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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Mabel Josephine (Hougestol) Lee
Date Posted: December 12/2005
Main District: Vang, Gwynne
Decades: 1890's to 1960's

Mabel Josephine Hougestol was born in Hayti, South Dakota in 1894, to Anund Hougestol and Bertha Anfinson. Her father Anund was born in Wisconsin and her mother Bertha, in Lillehammer, Norway. Mabel was the ninth in a family of fourteen children, five boys and nine girls. The long periods of drought and frequent cyclones drove these pioneers north in search of better weather. The Hougestols chose the North West Territories (later Alberta) because their mother's brother, Ole Bakken had already started a homestead in Stoney Creek. The house Ole Bakken built on his property has the distinction of being the first home built in Camrose.

The family made the move from South Dakota like many other immigrating families: by train, arriving in Wetaskiwin in 1898. Each family occupied their own railway car, which held all their belongings: foodstuffs, cooking utensils, household items, clothing and, surprisingly, their livestock as well. The trip from South Dakota to "Siding 16" took ten days.

Anund Hougestol was a devout man and practiced daily Bible reading, having taught himself to read after only four days of formal schooling. It is said he read the Bible through seven times during the course of his life. The family was raised in the Evangelical Lutheran faith and Mabel's uncle Ole Bakken, founded the Moland Lutheran church in Camrose.

After a brief stay in Stoney Creek, Mabel's parents moved to a homestead 4 miles east and 1/2 mile north of Millet, where the water was plentiful and so were the mosquitoes. The Hougestol's first house had sod floors and a sod roof to keep out the rain. The house consisted of one room and an attic, where the children would climb a ladder to go to bed. Mabel's father eventually built a lovely twelve bedroom home, with a verandah, on the family homestead to accommodate their large family. The Hougestol home became a gathering place. After school, the children would gather there and dance while Mabel's sister Emma played the mouth organ.

In the early 1900's, Mabel's father, along with two friends, cut down the trees and built a road through the bush and muskeg. It extended from ten miles north of Wetaskiwin to Wetaskiwin and is now Highway 814. This huge task was performed out of a sense of community, as none of the men received any pay from the Government. Because of the role model she had in her father, Mabel inherited a strong community spirit and served her neighbours throughout her life.

As a child, Mabel liked to go muskrat hunting with her brother Edwin. She loved horses and it was well known that she could "ride like the wind". It was Mabel and Edwin who had the job of looking after the cattle and bringing them in from pasture every day. This was not an easy job as the cows would often wander into the bush and get mixed up with the neighbours' cattle. Mabel and her siblings attended the district school which her mother Bertha had named "Sparling" School.

Mabel 's childhood friend and later her sweetheart, Elvin Lee played in the Coal Lake Band, formed in 1909. The band held their practices at the Hougestol family home. A noted feature of the Norwegian settlement of the Wang-Sparling district was its musical character. A choir and band were organized in the early years and served the area for many years. Mabel and Elvin sang in the Vang (Wang) Lutheran Church choir, where they attended church. Mabel, her father Anund, and her brother Edwin, built the fence for the Church and cemetary. Anund wove the wire for the fence and it endured for many years until the church burned down. It exemplifies how deeply the Hougestol and Lee families had their roots in the Lutheran Church.

In 1912, Mabel married her childhood sweetheart. Elvin Lee had moved with his family from South Dakota, in 1898, the same year as the Hougestols. After their marriage, Elvin and Mabel moved to the village of Gwynne where Elvin and his brother Albert Lee built a store. It was a lucrative business and some of the farm ladies would barter homemade butter for groceries. By 1914, the store was sold and Elvin moved Mabel and their two small children, Emmett and Blanche, to his quarter-section farm, where, in 1918, he built a four room house with two bedrooms. Mabel and Elvin eventually had a family of eight children. Seven were delivered at home by a midwife. The youngest, Andy, was born in the hospital in Wetaskiwin, ten miles from home.

