Like most, the holiday season is when many family traditions come to life and in typical Midwestern fashion, most are centered around food.
Fargo is rich in Scandinavian and German heritage, so it’s no surprise that many traditional foods from the regions are still quite popular. Here are a few you’re likely to find while visiting during the Holidays.
Norwegian & Swedish foods to try this holiday season
Smorgasbord: in Sweden, a Christmas is celebrated with a Smorgasbord which is a huge buffet of Christmas ham, sausage, pickled herring, “salads” and then finished off with desserts such as toffee and frutkaka (fruitcake).
Lutefisk: A pickled white fish that dates back to the Viking Age where the fish is soaked in lye until it becomes a jelly-like consistency.
Lefse: This soft Norwegian flatbread is made with potatoes, flour, butter, and cream. Not only is it a tradition to eat this sweet treat, but families tend to cook it together as a group using special tools like long wooden turning sticks and special rolling pins with deep grooves.
After the thin, pancake-like delicacy is made, most spread butter on top and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar before rolling it up to eat.
Krumkake: Beautiful and delicious, Krumkake is a Norwegian waffle cookie made from only flour, butter, eggs, sugar, and cream. Translated it means “bent cake”.
Lingonberry Hearts: Two heart-shaped cookies with Lingonberry preserves in the middle. Lingonberries are cranberry-like berries that were often turned into jams by early Scandinavians and then used in holiday desserts.
Norwegian Almond Cake: This light, almond-flavored dessert is usually made in a loaf pan with ingredients that are cheap to come by and are often already in your cupboard.
German holiday desserts
Mulled Wine: this warmed wine with festive seasonings such as cinnamon and nutmeg can be found at any Christmas market as well as many German celebrations. It is traditionally served piping hot in ceramic mugs and is a delicious treat for those of age.
Chrismas Stollen: Another treat is this traditional German Christmas cake. It’s made with fruits, nuts, and spices wrapped into a traditional loaf cake and then sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Lebkuchen: Lebkuchen is a gingerbread type cookie made in various ways. Many are frosted and have nice messages scribbled on them.
Kuchen: While Kuchen is the German word for “cake”, it is so, so much more than that! If cake and pie had a baby, it would be a lot like Kuchen.
Classic Midwestern Foods enjoyed during the Holidays
Sure, the food of our European ancestors is delicious and absolutely worth trying (even if you can’t pronounce them), but Midwesterners have developed a few of their own recipes throughout the years as well. Here are a few classic Midwestern Holiday dishes.
Ham & Pickle Rolls: Usually on an appetizer plate, Ham & Pickle roll-ups are the Midwestern version of sushi and made with deli ham covered in cream cheese and wrapped around a pickle.
Green Bean Casserole: A dish that often makes it onto Thanksgiving tables, Green Bean Casserole is made with green beans and cream of mushroom soup and then topped with french fried onions.
Tator Tot Hotdish: This creamy mix of ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and green beans is topped with tater tots and melted cheese and makes for a wonderful comfort food main dish.
Scalloped corn: Another casserole (or hotdish in these parts) is this country-style creamed corn made with saltine cracker crumbs or Jiffy cornbread mix that ends up as a side dish for the whole family.
Knoephla: This soup is a staple of many families and is made with a creamy potato base with Norweigan-style dumplings.
Cookie Salad & Oreo Fluff: Cookie Salad is a staple at many Midwestern celebrations as well as Oreo Fluff. Both have the same type of consistency with whipped cream and pudding mix with chunks of Oreos or fudge striped cookies.
The biggest difference between the two is cookie salad also has mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks… We promise it’s yummier than you think.
Snickers Caramel Apple Salad: Very similar to the cookie salad above, Snickers Caramel Apple Salad is made with pudding mix and cool whip along with chopped Snickers Bars and Granny Smith apples.
Peanut Butter Blossom cookies: A sweet and salty dessert, these delicious cookies are made with sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter and then topped with Hersey’s Kisses immediately after coming out of the oven.
Jello Salad: Another “salad” that you’ll find on the table of many Midwesterners, Jello Salad is made with jello packets, cream, and cream cheese along with any kind of fruit or nuts that you’d like to add.
Another popular option is the Strawberry Pretzel Salad made with a pretzel crust, cream cheese center, and jello & strawberry topping.
Chippers: Made famous by Carol Widman’s Candy Company in Fargo, Chippers are potato chips covered in chocolate. They are a popular choice for a gift for whoever is hosting the holiday and can often be found on the dessert table.
Scotcheroos: Similar to Special K Bars, Scotcheroos are made with Rice Krispies, corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter and then topped with melted chocolate and butterscotch chips.