Scheie Lutheran celebrates 50 years of Norwegian buffets

LISSA BLAKE/NEWS LEADER One day a year, the small Scheie Lutheran Church in rural Mabel welcomes more than 800 people for a ham and meatball dinner, served with the help of around 150 volunteers.
By : 
Lissa Blake

It takes an amazing amount of teamwork to serve 800 delicious meals in a single day. 

But volunteers at Scheie Lutheran Church have been coming together once a year to serve up a delicious Norwegian buffet for 50 years.

In 1969, the little church, located in rural Mabel, started its annual tradition, which has grown throughout the years.

It originally served only an evening meal; but when the line kept growing, the little church decided to expand its hours to include a mid-day meal.

“Since then, we’ve been serving around 300 people at lunchtime and 500 in the evenings,” said volunteer Ellen Aasum, who was on the first committee to organize the event and fried 1,008 rosettes for this year’s meal and bake sale.

About the meal

For decades, more than 100 volunteers have rallied together to serve up ham, meatballs, potatoes, gravy, carrots, coleslaw, cranberries, sweet soup, rommegrot, lefse, flatbrod and a variety of Norwegian baked goods.

In addition to an expansive Norwegian buffet, the event offers live musical entertainment, homemade crafts and food sale and a raffle. This year’s raffle included a quilt and two hardanger pieces.

Also on display is an impressive collection of vintage and antique cooking utensils that spans more than 100 years.

“We also have a display that shows the progression of lefse preparation,” said Sharon Haugerud Storhoff, who oversees items in the display — some of which belong to her and some of which are on loan for the day.

The grocery list

It takes a lot of supplies to feed 800 people, and this year’s meal was no different.

The 2019 Scheie Lutheran Church “grocery list” included 750 rounds (4,500 pieces) of lefse (all handmade and  hand-rolled by volunteers), 305 pounds of ham, 380 pounds of meatball mix, 485 pounds of potatoes, 42 gallons of carrots, 85 pounds of coleslaw, 62 dozen rolls, rommegrot made with 72 pints of whipping cream, 1,008 rosettes and “thousands” of cookies.

Many hands

Volunteers include members of the church, as well as relatives and friends of members.

Irene Fishburn, who is relatively new to the area and volunteers in the serving line, said, “This gives me the opportunity to help out and to be Norwegian for a day.”

Shirley Lansom of Spring Grove said she is a lifetime member of the church who loves to help out.

At 96, Irma Johnson is still rolling lefse like a pro.

“I’m sure I’ve been here since the first dinner they hosted,” said Johnson.

Dinner-goers include people who attended Scheie as children, who live in the area, or just love the food. Greenlea Manor in Mabel even brings a special bus so residents can enjoy the meal.

Shirley Swenson of Spring Grove loves to attend the event each year with her daughter, Kathy Abrahamson of Lanesboro.

“I just love the lefse,” said Swenson.

Betty Ellestad Pries, formerly of Prosper, who resides in Winona, added, “The food is delicious. I love to come back and see family and I love the Norwegian baked goods. I really appreciate this food that we can’t really get otherwise.”

The dinner happens each year about this time, and the church is handicap-accessible. Children can eat free and carry-outs are always available.


Dates??? Times???? When is it?

It happened back on Sept. 25th.