Mabel and her husband enjoyed singing duets together at home and their voices harmonized beautifully. Mabel played the guitar and organ, Elvin played the bass horn and the alto horn. Band practices took place twice a week with Elvin and his brother Albert participating. They played at picnics and special occasions throughout the area. The Coal Lake Boys Band was started in 1924 and often held band practice at the Lee home. Their two sons Emmett and Dennis played in the band. In 1926, girls were allowed and their daughter Doris joined in with her saxophone. There were often four instruments playing four different pieces at one time in the Lees' small house with no complaint from the supportive parents. Mabel, being a very social person, put up with all the band practices, even providing hot cocoa and some of her great baking afterwards.

The winter of 1924 brought tragedy to the Lee family when their daughter Blanche was killed in a sleigh accident at the age of ten years. Mabel saved baby Forest, who was one and a half years at the time, by throwing him into a snow bank. He was securely wrapped and swaddled in blankets and escaped injury. In October, 1945 Mabel lost another child when her son Dennis, age 28, was killed in a tractor accident, leaving a wife and small son.

During the years spent on the farm, Mabel often cooked for a threshing crew of up to twenty-two men during harvest time. Breakfast at 6:00 am, lunch taken to the fields at 10:00 am, dinner at noon, afternoon lunch at 3:00 pm, and supper at 6:00 pm. Mabel would bake all the bread and pies. Doughnuts by the dozens were put in a lined wash tub. One of her children would have the job of turning the doughnuts over in the boiling oil.

In 1928, Mabel and Elvin founded the Moose Lodge and the Women of the Moose Lodge in Wetaskiwin. Elvin was the first Governor, Mabel, the first Senior Regent and both were charter members. In order to raise money, the Women of the Moose held many sales, bazaars and teas. The Moose Lodge donated regularly to the Red Cross, CNIB, cancer and polio funds as well as any other worthy organizations. Mabel and Elvin's picture has been painted on the building in the form of a mural honouring the couple as founding members and for all the volunteer hours they donated to the Moose Lodge.

Mabel's oldest son Emmett entered Olds College and, after completing a two year Mechanics course, he received his mechanics license. In 1932 Elvin sold the family farm and moved the family to Gwynne, where he started a service station with Emmett as the mechanic. The business expanded and eventually, two more sons joined the staff. The service station was so successful that by 1940 there were four families living well from that little enterprise. In 1962, just before Mabel and Elvin's 50th wedding anniversary, the business was sold, after thirty years of operation.

Friends and family were always welcomed into the Lee home. During the Depression, many strangers enjoyed Mabel's boundless hospitality, as none were turned away from her door without a good, hot meal. Along with being a busy farm wife and raising a family, she always found time to serve others. She was very concerned for the sick and offered her nursing skills to anyone who was ill or shut in at home and needed her assistance. She regularly paid visits to the sick in the hospital.

Mabel's involvement in the community seemed endless as was her volunteer spirit. She had taken a Red Cross course and was a willing nurse to anyone who needed her compassionate care. Over the years, her knitting and home made quilts found their way overseas to the needy. In keeping with her passion for helping others, Mabel was a member of the Wang Ladies Aid. She also was very active in the Sunshine Ladies Club in Gwynne, whose sole mission was to serve the less fortunate in the community.

Complimenting her other community activities, Mabel was an active member in the United Farmers of Alberta with her husband, Elvin. In June 1962, Mabel and Elvin celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Mabel passed away at the age of 71 on December 5, 1965 from cancer and congestive heart failure.

Further Articles regarding Mabel Lee:

The Elvin and Mabel LEE Family
by: daughter of Mabel, Rhoda Lee Hagstrom

In 1900, Mabel's future husband, Elvin Lee, his mother, his brother Oscar and sisters, Hilda and Ida, came to Wang one year after his father, Andrew Lee and two other brothers, Albert Lee and Henry Lee.

Elvin was originally spelled with an "A", but there became so many "A. Lees" that he changed it to an "E". Elvin worked with his family clearing land, bought, trained and sold horses, and was good at mechanics. At one time, Dad, his brother Albert Lee, along with Frank McCann and Milburn Ray, tried very had to get a patent for a stooking machine which they had invented. It worked by setting up stooks mechanically instead of by hand. They had a demonstration and sold shares for $25.00 per share. A lot of money was needed to patent it, etc. but it was finally given up. Then they took a horse training course from Mr. Barry, but not much money in that, so next tried a puff machine, for making puffed wheat and also Sweet Heart Cereal. Helpers were Ernest Taje and Helmer Furness and packers were Albert Lee's daughters Zermah (Gerard) and Lois (Johnson). These cereals were then delivered to the stores. They were set up on the Albert Lee farm.

