Three Danes and a Swede, the return of the lutfisk children, and other adventures at Norsk Høstfest

It has been a week or so since I've been back in the Twin Cities, and I'm still smiling at the memories of this year's Norsk Høstfest in Minot. Høstfest is billed as North America's largest Scandinavian festival. For four days the North Dakota State Fairgrounds become home to hundreds of campers, a viking village, vendors from all over the world, amazing food and music, books, lefse rolling competition, local TV interviews with Dala horses, and a kitchen stage where a few of zany Nordic food lovers demo our favorite recipes and try to entertain and educate, while people snack on samples of meatballs, soups, and lefse pizza.

It was my fourth year back, and I was delighted to hang out with many of the usual suspects including our cheeky leader Chef Stig Hansen, who has enough disdain toward lutfisk to share with the entire lye-cod loving population of North Dakota. This year our Norwegian presenters dropped out last minute, and I was left to fend for myself at the Nordic Kitchen with three amazing Danes, including Chef Stig, his wife Rita, and the phenomenal Chef Mari Harries from Windom, Minnesota.

Most memorable moments: Julie Ingebretsen of Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace was inducted to the Hall of Fame and her acceptance speech was a gentle reminder that community crosses cultural borders, attending the tail end of Tanya Tucker's rocking awesome concert and then meeting Tanya backstage, dining at some really great Minot wine bars, and hanging out with our extraordinary crew at Nordic Kitchen (as well as our audience - lots of regulars this year!). Oh, and, yes, the food we cooked was pretty darned good too!


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