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Sons of Norway preserve cultural culinary traditions

POULSBO — A day after discovering a lost recipe for rommegrot, Anne Clark and a host of other women congregated in the Sons of Norway lodge’s kitchen to keep another tradition alive.

Instead of making sour cream porridge, the women were busy making rullpolse, which is also known as a lamb roll.

“I learned it from her,” Clark said pointing to Norma Hanson. “She and Earl (Norma’s husband) provided the corporate knowledge, and we made it.”

However, Hanson was quick to credit longtime Sons member Mabel Britness for teaching her how to make the Norwegian delicacy.

“I grew up around it, but I actually learned it from her,” Hanson said.

Because the rullpolse, which is made from beef flank steak and pork pieces, needs five to seven days to soak in a saltwater brine before it’s ready to be cooked, it is one of the first signs that Viking Fest is on its way, Jane Speer said.

“We’ll do this, then we’ll make krumkake,” Speer said. “Next week we’ll make the lefse.”

While only seven women were in the kitchen Tuesday morning, more will help out as the Viking Fest celebration approaches, she said.

“We always have this core group,” she said. “There are others who step in for other different things.”

Even though rullepolse lacks the notoriety of lutefisk and lefse, its roots are tied to the same necessity people faced before the invention of refrigerators and other modern appliances, Clark said.

“They used everything probably including the hide,” she said. “They had to find a way to make it last.”

Like its lye-soaked cod kin known as lutefisk, rullepolse is a way to preserve food and is one of the old traditional Norwegian foods that was a staple in its time, she said.

During those times, people raised or grew what they ate and had to find ways to ensure they had enough to get through the lean periods between harvests, she said.

However, the reason the Sons of Norway makes its own rullpolse is slightly different than that of the pioneers, she said.

“We used to buy it from Ballard, but it didn’t taste right,” Clark said. “We decided to make our own.”

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