Fun times included picnics, baseball and band. A brass band was organized in 1907 with Albert and Elvin participating. (Bernice Pluim has a picture of the band.) They played at picnics locally, and also at Wetaskiwin, Camrose, Leduc, Millet, New Norway and Gwynne. In 1910 they welcomed Prime Minister of Canada, Sir Wilfred Laurier at the Wetaskiwin train depot when he was touring the West by special train.

In 1912, Elvin married his childhood sweetheart, Mabel Hougestol. They moved to Gwynne where Elvin and Albert built a store which they ran until 1914.

Emmett was born in 1912, Blanch in 1914; then they moved back to Wang and lived in a red house on Andrew's farm, vacated by Peter Tusty and family, who had moved to Gwynne.

Iva Doris was born in 1915, Orval Dennis in 1917 and Rhoda in 1918. Velma Bernice was born October 1921 and Forest Elwood in April 1923.

Also in 1918, a four room house was built and the family moved in. There was no basement, just a cellar dug to keep potatoes, vegetables and canned goods. Also eggs, gathered in summer months, were kept in water glass for winter use, as the chickens refused to lay eggs in winter due to the poor housing. Wild duck eggs were used for baking at first, until our chicken flocks gradually grew.

Our meat consisted of wild goose, duck, prairie chicken, as well as bear, jack and bush rabbit, deer, moose and porcupine. Fur hides were taken from bear, beaver, muskrat, lynx, bobcat, mink and moose. There were no buffalo around, only buffalo skulls and trails left behind. There were stone arrowheads, stone hammers and Indian trails found. Berries were dried and used in many ways or were cooked and put into crocks, or boiled and sealed without sugar. If sugar or honey were available, jellies and jams could be made. Chokecherries were used for pancake syrup; dew berries, strawberries, rose hips (for jam and tea), raspberries, pin cherries, cranberries, blueberries, currants (red and black), and saskatoon berries were welcome fare.

The Government paid bounty in the 1930's on gopher tails, magpie feet and crows feet. We could get 1 cent for each tail and 5 cents for each pair of feet.

With hard times, our father Anund took to Indian tobacco. We children took the bark from the Red Willow and made fine shavings, allowed them to dry, then they went into father's pipe. This was the type of tobacco used to smoke the peace pipe by the Indians.

Undies were made from flour sacks and we went barefoot all summer to save on shoes.

We enjoyed mush made from our own white flour, boiled in milk with a little cinnamon, sugar and butter on top.

Our parents drank barley coffee during the war (WWII).

We wore home knit stockings, moose hide moccasins, and rubbers and long underwear were worn by both girls and boys in winter. Men wore high felt socks with boots or rubbers.

There were also the "German" socks which were baggy wool socks with a drawstring that was pulled and tied below the knee.

On Dec. 7, 1924, tragedy struck when, after a festive dinner at Didriksens, with Dad leading the horses, the sleigh with passengers, started to slide sideways down the, by now very icy, Didriksen Hill. The sleigh box rolled over and over, throwing Adolph Benson, who was trying to hold the box, many feet below the hill into a corral fence. Ten year old Blanche had tried to climb out when it started to tip, but her coat got caught and she rolled along with the sleigh box and was killed. Emmett and Dennis had walked down the hill so were okay. Mother (Mabel) threw the baby Forest into a snowbank and, being wrapped in many blankets, he was not hurt. Rhoda and Doris were able to jump from the sleigh but Rhoda sustained a broken arm and a badly skinned spine. Bernice was hit on the temple resulting in a permanent eye problem. She also had a broken collar bone, discovered several years later. Mother had a hard blow to the head and was dazed for several hours.

In June 1927, Andrew Anund Lee, named after both grandfathers was born in the Hospital which later became the Wales Hotel.

