Bethel Lutheran’s Scandinavian Food Festival continues to pleaseThe Scandinavian Food Festival at Bethel Highlands Church last Friday and Saturday received a seal of approval from an expert.
The Scandinavian Food Festival at Bethel Highlands Church last Friday and Saturday received a seal of approval from an expert.
Kirsten Larsen, author of “Only One Slice: Danish Sandwiches,” made a return visit to the festival on Friday and declared the open-faced sandwiches served there to be excellent.
“You do an amazing job. I love the sandwiches,” Larsen said when she was introduced to Dorothy Hughes, leader of the sandwich-making crew. She said the rullepolse and crab sandwiches were “beautiful” and “interesting.”
That’s what Hughes aims for.
“I always tell my ladies we don’t just make a sandwich, we design our sandwiches because people eat with their eye,” Hughes said during a later phone conversation. “And that’s what everybody tells me — they’re almost too pretty to eat.”
Larsen, an Eagan, Minn., resident, was one of hundreds who attended the 21st annual Bethel Lutheran fundraiser.
They were treated to many other Scandinavian dishes and desserts in addition to the traditional sandwiches – aebleskivers, kringle, rommegrot, lefse, rosettes and more.
Larsen attended last year’s Food Festival at the invitation of Marlys McGaver of Hudson and said she was anxious to return to this year’s event.
The native of Denmark has lived in the United States since 1964. She decided to write a book on the art of making Danish sandwiches after retiring from a career in the fashion industry.
First published in 1995, “Only One Slice” is now in its seventh printing. The book is sold at Ingebretsen’s on East Lake Street in Minneapolis.
Hughes has been overseeing the sandwich-making for the Food Festival for many years.
“It gets in your blood, and I’m 100 percent Norwegian, so how can I stop doing something a good Norwegian is supposed to do,” Hughes, whose maiden name is Nokken, said with a laugh.
Making the sandwiches takes a lot of advance work.
Barb Holt heads up a crew that makes the rullepolse, a time-consuming process that involves rolling pork and secret seasonings into a flank steak, then boiling, flattening it, cooling and slicing it.
Hughes said 55 heads of green leaf lettuce, 25 pounds of Roma tomatoes, 17 and one-half pounds of imitation crab meat and 20 pounds of pork loin were used to make this year’s sandwiches.
They sold just shy of 800 sandwiches over the two days of the event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendance was very good, Hughes said.
Former Bethel Lutheran pastor Don Docken, 88, now a resident of St. Paul, visited on Saturday.
Lori Jacobson and Betty Hansen are the overall chairpersons of the Food Festival — and have been since the start 21 years ago.