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Norwegian Tortillas

By Gini Rainey

Last week I dazzled you with tales of making flour tortillas, and today I am here to report that I made an amazing batch of said tortillas on Sunday.  Today I’m going to try and dazzle you with tales of lefse – pronounced lehf-sah, a yummy cousin of the flour tortilla.  I think I’ve mentioned before that it was pretty much culture shock for this girl when moved from the safe arms of the Norwegian/German cuisine I had grown up with straight into the unknown territory of good ol’ east Texas cookin’ and Mexican food.  You can imagine my joy the first time I spied a flour tortilla in the basket at El Charro’s.  I’d been politely pushing my tamale and enchilada around my plate, trying to eat them and having a tough time of it.  I’m here to tell you that no matter how much butter and sugar you put on a flour tortilla, it will never come close to tasting like lefse.

I can hear you asking, exactly what is lefse?  Well, it is a traditional Norwegian soft flatbread that is made from potatoes.  The lefse I grew up with was basically 12 inches in diameter and paper thin, and we generally purchased at the little neighborhood store.  I don’t remember my mom or any of my relatives making it and we usually only had it in conjunction with the Christmas holiday.  I’ve read that lefse is jokingly considered an antidote for lutefisk, another traditional Norwegian dish that is dried cod that has been treated with lye, then soaked and boiled, but that’s another story.  I do know that lefse and lutefisk are usually served on the same menu.  We always slathered our lefse with butter and either white or brown sugar before we ate it.

As you can well imagine, in Texas you can’t just go to the neighborhood store and pick up a package of lefse when the urge strikes, so I learned how to make it.  If you’re just wanting a stand-alone batch of lefse, you can start out by boiling and ricing your potatoes and going from there.  But, at our house, when the girls were growing up, I would take the left-over mashed potatoes from the meal and make a few pieces of lefse for our dessert.  As much as the girls loved mashed potatoes and gravy, they loved lefse more, and many times I’d hear Lisa whisper to Beth to not have a second helping of potatoes because she knew what they’d get to have from the leftovers!  Oh, and when they were big enough, the trade-out was they did the dishes while I rolled out the lefse.

Believe it or not, I actually have a cookbook dedicated to the heritage and making of lefse.  “The Last Word On Lefse,” written by Gary Legwold and published by Adventure Publications, Inc. in 1992, is jelly-jam packed full of heartwarming stories
gathered by Legwold and put together into a neat little book that also includes several recipes for lefse.  While most of the recipes have you generating pieces of lefse about 12 inches in diameter, mine are about half that size and a little bit thicker than traditional pieces are.  I find the size I make is more manageable, and I because I don’t have a lefse griddle, I use my large cast iron frying pan to bake it.  Most of the recipes in the book are very similar, but differ in the amounts of riced potatoes, lard or Crisco, milk or cream, and salt.  I kind of like mine, because I don’t have a ricer, and as the years have passed, Ore-Ida has come out with microwave steamable potatoes that makes it even easier to make lefse.  So, using left-over mashed potatoes (which should already contain milk, salt, and butter), begin stirring in flour, about a half cup at a time.  The trick is to not use too much flour because it makes for a tougher end-product.  Test the dough as you add the flour, and when it’s pillow-soft and not very sticky, form into 1 inch balls and roll out as thin as possible on a lightly floured surface.  Now, bake on a hot griddle or frying pan, turning once when bubbles start to form and turn brown.  Stack on a plate and let cool or slather on butter and sugar and eat while still warm.  Uff-da, that is some mighty good eating!

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April 5th-7th: Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair

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Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair:

Thursday-Saturday, April 5th-7th

The annual Book Fair, the primary fundraiser, began in 1968. A spring and fall sale event, each consisting of a three day sale, gives 75% of net proceeds funds to health career scholarships at Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas at Tyler.

The Smith County Medical Society Alliance Book Fair will be held at 2004 Broussard St., Tyler. The book fair will be held April 5th-7th, 8am-6pm. Only cash and checks are accepted.

“The community looks forward to our sales and anticipates all the great ‘deals’ and wonderful books they will purchase. We have shoppers from all around the state. We enjoy greeting our seasoned shoppers and meeting new ones as they line up early Thursday morning in anticipation to opening,” said Kelly Michaels, current President of SCMSA.

She continues, “‘Achieving Dreams’ a group of exceptional young adults volunteer every Monday to sort, shelve books, clean, and help with other various jobs. The “Achievers” love working at the Book Fair and show us the meaning of giving back to the community. They are a huge part of Book Fair success.”

Now, shoppers have a nicer shopping experience with more room to roam and more books to choose from. There are books for everyone! There are children’s books, collector’s books, cookbooks, new releases, coffee table books, fiction, non-fiction, hobbies and “How To” books, autobiography and biography, sports, religion, self-help, romance, travel, children’s, gardening, history, and much more.