The lake was used for skating, fishing (mainly suckers!) and pleasure rowing. Skis were made from barrel staves for skiing. Ice was hauled from the lake in big chunks, in the winter, and put into a shed covered with sawdust, to keep milk and cream cool in the summer.

Spring and summer we kids rode horseback to school, three or four of us on Molly, and two on Daisey. Daisey was known to sometimes sit down in water, so the kids were sometimes wet and late for school. In winter Molly was hitched to the cutter and with blankets over our heads to keep warm, she'd take us to school.

In 1924 the Boys Band started up with Emmett and Dennis in it. In 1926, girls were allowed and Doris joined in with her saxophone. There were often 4 instruments playing 4 different pieces at one time in our small house, with no complaints from our supportive parents.

In 1928, Mom and Dad helped with the founding of the Moose Lodge in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. They were the first Governor and Senior Regent and charter members.

Every summer Grandma Hougestol (Mother Mabel's mother) came and we made cheese from the milk. There was white cheese, like cottage cheese, that was pressed and aged, and from the whey we made premost, a Norwegian spread which took 8 hours of steady stirring in a big copper boiler. A wooden paddle was used and we'd take turns standing over the stove and stirring so it wouldn't get sugery. The fire had to be slow so it wouldn't cook too quickly. It was delicious on fresh baked bread after school!

School concerts were the highlights of the year, either at Wang or joining with Sparling School, 7 miles away. Mrs. Alfred (Mary) Jevne was our pianist.

In 1932 our farm was sold to Bert Heggerud and our family moved to Gwynne. Dad and Emmett built a service station there. Dad retired and sold it in 1962.

Mom was one of the founding members of the Wang Ladies Aid and belonged to the Sunshine Ladies Club in Gwynne. Both mother and dad belonged to the United Farmers of Alberta, which later became the Farmers Union of Alberta. They were involved with the Moose Lodge and sang in the choir. Mother took a Red Cross Course and was a willing "Nurse" to anyone needing her assistance. She made many quilts over the years, using home carded wool for filling. She knitted for her family and soldiers in the war, as well as caring for and raising a large family during very difficult times.


Memories of Mabel Josephine Lee
An Amazing Mother

By Andy Lee

My mother was an amazing woman. To condense my memories down into a few short paragraphs is very hard to do, which in itself says a lot about the person she was. One could have never have had a more wonderful mother.

Mom was kind, loving, good natured and patient. She easily showed her feelings and affection towards others. You could talk to mom about anything; she was fair and very wise. She showed concern and compassion towards her family, and was the type of person who wouldn't go to sleep until all of her family was safe at home. I was always amazed at her courage and strength. When faced with tough times, especially during the depression, she never turned anyone away- her door was always open to friend, family and even strangers. She had a wonderful sense of humour and never put anyone down. But you knew she was upset or that you were in trouble when she'd start to twiddle her thumbs! She kept us kids in line though. She encouraged us to attend Sunday school and attend church and instilled strong values into each of us.

I remember sitting and listening to mom tell stories of Pioneer Days and hard times. She felt strongly about politics. She always said, "If there were more woman in Government, there'd be less wars." In her view it was terribly unfair that women were not allowed to vote in an earlier era.

Mom liked to be involved. She was loved and highly respected by members of our community. One testament of this is the mural of both my parents that graces the front of the Moose Hall in Wetaskiwin. Many happy times were spent with friends and family at picnics and other community gatherings. She enjoyed all types of music and going to dances. I remember a couple of her favourite songs were "Danny Boy" and "The Old Rugged Cross".

Mom loved gardening, wild cactus and flowers. I can still see some of her favourites planted along the house- pansies, sweet peas and irises. She loved the outdoors and animals, especially dogs and horses. She was a get-up-and-go type of lady, always eager to go for a car ride or a trip.

Mom worked very hard. She enjoyed sewing, quilting and knitting and managed to keep our large family clothed. She would tackle mountains of laundry with a smile on her face.

