Scandinavian Treasure

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.

When we moved my mom from one assisted living place to her current one exactly two years ago this week, Husband and I were the sorters, packers, and movers. I remember putting three special items from her kitchen in a small box and labeling it because this was important stuff: her recipe box and dad’s, and the Bergen Lutheran Church Cookbook. Somehow in the shuffle of the next few weeks, the box got lost. I’ve been pining for, particularly, the Cookbook ever since.

But today I FOUND THE BOX. It was tucked in a corner of the laundry area. Happily, everything is there intact – the Lefse recipe, my dad’s Kumla and other Norwegian recipes, the Peanut Brittle he would make at Christmas… Mom’s Perfection Salad and Chicken Fricassee. The cream sauce for the Fish Balls. And most important, the Bergan Church Cookbook, from 1963. Here’s a sample:


I see from the index there are 32 pages of Cookies; 28 pages of Cakes and Icings; 30 of Desserts, Pastry and Pies; 10 of Meat Dishes; 2 of vegetables, 18 of Breads, and 14 of “Salads”, exemplified here:

Salads, so to speak

They just don’t make cookbooks like this anymore. Where else can you find a recipe for Zweiback Pudding?

Sometimes there isn’t even a recipe, just the list of ingredients. See “Fruit Salad” on page 44:

1 no. 2 can chunk pineapple

1 c. white grapes (cut in two and remove seeds)

1 bag marshmallows

But it contains my grandma’s (Mrs. Arthur Britson’s) recipe for Sour Cream Cookies, and Aunt Clara’s (Mrs. J.E. Britson’s) Delicious Dessert. It’s full of names like Mrs. Ed Sandvold, Mrs. Nels Torgeson, lots of Anderson and Arneson, Knudtson, Larsen. All of these women are gone by now, but this book is one way their names will be remembered.

So, just in time for the Holidays, I have all my resources at my fingertips.

What’s your most cherished cookbook or recipe?

83 thoughts on “Scandinavian Treasure”

  1. Secure one can opener.
    Open one can of baked beans
    Empty contents into appropriately sized pot
    Heat slowly
    Toast two slices of white bread to desired brownness (never blackened)
    Butter toast
    Arrange toast on a clean plate
    Ladle warmed beans over toast
    Eat while walking to the kitchen table
    Complete eating while reading daily paper

    Liked by 6 people

  2. I have several church and church-style cookbooks including ones from my childhood with my mother’s recipes in them. I even drew animals for the meat section of the Carlton County Fair’s Centennial Cookbook. But my most treasured recipes come from a cookbook Duncan Hines put out for the Ford Motor Company in the 50s. I discovered cheese blintzes and potato pancakes in that one. I still make the cheese blintzes at least once a week. And although I have several shelves of cookbooks and cooking magazines, I seem to make up my own at this age…as quick and simple as possible, thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a recipe for rosemary focaccia that I make frequently. When I make it for family, though, I have to split the dough in two and put the rosemary in one half and leave the other plain. My B-i-L loves rosemary; my niece the younger rejects it.

    The oldest recipes I use are for sweets – spritz cookies, chocolate crinkles, and brownies. Better Homes and Gardens is my most stained and tattered cookbook.


  4. When I was teaching myself to cook there were two cookbooks I came to love. One was a book about soup and bread. The author had the astonishing name of Crescent Dragonwagon (I just now read that she chose that name in her hippie youth). Even better was the New York Cookbook by Molly O’Neill. It was filled with good recipes that became staples for me. I think I gave that to Linda.

    No cookbooks made the trip to Oregon. The only cookbook I consult now is the one living on my computer. Every dish I ever cooked went on my hard drive, plus many hundred recipes that looked good to me but I didn’t get around to trying them. Why type out recipes? My notion was that I would continually modify them, which is easy if they are on a hard drive. And I can print them out in large type and not have to worry about splattering them with tomato sauce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have fantasies of doing something like that – have at my fingertips the relatively few recipes I actually USE, instead or tons of shelf space devoted to stuff that will never get made. I suppose I should start typing, but it won’t be any time soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had so many cookbooks and recipes, BiR, that I realized (in a rare flash of brilliance) that even if I tried a new recipe every day for the rest of my life that I would not get to the end of the recipes even if I lived 50 more years. I’ve culled and organized a couple times now and it’s a relief to not have all that stuff sitting there unused. I got to a certain level of organization and have left it like that (almost finished). More organized than it was, but not perfect.


