Food and Recipes
Mat og oppskrifter

Staværinger Home Page

One of my reasons for putting together this web site has been to try to hold on to a bit of the culture of Stadsbygd for my generation and the ones that follow. What better way than to share some family recipes?

I am most interested in hearing of your recipes and variations and will post them here you will send. E-mail Dennis L. Haarsager. I have had requests for lefse and lutefisk recipes, but have no such recipes from staværinger, so would appreciate any contributions.

Cookbook Recommendation

The best and most comprehensive Norwegian cookbook in my collection is my newest one, Norwgian National Recipes: An inspiring journey in the culinary history of Norway, by Arni Brimi and Ardis Kaspersen, translated from the Norwegian by Lisa Gay Bostwick.  It is published in the U.S.A. by Skaldaspillar Publications, 525 Quail Ridge Drive #2, Pullman, WA 99163, telephone 877-5-NORWAY.  It is published in Norway as Norges Nasjonalretter: En matglad reise i vårt eget land by Norsk Fakta Forlag AS, Grensen 18, 0159 Oslo.  The recipes are arranged by region (there is a large section for Trøndelag), there are many gorgeous photographs of food and scenery, and the book contains a lot of cultural history as well.  Highly recommended.

Sorry, but I cannot help with the many requests I get for recipes.  If you can’t find the recipe you want, please check one of the following excellent sources:

Cooking With Daughters of Norway (English language) (Norwegian language. Kokk = cook.  A very nice comprehensive web site about Norwegian cooking with hundreds of new and traditional Norwegian recipes.)
Sons of Norway Recipe Box (English language)

The Coffee-Lutefisk Connection (from the Norway-L listserv)
By Børge Solem

Gud dei

I want to start with expressing my gratitude to the list owner, and everyone on the list, for making this such a good cultural meeting place.

Where I live, in Rissa S-Trøndelag, many of the old folks still drink the coffee from their saucer. If you ask them why, they will answer: "that's the way we have always been drinking our coffee". I remember from when I was a child, my g-aunt always bought coffee beans, and on her kitchen she would have a small coffee grinder. When she was cooking coffee, a delicious smell would fill her home. She cooked her coffee in an old brass coffee kettle. The coffee, of cause, would be quite thick, kind of muddy.

My g-uncle, he was a dog after lutefisk. They would have lutefisk several times every month. I remember when they prepared the lutefisk, it was kind of a ceremonial touch to it. They would always take care of the skin. They scraped the skin till it was clean, and hung it up outside to dry. When the skin was dried, they would cut it in to small slices. When they were having coffee, they would put slices of skin in the cup and the skin cleared the coffee. Of cause they would drink the coffee from the saucer, or at least my g-uncle would. My g-aunt never did it if she had guests, and she would kick my g-uncle on his leg when he did, just making him spill some of the coffee on the table cloth.

When ever I smell good coffee, I think of them.

Regards from Børge

Note: Børge Solem is from Rissa, Norway (adjoining Stadsbygd to the west). He posted this message as an e-mail to the NORWAY LIST "list serve" on October 11, 1998 and it is used here by permission.


Ball (also called klimpor, klubb, kumla, kumle, kompe, kumpe, potetball and raspeball in Norwegian and potato dumplings in English)
I'm going to start with potato dumplings, which we called ball (pronounced the same as "ball" in English except that both l's are pronounced -- though in my family it sounds more like it looks, dull). My dad's parents, Kjersten (Fenstad) and Elias Haarsager had sixteen children (spread out over 30 years, so not all were home at once). Ball was a staple there as it was in my home growing up and was one of the first things my Swedish-Danish-American mom learned to cook for Dad when they were married in 1946 (Mom reports he said, "Now you're a true Haarsager").

Dad and his younger brother Cliff didn't like ball with the traditional small piece of pork (bacon, salt port, or ham are all used) inside, so Grandma Kjersten would make their vegetarian dumplings with an elongated shape and all the rest round balls. I grew up with the elongated shape vegetarian ones, too (something like small russet potatoes).

Ball is a chore to make and leaves quite a mess to clean up. There is at least one manufacturer offering a dried potato dumpling mix that's not bad. It can be purchased in some Scandinavian food stores and upper Midwest grocery stores. I've not tried to buy it directly, but the product, "Ole & Lena's Scandinavian Potato Dumpling Mix" is made by Ole & Lena's Home Made Lefse, P.O. Box 366, Hatton, North Dakota 58240, telephone (701) 543-2064. The same company offers lefse and frozen potato dumplings.

