Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Calling all lutefisk lovers to Vang Lutheran Church October 6, 2014

Vang Lutheran is set among the farm fields of Goodhue County. The name "Vang" means field. Vang is a region of Norway from which the areas first settlers arrived.

Vang Lutheran is set among the farm fields of Goodhue County. The name “Vang” means field. Vang is a region of Norway from which the area’s first settlers arrived.

JUST DAYS BEFORE THE 34th annual Lutefisk and Norwegian Meatball Supper at Vang Lutheran Church, rural Dennison, the ladies were busy prepping Saturday morning.

A sign inside Vang Lutheran Church advertised its annual Lutefisk & Meatball Supper.

A sign inside Vang Lutheran Church advertises its annual Lutefisk & Meatball Supper.

Plates are stacked on the kitchen counter.

Plates are stacked on the kitchen counter awaiting diners.

Lists have been made with assigned jobs.

Lists have been made with assigned jobs.

Church ladies bring bowls from home.

Church ladies bring bowls from home.

Dishes and bowls stacked. Counters covered in plastic. Floors scrubbed. Lists in place. Folding chairs ready to unfold. Beet preserves and pickles already in the country store, made with produce from the Vang-Dennison Lutheran Church parishes’ Growing Connections Garden. Vinegar stashed in the fridge for coleslaw.

An empty lutefisk bucket from a previous supper.

An empty lutefisk bucket from a previous supper.

The lutefisk hadn’t arrived yet from Mike’s Lutefisk in Glenwood, Minnesota. But this Norwegian Lutheran church is ready for the 1,150 pounds that will feed 1,200 diners on Wednesday, October 8.

Beautiful stained glass windows grace the sanctuary.

Beautiful stained glass windows grace the sanctuary.

Not quite the 5,000 Jesus fed, but a seeming miracle for this congregation of 300 members—with a weekly attendance of 70 – 90—to prepare and serve this ethnic feast.

A view of the sanctuary from the balcony.

A view of the sanctuary from the balcony.

On the menu are lutefisk, Norwegian meatballs and gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberries, coleslaw, rolls, fruit soup, lefse, Norwegian bakings and beverages.

To feed that many requires 1,150 pounds of lutefisk, 550 pounds of meatballs, 200 pounds of butter (presumably for all that lutefisk), 600 pounds of potatoes, 36 gallons of corn, 110 pounds of coleslaw, 20 gallons of cranberry sauce, 20 gallons of fruit soup, 4,500 cups of coffee (Norwegians must drink a lot of coffee), 600 half-pints of milk, 2,600 pieces of lefse, 90 dozen buns and 2,600 Norwegian bakings.

Uffda.

Diners will receive info about Vang and its annual supper.

Diners will receive info about Vang and its annual supper like these informational sheets photographed in a basket.

Mid-day servings are at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. by reservation only. Call the church office at 507-645-6042.

Continuous evening serving runs from 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Cost is $16 for adults; $6 for 10 and under; and free for preschoolers.

The picturesque Vang Lutheran Church was built in 1896.

The picturesque Vang Lutheran Church was built in 1896.

Vang Lutheran Church, 2060 County Road 49, is located at  the corner of Goodhue County Road 49 and 20th Avenue, which is southeast of Dennison or seven miles northwest of Kenyon.

I won’t be there. I don’t like lutefisk. But apparently plenty of people do.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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23 Responses to “Calling all lutefisk lovers to Vang Lutheran Church”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    I do NOT do lutefisk!!! The rest of the menu looks awesome (I love fruit soup!!!). A huge “yes” to the Norwegian vs. coffee thing!!! It always amazes me at the gorgousness(?) of these small rural churches, considering how long ago they were built and the devotion/dedication of these farm folk to honor their God. I’m sure the meatballs are yummy, but that fish is among the small number of food items that isn’t on my “like” list!!!!

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I need to add lutefisk to my list of foods to try. I did try meal worms this weekend, after all. Lutefisk is pretty tame compared to that, most likely. 🙂

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    Uff da…that is a lot of lutefisk. I won’t be there either. My wife and I were at a turkey fry yesterday evening with friend at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ just east of Ellsworth, WI. That dinner was plenty good. Must be that time of the year; on the way home I saw a sign for a hog roast at another local church for next weekend.

  4. Beautiful church. It reminds me of the church that I was married in.

  5. Thread crazy Says:

    Oh I so remember your earlier post of “lutefisk”…I’m sure it’s an acquired taste! What a beautiful church and in the midst of the cornfields. Those beautiful stained glass windows are something to behold.

  6. Beautiful Church – Loving Your Captures of the Interior and Exterior 🙂 Nothing better than a church supper/social. Happy Week!

  7. chlost Says:

    1150 pounds of lutefusk to feed 1200 people…..about 1 pound of lutefisk per person??
    I have a lot of Norwegian heritage and there is no way I would touch the stuff. Norwegian coffee, though…..mmmmmm! It has to have the egg/shells to be the best.

  8. Jackie Says:

    The menu reminds me of grandma’s spread at Christmas time. Thanks goodness for the meatballs, mashed potato’s and gravy. NO Lutefisk for this 1/2 blooded Norwegian. This church is beautiful as are most of the “old” churches. Best of all is that it’s on a gravel road in amongst the corn fields 🙂

  9. Don Singsaas Says:

    Had the Lutefisk somehow gotten lost in shipping it sounds like a great meal. Love the Church! I wish we had some of those around where I live however, we do have some nice log Churches but sadly they are missing the surrounding corn fields.

  10. hotlyspiced Says:

    I’ve never heard of lutefisk so have certainly never tried it. Not a lot of Norwegians in these parts! The church is so beautiful and certainly deserves to have a bigger congregation. I wish them well in serving so many people – I’d be super-stressed! xx

  11. Kari Says:

    2015 lutefisk dinner will be held on Wednesday October 14th. Thanks for sharing the info from last year. Just remember always the second Wednesday in October each year!


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