it was served there always seemed to be big piles of lefsa being buttered in the kitchen and nested in platters of baking or buns. That is one of the great things about lefsa and the big holidays – it can be served with the breads during the main course and also with the deserts.
These days, when I find the time to make lefsa, which I did this Christmas for the first time in many years, it didn’t seem to yield mountains, even though there are 8 cups of potatoes in the recipe. Maybe it has to do with how much is eaten hot off the griddle for quality control purposes.
It’s probably also due to the nature of the large family gatherings I remember from when I was a girl. Making lefsa is a time consuming process, the aunts probably all worked together on multiple batches for the events that I was at, gathered together in the kitchen, catching up as they mashed and mixed and fried while we played with our cousins under the wide prairie sky in the afternoons. Or maybe it was made in the evenings when we were tucked into sleeping bags with our siblings and cousins in strange bedrooms, talking late into the night but probably not as late as our parents who were visiting upstairs in the kitchen.
Here is Hilda’s Lefsa Recipe I just added it to the app on my iPad where I am slowly transferring the recipies out of the battered blue binder I started keeping my recipes in when I was in high school.