Although ball is one of my favorite dishes (especially fried up the next day), that love may be based more on tradition than objective culinary evaluation. It is particularly lacking in what restaurateurs call "presentation" since gray doesn't usually brighten up any plate.

Potato Dumplings 1
Doris [Johnson] Haarsager Olson's Ball

Mom got the following recipe from one of Dad's ten sisters:

  • Cut 10 potatoes into pieces and put them through a hand meat grinder or the equivalent electric appliance. Squeeze out the potato water after grinding.
  • Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 teaspoons of salt
  • If you wish to make them med flesk, cut up some bacon or ham into 1/2 or 3/4 inch (2 cm) pieces
  • Mix the flour and the potatoes together and form dumplings with a large spoon about 3 to 31/2 inches (7 to 9 cm) around (dip the spoon in boiling water every time you make a ball)
  • Bring a kettle of water with 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt to a boil
  • Boil the dumplings slowly, 45 to 60 minutes
  • Serve with melted bacon fat (or butter), salt and pepper.

Recipe courtesy of Doris Olson, Vermillion, South Dakota

Potato Dumplings 2
Allan Hansvold and Ida Haarsager Hansvold's Potato Dumplings

Should you be in a rollicking good humor, and stout in your resolve, prepare to make ready as follows:

  • 5 cups grated raw potatoes (hie you off to the root cellar and select about 10 smallish to medium tubers) (large ones for baking)
  • 3 tablespoon salt, heaping
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1/3 cup graham flour (sometimes difficult to find/if so, try health food store). Don't substitute.
  • 1/4 pound fresh salt pork
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Remove rind and cut up pork into small cubes. You may save some work by letting the diner remove the rind, which is easier to do after being cooked. Besides some intrepid non-Viking may actually eat the rind.
  • Combine dry ingredients by stirring with spoon and sifting.
  • In grating potatoes, good results can be had with a fine hand grater. Can substitute food processor if you can get potatoes grated into small particles without mushing them. The idea is to release enough water from the potatoes, without adding tap water to the mixture, in order to get a moist dough.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the grated potatoes; not the other way around.
  • Mix with large spoon, metal or wooden, until all ingredients are mixed, and the dough is moist. This is devilish hard work, but worth the efforts to do it right.
  • Have deep well kettle full of boiling water, to which has been added one T salt.
  • Moisten left hand in cold water, and with large spoon in right, mold two T of dough around a cube of pork to make a dumpling. Make sure the outer surface is seamed over so that it doesn't come apart in the pot. Moisten hand with each dumpling.
  • Drop dumplings into the boiling water and keep boiling constantly. Cover pot to get steaming action. Don't allow dumplings to stick to the bottom. Don't stir, but shake (rotate) kettle occasionally. Boil slowly for 60-90 minutes.

This make approximately 20 dumplings, so that have that many pork cubes available.

If eaten as soon as ready, skip the traditional heated fat. This was for arctic residents. The pork gives enough fat, so that extra is not needed. No need to sprinkle with salt, as there is plenty in the recipe and the boiling water. Perhaps too much. Use pepper.

Crisp celery goes very well with this meal.

Ska du has liten gran?

--A. Hansvold

Recipe courtesy of Shaunee Hansvold Power, Oakland, California

Potato Dumplings 3
Berit [Hårsaker] Berg's Raspeballer

My second cousin once-removed, Berit, lives with her family and mother, Dagmar Hårsaker, on the same farm in Stadsbygd on which my grandfather was born.


  • 3 or 4 raw potatoes
  • 2 cold boiled potatoes
  • 1.5-2 deciliters barley flour (1 deciliter = 100 milliliters = 0.423 cup = 6.75 tablespoons, so this amount is just under 2/3rds to just over 3/4ths cup)
  • 1/2 deciliter white flour (about 1/5th cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 onion

Grate potatoes and onion. Mix in flour and salt. Boil salted water. Form balls with left hand and large tablespoon. Place them in boiling water for 1/2 to 3/4 hour. Serve with smoked, cooked meat, cooked rutabaga, or grilled bacon. Some like to sprinkle sugar on the ball or else possibly syrup.