    2. I used to work with a woman who went to high school with Crescent Dragonwagon (before she adopted that name). I wish I could remember details of her stories, but suffice it to say that Crescent Dragonwagon in her youth was quite the wild child and unlikely to produce a well-regarded volume of recipes.


  5. Good morning. A special treat at our house is scalloped potatoes from a recipe in Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook:

    Use 6 thinly sliced potatoes. Layer the potatoes in a greased pan. Between layers sprinkle a tbsp. of flour, dot with butter, and add some some salt and pepper. When 3 layer are completed add milk to barely cover the layers and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hr.


  6. I have too many favorite cookbooks. Because I like ethnic foods, I have a lot of cookbooks that deal with foods from specific countries or regions, and it’s hard to pick just one.

    I especially enjoy cookbooks that contain recipes submitted by people I know. The West Side cookbook, and the Danish American cookbook, are two such books.

    In the case of the Danish American cookbook, you can tell which recipes are submitted by really good cooks. They contain minimal instructions, and assume you know the basics. Some of those recipes would be hard to follow for a novice cook, or someone who doesn’t already know something about a particular dish. That’s a common problem for cookbooks written by experienced cooks who are not professional writers. I sometimes find myself at a loss when I’m cooking, say, Hmong or other ethnic food that I don’t have intimate knowledge of. When the first Hmong growers showed up at the Farmer’s Market they introduced me to many items I had no idea what to do with. Back then they spoke very little English and could give only the vaguest suggestions as to their use; almost anything could be used for chicken soup it seemed. Now that their children have good command of the language I find that many of them don’t know how to cook.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PJ, I love æbleskivers…have heard a couple different pronunciations..I bet you know the proper Danish pronouncing. Please share. (I first had them as a child, my friend’s father was Danish and her mother made them often.) I had a fabulous recipe for them that I haven’t found again for years…:-(

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Here’s a link to a recipe for æbleskiver (no s at the end, the word is already plural). This is the recipe that I’ve always used.
        Some people use milk instead of buttermilk; I prefer the buttermilk. I’ve also seen several recipes that call for cardamom or cinnamon. A pinch of cardamom can’t hurt, but cinnamon does NOT belong in this batter. I sometimes add a little grated lemon zest; not much, just a smidge. Do you have an æbleskive pan?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. my cookbooks are in transition on route to my new kitchen. the moose wood,Julia child’s the green one and he beige one are the old standbys along with Betty Crocker 3 ring
      I like Martha Stewart and the Saturday morning wonders
      pbs Saturday morning cooking voices make,chores fly by.
      when I want to cook I tend to scan the Internet get some ideas and fake it. I have yet to find a gluten free bread recipe that works. Clyde mentions the 5 minute artisan bread folks. my experience with the recipes is as disappointing as all the others. it may be bread is a lesson about life yet again. what I expect and hope for and what I get are not the same at all. I have a vision and a reality. but I keep trying. it’s better and I have ambitions at are based on the premise I will get it done the way I want it. it works with chili why not nirvana?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Boy, those Bergen Lutheran women had their priorities right, Two pages for veggies and thirtytwo for cookies. Husband and I have three very large three-ring binders in which we have recipes for all sorts of things we have found on the internet or in other places. Husband has put the recipes in plastic page protectors, and sorts and reorganizes on a regular basis.

    Husband says he wouldn’t go anywhere without The Border Cookbook by Bill and Cheryl Jamison. I also find The Way To Cook, by Julia Child a really nice reference. We have about 100 cookbooks, plus Gourmet and Bon Appetit volumes from 1980-1990. Like PJ, we have lots of ethnic cookbooks. The Mediterranean Cookbook and The Stew Cookbook by Clifford Wright are really nice, too.

