Lefse Masters crowns new champion
September 28, 2019
By Thomas A. Kvamme
Of all the columns this old scribe has penned, in more than 40 years, this one will have to be described as tasty.
You’ll get my drift as we go along.
First we must tell you about a lady with strong Williston connections who captured the title as Lefse Master during competition at the recently completed Norsk Høstfest in Minot.
Sharon Liudahl, who made her home in Williston for some 30 years, came out on top of the entries in the annual lefse competition.
She is a native of McLeod and now makes her home in Bismarck.
This Viking never realized how intense this Lefse Masters event was.
Sharon, with an assist from her daughter Sandy Mundahl, was able to withstand the heated competition.
We understand this was the first contest Sharon has ever entered.
Home of Economy proved to be the main sponsor, with 12 finalists from across the state making up the finalists.
From that Sharon joined a field of six competitors to determine the overall champion.
This proved to be very heated with two chefs direct from Norway on hand to serve as judges.
How’s that for adding some additional heat to the flame?
ROAD TO FINALS
In order to qualify for the finals Sharon had submitted samples and a recipe to one of the Home of Economy locations, as they are the sponsor.
Then, after being declared the winner at that location she was invited to Minot where the final two rounds took place, last weekend.
Entries then had to roll out their already prepared lefse dough and fry it in front of the authentic Norwegian judges, who would also taste it.
All of the contestants were side-by-side, facing a curious audience that was allowed to interact with the contestants during the competition.
Word has it Sharon had the largest delegation of family and friends cheering her on.
A TIME LIMIT
Sharon and her daughter were given an hour to prepare 15 pieces and then pick out what they thought were the two best ones for submission.
From there the lefse was graded on a scale of 1-10 in five different categories. Those included: Taste (fresh potato flavor, no “off” flavors); Texture (thin, but doesn’t fall apart; Appearance (even browning, no lumps, no excess flour); Shape (round or not — no trimming allowed) and Aroma (fresh smell).
FROM THE BEST
Sharon learned the art of making lefse from her mother during childhood and eventually took it up again nearly 45 years ago.
She has been perfecting her craft ever since, leading up to be being crowned.
No doubt her mother is very proud.
These days Sharon makes lefse before and during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.
Hey, local folks have had the privilege to taste Sharon’s lefse.
You see, for several years Sharon was part of the leadership team that produced thousands of pieces for the annual Gloria Dei Lutheran church bazaar.
PASS THE TORCH
“Friends and family have known that she’s been one of the best at this for decades, but now it has been validated by some who happen to know a lot about it,” said her son Mike Liudahl.
The final round judges were actually well established chefs from Norway who show up at Hostfest to prepare authentic Norwegian meals for those who happened to nab a reservation.
For Sharon, it’s been important for her to pass on her passion and the needed traditional skills down to her children and now she is currently doing the same with her grandchildren.
The trophy was a lefse roller complete with rosemaling which signified that she won this year’s event.
With that we send out a Scope Salute to Sharon for keeping her family tradition alive and well, for years to come.