Recipe courtesy of Berit [Hårsaker Berg], Stadsbygd, Norway

Potato Dumplings 4
Erik W. and Margit Fenstad's Klubb

Grete writes: The potato dumpling is well known all over Norway, however by different names associated with the geographical area. My husband's family [from Trondheim] uses the name klubb, which is probably the Stadsbygd name. The recipe, however, used to be very simple: only potatoes and rye flour, served with fried bacon and syrup! [This] simple version of klubb was probably adjusted to what one could obtain during World War II. I believe the syrup was made of sugar beets and very dark (described by [husband's sister] Ingrid [Fenstad Langdalen] as black).

I am from Kristiansand, on the south coast of Norway, and we used the word kompe, while I believe in the Stavanger area the name was kumle.

Recipe courtesy of Grete Usterud Fenstad, Olso, Norway

Potato Dumplings 5
Master Chef Svein Magnus Gjønvik's Klubb

The feature recipe on Tourist Magazine Norway's page for Trøndelag recipes is for potato dumplings. The page is written by Svein Magnus Gjønvik, national chairman of the Norwegian association of master chefs. Click on this link for a klubb served with duppe an interesting goat cheese sauce. There's even a color photograph of it!

Lefse 1
Ingeborg Leinslie Sann


  • 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of boiled potato (minced twice)
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • cup of syrup
  • flour to suitable dough

Mix all this together. Take some of the dough, use a rolling pin and make a very thin (about 2 mm) "lefse" about 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter. Bake it on both sides on a takke or something similar.

When this lefse is finished, it is always folded once. When we are going to serve it with a cup of coffee or tea, it is normal to put butter and sugar on one half of it, fold it together again, and cut it in 4-5 pieces.

Says her son, Jan Sann: This is one of my favourites (also for my children) and my mother always bakes this before every Christmas. This "lefse" is very big and very thin. I think the diameter is about 30 cm and is normally baked on a "takke". A "takke" is a cooking plate with a diameter of 40 or 60 cm. I do not have one, but it is common out on the coutryside. In fact it is a factory in Oslo which have "takke" as their only product. A "takke" can also be used to make "flatbrød"(thin wafer crispbread), which is an old tradition both in Stadsbygd and other places in Norway.

Recipe courtesy of Ingeborg Sann, Stadsbygd, Norway

Lefse 2
Berit [Hårsaker] Berg


  • 6 deciliters (2.5 cups) sour milk
  • 2 deciliters (7/8ths cup) heavy (20%) cream
  • 2 deciliters sugar
  • 4 teaspoons hornsalt [Hornsalt is ammonium carbonate and used to be made from antlers.  You can substitute baking powder, but use 1 tablespoon of baking powder for 1 teaspoon of hornsalt.]
  • about 1.25 kilogram (2.75 lbs) white flour

Mix together milk, cream and sugar. Blend in flour, hornsalt. The dough must not be too loose (soft).
Roll out the dough into a thick "sausage," divide up in suitable portions and roll out into round shapes. Cook in frying pan or special stiketakke [lefse cooker; see above -- ed.]. Turn the lefses (while cooking) and they shall be light (colored) on both sides. Cool the lefses and serve with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Fold together in three parts meeting in the middle.

Recipe courtesy of Berit [Hårsaker] Berg, Stadsbygd, Norway

Rømmegrøt (also rømmegraut)
Berit [Hårsaker] Berg


  • 1/2 liter heavy cream (1 liter = 4.23 cups, so this is just over 2 cups)
  • 120 grams (2 deciliters) (7/8ths cup) white flour
  • 1/2 liter milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar (powdered vanilla bean mixed with sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Cinnamon

Cook the cream under cover for about 3 minutes, add half of the flour and stir vigorously such that the flour is not lumpy. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the fat comes out. Take care of the fat. Mix in salt, sugar and vanilla sugar. Cook for about 10 minutes. Serve with the fat, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Recipe courtesy of Berit [Hårsaker] Berg, Stadsbygd, Norway

Jennie Buns
Jennie Haarsager (1887-1989)

This recipe is for the famous "Jennie buns" which, if not to die for, at least were to drive for. Jennie Haarsager's famous buns drew Haarsagers from around the U. S. to the annual Haarsager reunion in or near Litchville, North Dakota each year. Jennie died in 1989 a few months shy of her 102nd birthday. My oldest daughter Jennie is named after her and her sister Ella. This recipe comes from June Osterberg's wonderful, A Haarsager Family Album, 1879-1979. I asked Jennie once late in her life what her secret of success was for her delicious buns, and she uttered the only complaint I ever heard from her lips -- that one "just couldn't get good flour anymore." So buy the best bread flour you can when attempting the following:


  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • Yeast melted in 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix together. Beat with a spoon instead of kneading. Knead some. Let rise a couple of hours or so. Knead it down and form into buns and let rise again. Bake at 350° until they're brown.