    Husband wants you all to know that we are not particularly proud of all those cookbooks. Our local newspaper ran a column by a Baptist minister today on the sin of gluttony. Pretty fitting for today’s topic, I think!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’re not gluttons; we just enjoy food! 🙂 That’s just one thing I like about the baboons: show up for book club (or garden clean-up or farewell party) and you will get all sorts of yummy food.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish I had something to contribute, but whenever I see a story about cooking, two things stop me from posting anything: one, I can’t cook (and don’t care to learn at this age); two, I have no appetite.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. BiR, before I read today’s post I was thinking it would be fun to write one about food….you may have inspired me. Thanks!


  10. My most treasured recipe is my semolina pizza dough recipe that I got from a Harrowsmith magazine years ago. It introduced me to cooking pizza on a pizza stone. The crust is crispy and delicious and I never will try another pizza crust recipe.


        1. Yup, that is it.

          Over the years, the only changes I’ve made are to cut down the olive oil to 2 T. and increase the water to 1 1/2 cups. I also now just give it a few kneads instead of kneading for 15 minutes and haven’t noticed any difference except it is easier to roll out now.

          One recipe makes 3 pizzas that fit on the pizza pans on which I serve them. These are thin crust pizzas, so I usually don’t pile the toppings on very deep . Also, I always bake it on a well-heated pizza stone for 10 minutes at 500; never as long as 12-15 minutes which this blogger does. That surprised me – although, on second reading, it looks like she doesn’t use a pizza stone, so perhaps it takes longer if just baked on a pan. Or maybe she uses more toppings than I do. (I’ve never used her recipe for potato-kale topping either, so can’t vouch for that, just the crust recipe, which was from an old magazine.)


        2. Just to clarify – the recipe that Bill linked to is the same crust recipe that I use. The topping recipe is not from the magazine (not saying that it’s not good, just saying it’s nothing I ever saw before). Also the original recipe calls for baking the pizza on a pizza stone at 500 degrees for 10 minutes – this person bakes it without a stone and for a longer time. I’ve only done it on a stone, 500 degrees for 10 minutes, and it’s perfect that way (at least in my oven).


  11. Love cookbooks although I have to admit I seldom really follow a recipe in daily life. I’m either short on time or an ingredient.

    Some make good reading on their own, if you enjoy reading about food. Cooking-wise I like to read them for technique and inspiration.

    If I had to whittle down the collection, I’d be in a tough spot. I have a church cookbook each from my grandmothers, just like BiR’s. They are regularly consulted for certain things.

    I have the hefty Crescent Dragonwagon tome of vegetarian cooking which is often consulted when something is in season and I want to try something new.

    Several of my church cookbooks are also my ethnic cookbooks-notably Greek and Norwegian. The grandma cookbooks have some German in them, but I also have Sei Unser Gast via tpt that has recipes of the Germans in Russia.

    Then there is the church cookbook friends gave me. I don’t know the church or the people involved, but it is quite good, although something must have happened at the bindery, as the index for the last few chapters is missing.

    It does, however, have separate chapters for cookies and bars. Dead useful as I find process-wise they are completely different things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OT-for those of you keeping track:
      S&h placed 20th at State with 16:46 (new personal record for him).

      176 guys in the race, winning time 16:07.

      He’s a happy boy. Took him out for pizza after. Ate 3/4 of a large veggie puzza and 4 glasses of root beer at Green Mill. Already talking about track and the mile. Plans to run all winter. Best consult those cookbooks!

      Liked by 5 people

  12. The scalloped potato recipe that my wife uses from an old cook book is not the one I shared above. I should have know I had the wrong one because it doesn’t include onions which add extra flavor to the one that is our favorite. The correct recipe is from Betty Crocker’s New Diner for Two Cook Book: Use 4 cups of thinly sliced potatoes layered in a 2qt. dish. on each of the first 3 layers sprinkle a tbsp. of flour, a tbsp of minced onion, a 1/4 tsp. of salt and some pepper. Dot the fourth layer with butter and cover with a tbsp. of mince onion and some salt and pepper. Cover with 2 1/2 cups of hot milk. Cook at 350 degrees covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for 70 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a recipe – several of you have consumed the results – for scratch brownies that I love. Came from the Star/Tribune decades ago. I put it into a church cookbook because a) the recipe is very easy and flexible and b) that way I have a copy somewhere that isn’t stained, blotted and becoming illegible. Ditto my mother’s recipe for zucchini cake (currently on a piece of dinosaur-shaped paper…).