If you would like to donate books, please drop them off at the book shelves outside in the front of the building. Donations can be made any day, at any time. Donated books are brought in daily. For a donation receipt, please leave your name and address information with your donation or call (903)561-1353 to schedule a drop-off.

For additional information visit or call Book Fair at (903)561-1353.

We also take monetary donations. If you would like to donate to Book Fair, please see the Donations page at This is a wonderful way to honor or remember a friend or loved one and to further health care education.


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March 2018: Book Worm Events!


March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell  and discuss her book “Our Baby.” The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan. The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events hosted by Club Reads are free. The Library is open Monday-Thursday 10am-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to

April 5th-7th (8am-6pm) – Book Fair – This year’s event focuses on the sale of donated books which will go to endowed scholarships for nursing and healthcare at TJC and UT-T and for community health projects. Thousand of books will be available for purchase. This is held at SCMSA, 2004 Broussard St., Tyler.

August 4th (1-5pm) – Book Bash will be held at Harvey Hall Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. They are doubling the authors for 2018’s Book Bash! Tickets will be on sale until the day of the event. Come on out and find a new favorite author as well as meet the authors behind the stories. For more info go to Tickets are $12.

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Spring Programs at the Library


Spring Programs at the Library

The Tyler Public Library is located at 201 S. College Ave., Tyler. Most events are free. For more info call (903)593-7323 or go to


All storytimes will be in Taylor Auditorium. Storytimes will not meet the week of Spring Break, March 12th-16th.

  • Leeme un Cuento/Read to Me Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Mondays at 10:30am
  • Lap & Play Time (babies up to 18 months) features stories, songs, and playtime with developmental toys at 9:30am every Wednesday
  • Toddler Explore Storytime (children under age 3) is on Wednesdays at 10:30am
  • Read Aloud Crowd Storytime (children 3-6 years old), Thursdays at 10:30am

March 3rd (2-4pm) – LEGO® Block Party – Children ages 3 and up, bring your imagination for an afternoon of building and playing! LEGO® and Duplo Blocks are provided.

March 10th and 24th (2-4pm) – Makerspace – This continuing STEM education for children and teens will feature March 10th, Multiplication Bingo; and March 24th, Cardboard Challenge. This will be held in the Library Treehouse.

Spring Break: March 12th-March 16th (10:30am) – Spring Break Movie Matinees – Families are invited to watch a fun feature length films in the library’s auditorium. A different movie will be shown each day. Pillows, blankets, and carpet friendly snacks welcome.


Every Tuesday (4:30-5:30pm) – Teen Tuesdays – If you are in Middle School or High School you’re in! The Library will have games, activities, and fun just for teens. Earn volunteer hours completing special projects. Descriptions for weekly activities can be found at Events are:

  • March 6th: Silent Library Games
  • March 13th: Movie
  • March 20th: Whose Line? Improv Games
  • March 27th: “And Scene!” Reader’s Theater

March 3rd (11:30am-1:30pm) – Tips and Tricks for Dog Owners – Pick up tips and tricks for handling your dog from Certified American Kennel Club Evaluator, Judy Parson. No pets in the Library.

March 7th (12 noon) – Great Decisions is a foreign policy lecture series. Books are available for $22 at the circulation desk. The March topic and speaker is “China and American: The New Geopolitical Equation,” Dr. Robert Sterken.

March 9th (11:30am) – “Raised Bed Gardening on a Hillside” with Wayne Elliot will be presented as part of the Smith County Master Gardener Series. Free to attend.

March 15th (5pm) – Reel Talk – This event is like a book-club, but for movies! Free to attend.

March 23rd (3-5:30pm) – Meet Local Author Alma Ravenell and discuss her book “Our Baby.”

March 2nd and 16th (1-3pm) – Veteran’s Movie – Join this biweekly screening of movies presented especially for veterans. This free event is held the first and third Friday every month.

March 27th (10am) – Club Read – Join the Club Read group in discussing this month’s read, “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan.

Every Tuesday (10am-1pm) – Quilting Class – Learn the art of quilting at the Library. Fabric and quilt patterns will be provided. Participants are asked to provide their own sewing machines, if you have them, plus scissors, and neutral or white thread. For details and a complete list of supplies please contact the Library’s information desk.

Every Tuesday (5:30-6:30pm) – Evening Meditation – Learn the practice of Heartfulness Meditation with Gayathri Kambhampati.

Every Wednesday (5:30pm) – Gentle Yoga – This gentle yoga class will be taught by Meagan Vrba who is certified in yoga, CPR, and first aid.

Every Saturday (11am-12 noon) – Crochet Classes will be held in the 3rd floor Internet Center Workroom. These are free classes. Learn to crochet with Library staff and volunteers. All materials are provided. All experience levels are welcome.

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