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Ostkaka? Potato bologna?

By Staff | Feb 12, 2010

Imogene Hanson enjoys making traditional Swedish favorites like Ostkaka for her family. Standing next to her is her husband, Emory.

DAYTON – Traditional Swedish foods that have been enjoyed by her family for many generations are the dishes Imogene Hanson, of Dayton, continues to make for her family and others.

Hanson grew up in Lanyon, the youngest in her family, she worked alongside her mother in the kitchen learning and helping to create meals such as Ostkaka and potato bologna. These recipes have been staples for her family’s holiday meals for four generations of her’s and husband Emory’s families.

“We always have Ostkaka and potato bologna at Christmas time,” said Imogene Hanson.

Hanson, 86, made 85 pounds of the potato bologna with help from her son. Admitting that 85 pounds may sound like a lot, once it’s dispersed among the family members, they still can’t seem to have enough.

Hanson remembers how hard her mother would work at having to hand-fill the casings “back in the day.” Emory Hanson helped making the potato bologna easier by devising a funnel that holds the casings as they are being stuffed.

Another Swedish dish Imogene Hanson prepares for her family not only at Christmas time but throughout the year is potato bologna—- which she helped make 85 pounds of this year.

Imogene Hanson said that her church friends “always hope” that her famous Ostkaka will be a part of their annual smorgasbord dinners.

Ostkaka with “ost” meaning “cheese” and “kaka” meaning “cake” in Swedish is also known as, what else, Swedish cheesecake, or as Swedish curd cake. It is usually eaten warm, or lukewarm, with different jams and whipped cream, or with fruit or ice cream.

Hanson said one of her secrets for delicious Ostkaka is to use raw milk, which she says gives it a better a taste.

Another tip for making Ostkaka, Hanson said, is to use liquid rennet versus the rennet caplets as the liquid variation helps to intermix with the milk better.

Imogene and Emory Hanson were married in 1947 after both serving in World War II. They reared their family of two boys and two girls on their family farm south of Dayton and now have 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Ostkaka, which is also known as Swedish cheesecake, is a staple at the Hanson home every Christmas and even a special treat during other times of the year.

While raising her family, she said meat and potatoes were a part of practically every meal, which she would also find time to prepare even after helping outside of the home on the farm.

“Back then we always had meat and potatoes,” she said. “A lot did it on the farm that way because you grew your own potatoes and raised your own meat.”

She said when she and her husband moved off of the farm, it took a little learning to downsize and cook for two by cutting back and halving recipes.

In addition to keeping busy in the kitchen, Hanson embroiders on tea towels and playing cards and has also passed the time some years ago using her artistic side in paintings.

Hanson said a good way to use up sour milk is to make pancakes. With Bisquick, add an egg, teaspoon of soda, which Hanson said will help with the sour taste of the milk and enough sour milk added for the right consistency.


1 gallon milk (raw or whole with vitamin D)

1 cup flour

1 cup cold milk

1 teaspoon liquid rennet

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 cups half and half

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat milk to lukewarm. Mix flour, cold milk and rennet. Add to lukewarm milk. Let set until firm. Cut across firm milk and strain off whey or any liquid.

Place beaten eggs, cream and sugar and salt into a 3-quart casserole dish.

Mix in the curded milk and bake in oven for 350 degrees for one hour or until golden brown. While baking set dish inside 9-by-13-inch pan with one inch of water.

Serve with strawberries and whip topping.

Potato bologna

20 pounds white potatoes

12 pounds ground beef

12 pounds ground pork

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons salt

3 1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 cups ground onions

4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)

Wash, then boil potatoes until you can put a fork into them. Cool and peel (I will do this the day before).

When cold, grind using coarse knife, mix ingredients well.

This makes about 40 pounds of bologna using half a pound of pork casing.


(Imogene Hanson says these cookies are simple and can be made quickly with less of the hassle than baking other kinds of cookies)

1 box lemon cake mix

1/3 cup oil

2 eggs

Chocolate chips

Mix together and bake until done.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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