Not surprisingly, some of my fondest memories involve my mother's cooking! Mom cooked once a day- ALL DAY! I can still smell the fresh bread and doughnuts that would greet us when we came home from school. She loved to prepare lutefisk, pickled herring and sauerkraut. And who can forget the rows and rows of home preserves that lined the pantry shelves. Everyone was welcome into our home, especially at mealtime. She never turned anyone away. You were always welcome to a great meal at her house. During the Depression she fed more strangers than you could count.

I'll always have fond memories of Mom. The way she smiled. The way she laughed. Her wise and compassionate advice. The way she loved her family. I was truly blessed to have had such a wonderful Mother.


The Anund Hougestol Family
By: daughter Mabel Hougestol Lee
Taken from Tails & Trails of Millet Page 589 with excerpts from Hougestol History Book

Dad (Anund) was born in Jefferson County, Wisconsin March 1856 and mother Bertha (Berit) Anfinson born in Lillehammer, Gubensdohl, Norway in April 1861. She came with her parents by sailboat to the United States in 1865.

Anund Hougestol and family left Haiti (Hayti), South Dakota on May 26, 1898. We arrived in Siding 16 on June 8, 1898 and we stayed with Mr. Rosenroll Sr. for a few days until Uncle Ole Bakken, mother's brother came to help us move to Stoney Creek on Dad's homestead where the elevators later stood in Camrose. That fall Dad used his team of horses and worked on a horse-operated threshing machine from daylight till dark for $1.75/day. Oxen were also used for farm work but were not as dependable. This homestead was at SE 36 47 24 W4.

Dad and my brothers Anton and Albert Hougestol all had homesteads there. Uncle Ole Bakken had the first house in Camrose built of logs with a sod roof. In 1904 he built the Arlington Hotel and then lived there until 1905 when he moved to Banff, Alberta to try to find help for his arthritis, but died in 1906. He was also instrumental in organizing and building the Moland Lutheran Church (now the site of Messiah Lutheran) in Camrose, which was called Sparling at that time.

After eleven months on the Sparling homestead, Dad gave it up and we moved four and a half miles east of Millet, where water and good timber were plentiful. The mosquitoes were terrible, so smudges had to be made for the stock and also in the house to sleep at night. We had sod floors at first, also sod roofs to try to keep the rain out. Our first house had one room and an attic where we kids would climb a ladder to sleep. Straw was used for mattresses and covers were made of heavy twill cotton. Before our little house came into being, Mother and the three smaller children stayed at Kjos's. Our little log house was situated where the Skjel house now stands, the next homestead to ours.

In 1899 our neighbors, the Skjels were encouraged by Immigration Agent C.O. Swanson to come to Wetaskiwin from South Dakota, U.S.A. They came with their five daughters and one son; also the T. Hoyme family of what is now Camrose with four sons and two daughters, the K. Berg family with their four daughters, Andrew Weflin and Mr. & Mrs. Patrick. They all came on an immigrant train, which took one week. Each family had a railway car with their horses, cattle, machinery, furniture and personal belongings in it. There were cooking facilities for the ladies and they kept house in the railway coach. Any stops were welcome for fresh air and exercise. Mr. Patrick had a cow and kept all the families in milk.

This was, apparently, a common way of travel from South Dakota to Alberta in those days. The reason we left South Dakota was the long period of drought that dashed all hope of prosperity there. Uncle Ole Bakken had already moved to Alberta. A common practice of that era was that one or two family members would go ahead and scout the land and even apply for homesteads for them. Anund (father) and Bertha (mother) abandoned their farm and moved to Canada, a new country where there was plenty of rainfall to produce abundant crops and flourishing gardens to support their family. The frequent cyclones in South Dakota were also a deciding factor.