    Most treasured though is my grandmother’s recipe for krumkake. It’s mostly a list of ingredients and the order they should be added in – and a final instruction to “beat long and hard.” I really need to replicate that one someplace besides the yellow index card it’s on at present.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’ve already mentioned the New York Cookbook by Molly O’Neill. One of the fun things about it is that some recipes in it come from people who are interesting in their own right. Anna mentions “scratch brownies.” I think the term applies to the recipe in this book for “Kate Hepburn’s brownies.” I’d present it here, but if you want it just Google it. The recipe is on the internet several times.

    And that returns me to the fact I brought no recipes to Oregon. These days I rarely cook, but if I need a recipe I go to the internet. I can always find something there I know I’ll like. And having said that, the internet doesn’t give you that lovely sense of connection with a cookbook author that you know you trust. That is pretty special, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Here is a little treat for my Baboon friends. I would ask that you just trust me on this one, but you don’t even need trust. Just look at the ingredients for Horrible Bars (horrible because they are so tasty and filled with things we shouldn’t eat often).

    1 cup butter
    2 cups brown sugar
    2 eggs, beaten
    2 tsp vanilla
    2½ cups flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    3 cup quick oatmeal

    Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mix flour, soda, and salt together and add to the creamed mixture. Mix well. Then, stir in the oatmeal.

    Spread 2/3 to 3/4 of the above mixture in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Then make the following filling.

    1 12 oz pkg chocolate chips
    1 can sweetened condensed milk
    2 Tbsp butter
    1 cup chopped walnuts
    1 tsp vanilla

    Melt chocolate chips and milk in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Add nuts, butter, and vanilla. Pour over first layer. Dot with remaining 1/4 to 1/3 of first mix. Bake at 350º for 18 to 20 minutes.


    1. My daughter calls these “Hip Padders”. Same recipe.

      My favorite recipes are the ones that are in my long gone grandmothers’ handwriting! I also write “good” and the date on recipes that I try and like. Hardly ever use a cookbook anymore. Computer is full of great ideas.


  16. The fruit salad on page 44 has a cooked dressing with egg in it, but in my family the classic fruit salad has a dressing made of melted vanilla ice cream and diced Jell-o.


      1. prooblem with bananas in it is that it has a 1 hour shelf life form introduction. so make bowl of frit salad and bananas added as the bowl in presented. half a banan here half a banana there. the slimey brown glob n the grapes and strawberries takes all the fun out of it if not eaten in one sitting otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. My most treasured cookbook is my Joy (printed 1962) that was a gift from my mother. The cover and first few pages are missing and I determined the publication date from some web page about all the releases. I refer to it mostly as a resource, not as much for recipes.

    I have two bunches of clippings and printed recipes: one set is those recipes I have tried and have deemed repeatable, the other set is those not yet tried (both sets recently sorted by type). Like some others, I would need to cook well beyond my death date to make them all. I write notes on every recipe I make and keep; how was it, recommendations for adjustments and the occasion for which I cooked it (if any).

    My most treasured recipes are Hide and Seek Meatballs in my mother’s hand and Jack’s Immortal (!) Oatmeal Bread in my father’s hand.

    Because those are treasured, I imagine my sons and DIL finding my recipes with all the little notes and finding them charming. (ha!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m wondering, Lisa, what makes them “hide and seek” meatballs? Are they hidden in something, or do they contain surprises?


  18. OT – Took Bernie to the dog park this afternoon. He loved it and instantly made five new small dog friends. Did a lot of playing and chasing around. He needs more exercise than he gets when walking with me. Good to see him have a great time, and get along so well with everyone. The owners of the various dogs were fun to talk with too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. my dogs love the dog park. they are very enthusiastic and meet some dogs who freak when two biggish dogs rush the to welcome them with such enthusiasm
      we are moving to an area with great trails in nature areas .but no dog parks i am aware of.


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