Hakke pølse
Doris [Johnson] Haarsager Olson

The following dish was my father's favorite.  He pronounced it "huck paish" or “huck pash” (in American English; men hakk-peishj or hakk-pæshj på norsk).  Hakke means to mince, grind or chop, and pølse means sausage.  A friend from Orkanger says that heart, lung and diaphragm were also used, preferably from sheep, but also from calves.  Her family called it “hakkmat” (ground food) or “innmat-pose” (organ meat bag).

Warning: This smells pretty bad when it is cooking.

  • Use old muslin sheets or pillow cases to sew bags in which the meat and potatoes mixture is cooked.
  • Peel and grind 10 medium to large potatoes. Squeeze out some of the water.
  • Cook and grind one beef heart (on occasion, Mom also would use a kidney).
  • Add one tablespoon of minced onion (she would sneak this in because Dad didn't like onion; the recipe should probably use more onion).
  • Add salt for seasoning.
  • Combine the potatoes, onion and heart. Work in flour to make it a thick consistency.
  • Stuff the mixture into the bags. Leave an inch at the top as it may expand. Tie tight with string.
  • Cook in salted water for an hour or so.
  • Serve with butter, bacon fat or melted lard.

Mom says, "Ralph loved this. Was like a bear if we helped ourselves to too much. This is also good when cold -- cut into pieces and fried in butter or oil."

Recipe courtesy of Doris Olson, Vermillion, South Dakota

From Johan Bojer's 1923 novel, Den siste viking (The Last of the Vikings)

Einar Haugen's Norwegian-English Dictionary describes mølje simply as "crumbled flatbrød in fat." The novelist Bojer was a a trønder who wrote great novels describing the lives of ordinary people in Stadsbygd's county. Den siste viking was about Lofoten cod fishermen from Stadsbygd who thought mølje was a great delicacy. He also visited Litchville, North Dakota and interviewed expatriate staværinger living there for another of his novels, Vår egen stamme (1924, literally "Our own stock").

The English version of Bojer's book gives the following charming if, to me who grew up thousands of miles away from the nearest fresh cod, unappetizing recipe as translated by Jessie Muir:
"Melja! 'Get away from the table, men! Here's supper at last!' Henry brought in several plates of broken-up flat-bread, and then, taking in the saucepan full of boiled, steaming hot liver, he ladled out a liberal helping into each plate. The oil glistened as it flowed over the piles of flat-bread, and over it was strewn grated goat's-milk cheese, after which treacle was poured all over in long, golden-brown, sinuous lines. The next thing was to stir it all up with a spoon, and there you had a mixture that was worth tasting!"

Bojer's original reads as follows:
"Mølje. Kom attåt bordet, folk, nå skal her endelig bli mat.
Henrik bar inn flere fat med knekket flatbrød i. Nå kom gryta full av kokt, rykende lever, som han auste rundelig av I hvert fat. Fettet lyste og flaut over flatbrødhaugene, og sia var det å skave opp mysost og strø over og til slutt helle sirup I lange, glyne slanger over det heile. Så er det å røre det heile rundt med skei, så det blir som en graut, å jo, det lønte seg å smake på."

My double 2nd cousin, Walter Sand, of Everett, Washington says this dish is prepared and served about 3:00 on Christmas Eve. He and friends provide the following more literal translation of Bojer's words:
"Flap of Bread With Liver-Fat or Lard. Come to the table folks, now there is finally food. Henrik carried in more fat with broken flatbread on it. Now comes the kettle full of cooled smoked liver that he spooned plenty of into every bowl. The fat shines and flows over heaps of flatbread and besides you had to carve up (lots of) whey-cheese, spread it over and at last pour syrup in long streams over the whole thing. Then you stir the whole thing arouind with a spoon. It looks like mush. Oh yes, it (pays) to taste it."

--Dennis L. Haarsager

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