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Heritage matters

By Staff | Mar 5, 2010

Connie Rosendahl's Norwegian heritage taught her to make lefse, but it was her husband David's German family who told her to put jam on the lefse. Is enjoyed by the whole family.

VENTURA – Connie and David Rosendahl live on a farm south of this western Cerro Gordo Count community. The Rosendahl’s were married in 1972 and in March 1978, they moved to his grandfather’s farm a few miles from where they live today.

They moved into his parents’ home in 1988. David Rosendahl is a fifth generation farmer, living in the U.S.. His family arrived from Germany where they were also farmers.

Connie Rosendahl also has a strong farming background, growing up on a dairy operation near Ossian in northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County.

The family name was Svendsen, their heritage was Norwegian, and Connie was the fourth of five daughters.

While she participated in many high school activities, she said her parents were not able to attend many of them because of the work routine on the farm. She described growing up on a dairy farm with its daily chores as “a secluded life.”

Connie Rosendahl learned how to cook from her mother. She remembers coming home from school to something freshly made everyday.

Her mother compiled a journal of her favorite recipes gathered from cookbooks and those shared with her and recorded notes on each recipe.

“We always had good meals,” said Connie Rosendahl.

Her farm background and Norwegian heritage influence her today as she cooks with butter, using as many fresh items as she can from the garden that she and her husband grow each year.

Their garden includes beans, peas, carrots, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, spinach and sweet corn. An asparagus patch was planted this past year.

With their sons grown and living a distance away, their large garden produces food for neighbors and nearby family.

“We share a lot,” said Connie Rosendahl.

The Rosendahl’s are parents to two sons, Justin, 34, of Kansas City. and Ken, 32, of St Louis. Their sons are capable cooks too, she said, with Ken Rosendahl working as a cook during his college years.

Family gatherings will typically include a meal of ham and potatoes with oyster stew at Christmas. The family will barbecue and smoke meat during the summer.

Connie Rosendahl said she could enjoy a meal of roast beef, fresh vegetables and boiled potatoes anytime. She relies on her Norwegian sweet tooth for a delicious dessert.

Rosendahl is the bookkeeper for the farm and works fulltime as an analyst for Principal Financial. The Rosendahls have three grandchildren, ages 5, 3 and 1.

Chocolate cake

2 cups white sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hot water

Cream the sugar and shortening. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until creamy. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to sugar mixture along with sour cream. Put cocoa in hot water and add last. Mix until smooth. Bake in 350 degree oven until done in abut 45 minutes.

Butterscotch filling

1 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 cups milk

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoon corn starch

Put the sugar, milk and egg yolks in a saucepan and heat on stove until lightly boiling. Add some water to the cornstarch and add to the hot liquid until thick.

Remove from stove; add 2 tablespoons butter and teaspoon vanilla. Let cool.

Fluffy white frosting

3 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons white syrup

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine in top of double boiler over rapidly boiling water and beat with electric mixer until mixture forms peaks. Remove from boiling water. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and continue beating until thick enough to spread.

Potato lefse

5 cups riced potatoes

1/2 cup sweet cream

3 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups flour

Mix all ingredients. Roll into balls about the size of golf balls and then roll out thin. Cook on griddle.

Contact Clayton Rye by e-mail at crye@wctatel.com.

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