Friday, July 24, 2009

Velkommen to the Fest!


This weekend through Wednesday, we will be vacationing in scenic Northeast Iowa, and attending the world famous Nordic Fest! This is the wholesome family celebration in Decorah, Iowa not that frightening white power gathering. Enough said about that! And stop that ironic laughter.

I've attended every single Nordic - or as the locals refer to it "Nordic Mess" - since it's beginning in 1967. Granted, we lived there so it wasn't a huge effort. Our family has not one single drop of Norwegian blood in us, but you just learned to assimilate all that cream, butter, and Lutheran righteousness. We learned to make krumkake, sandbakkels, rommegrot, and kringle, wore bunads, and sang the Norwegian National Anthem (Ja Vi Elsker) just so they wouldn't rat us out to the Norwegian Mafia in town - La Cosa Uff Da.
Then again, the worst that group would do is give us a stern glance and a meaningful "well . . . . . I don't know . . . "

At Nordicle Festicles, you'll find all kinds of treats:

This is lefse - flat potato heaven. It's a potato dough rolled impossibly thin, then rolled up on a special lefse stick and unrolled onto a large flat hot surface. When it's done, you spread it with butter and sugar and stuff your face. OR at Nordic Fest you roll it around specially made Norwegian sausage, call it Varme Polse and repeat the stuffing your face sequence. Don't even walk away from the Varme Polse booth. Just get in the back of the line because you're going to want more.

In our neck of the northwoods, people with fair skin and lots of moles were said to have "Lefse Legs".

This is rommegrot. It has those groovy Scandinavian slashes through the "O's" but I don't know how to do that here. It's basically flour, cream, butter and sugar cooked together like pudding. THEN it's topped with melted butter, cinnamon, and more sugar. Yeah, it's straight up a heart attack but you'll die happy and warm. I'll post the recipe soon.

This lovely Norwegian woman in a birch coat means nothing, except that she popped up in a image search of "Decorah, Iowa"

After you load up all that fat and butter, you can go street dancing! There's always some great Old Time Music band and you can polka/schottische/waltz your little behind off. Of course it's usually about 85 degrees and 500% humidity during the Fest, so you'll be barfing up all that Nordic food in no time!!

This is Norwegian folk art known as Rosemaling. It's exceedingly intricate hand painting done by all the best white haired ladies in small Central Midwestern towns. You gotta watch those Norwegians though - they'll fricken rosemal anything not nailed down. Actually they rosemal things nailed down too. I'm surprised they haven't opened a rosemaling tatoo shop in Decorah (HEY! Maybe I'm on to something!).
If you get married in Decorah, get ready for lots of rosemaled wedding gifts. And don't go look at the rosemaling exhibits AFTER you've eaten all the treats uptown. You'll become dizzy and disoriented and end up hurling on Inge's or Tova's bunad, and then her husband Torvald or Einar will have to clean it up. They won't be happy about it but they won't say so. They'll just nod and say "Oh, that's OK, I don't mind". But they'll be seething with Scandinavian indignation.

We always liked the actual Scandinavian tourists who come in groups for the Fest. The locals used the more gracious term "Scandihoovians" which we shortened to "Hoovians" for brevity's sake. The Hoovians could be spotted a mile away with their sensible shoes, walking sticks, and socks with sandals. Every white haired Iowa Lutheran lady was shocked at their armpit and leg hair. And don't they use deodorant in Norway? But I'm tellin ya, those folks were a hoot in the beer tent!

So I hope to see you all there! I'll be in line at the Varme Polse booth or singing along with the Luren Singers or taking a break from all the Hoovian madness on my brother or sister's decks.

SKOL !!!!!


MommyLisa said...

Ja vi elsker dette landet...som lei stig i fred.

Who is fred anyway?


Get a varme polsa for me and send some lefse. Snart!

LoieJ said...

Funny thing is that I have Norwegian and Swedish "blood" but didn't get a drop of the culture from my dad, so the only Scandinavian Culture I received was by osmosis from attending Luther College. I haven't gone to the Fest yet, but I was there one summer the week before the festivities. Maybe some day.

themom said...

I think I'm going to have another heart attack just looking at all the delicious pictures.

Coaster Punchman said...

Mindy and talked about going this year - damn! I loves me some rommegrot although this isn't really the season for it, is it? The real Norwegians eat it with a side of thick bacon, hmmmm.......

Anonymous said...

You white folks sure know how to party.

Churlita said...

It sounds so great. I've never been to Decorah or to a Nordic Fest. My daughter was looking at going to school at Luther so that all might change...

Shannon said...

As a nearly full-blooded Norwegian, can I just say, I am proud of you!

Life As I Know It Now said...

hmmm, my kind of people ;~))

Anonymous said...

The real Norwegians eat it with a side of thick bacon
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Dagny said...

Rømmegrøt - I'm just spelling Rømmegrøt with those groovy Scandinavian slashes. A very tasty dish indeed and no one makes it better than those Norwegian-Lutherans from Decorah!

taralynn819 said...

I have got to bookmark your blog. My family has gone to the Nordic Fest since I was a baby!! I remember my uncle once got to dance with the Nordic dancers. SO fun.