It took us ten days by train from Hayti, South Dakota to get to Siding 16, then horse and wagon to Sparling with Ole Bakken. This was nothing compared to our ancestors who had come from Norway (from Rauland, Vest Telemark) on a sailing ship named Colon. It took two months to cross the Atlantic arriving at Castle Gardens, New York, U.S.A. July 27, 1852. Most immigration ships sailed between the months of mid-May to mid-July - some arrived in August. Our family lived at Rock River, Wisconsin for four years, 1200 miles from New York. Then they took a steam boat up the Mississippi River to Dakota County, Minnesota to homestead at the county of Hastings. Other dwellings in the past are Northfield, Minnesota for at least fourteen years, then Hayti, South Dakota for about five years before coming to Canada. There was lots of packing and moving involved. The ancestors who came from Norway were able to bring as many belongings as would fit in two chests or trunks, plus their personal things. Foods were mostly dried and preserved, cheeses, flat breads, and such as they had to provide their own meals and prepare them on the two month journey at sea, unless there was a severe storm when they had to stay below and couldn't cook. Things often got wet then, some spoiled, most everything had to be dried out after. Many brought musical instruments to help pass the time. They also brought their cooking utensils, bedding and clothes. There were kettles, wooden bowls, eating utensils, etc. to bring as well.

Back at Wang area - one time a bear came too close to the Erik Skjel homestead and Anton Hougestol was able to shoot it. He offered Mrs. Skjel some of the meat, but she declined the offer.

There were a total of fourteen Hougestol children over the years. They were Anton, Julia, Albert, Clara, Annie, Matilda, Ida, Edwin, Mabel, Emma, Johnny, Minnie, Minna and Archie. Eleven were born in the U.S.A. and three were born in Canada.

They managed as best they could by cutting wood and hauling it to Wetaskiwin, around sloughs and bush, where they sold it to buy groceries. Sister Julia took employment in Calgary and then Wetaskiwin at the Driard Hotel for $6.00/month, before she was married, to assist the family financially. Clara went to work at Frank, Alberta and left there just a few days before the fatal Frank Slide.

Roads were basically unknown and one had to carry an axe and a large saw to cut and build as you went. Dad, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Sehlin did most of the cutting on the Range line through to Wetaskiwin without wages. Later on they received help from the government to fill in some of the sloughs by building corduroy roads of logs and filling them over with dirt. The dirt was moved by teams and small scrapers.

Once we got settled we also had our good times, such as picnics, basket socials, dances, etc. Wild fruit was plentiful - raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, (Mother put down 21 gallons in crocks in the fall), pin cherries, red and black currants, goose berries, and dewberries. We also had traplines in winter as there was no school at first.

The school problem was that there had to be so many children to start a school. There were plenty of children, but most of the homesteaders didn't want a school because it would make taxes go too high. However, in 1905 we did get a school. The walls and ceilings were calcimined, a type of white paint.

Sparling School - picture page 124, Poem by daughter Rhoda "Wang School Days" 1924-31, page 123 Hougestol Heritage Book. I remember when Dad, Ed and I built a fence around the Wang Church. It was named after Wang, Norway in the Valdres Valley.

Dad wove the wire in three inch squares. This fence remained there for many years until the Church burned.

Dad had brought seed wheat, oats, barley and some millet with him. The wheat wouldn't ripen very well as the season was too wet and the frost got it. Oats and barley did all right. Dad hauled what wheat we did get to a mill in Leduc and had it made into flour which made very dark bread. Our homestead at Millet was NE 36-47-24-W4. Mother also brought a supply of garden seeds, including flowers and her gardens did well as the soil was rich black loam.

Father built another house, later known as the Anderson House. It was partly built of logs. More rooms were added later until it was a huge twelve bedroom house. In 1929 this house, now owned by the Andersons, was struck by lightning and burned down while they were at Band practice at the Crooked Lake Community Hall.

We had picnics at Crooked Lake at Rev. Satre's place. A wagonload of young people would cross the lake on the Ferry.

We were also schooled in the Lutheran Catechism. Sometimes we would have Bible Study at our home, or at Skjel's. We would get a ride to Skjel's with Rev. Satre in his two seater cutter. We'd all get on one side and over-balance the rig and over we'd go. Rev. Satre's main concern was that he'd sometimes lose his tobacco. Often after school was over, the kids would gather at our house and dance while sister Emma played the mouth organ.

In 1910, Dad and Mother moved to Lake Demay, northeast of Camrose, where they lived until 1928 when they retired and moved to Camrose. They lived there until May 2, 1940 when Mother died and Dad then moved to west of Millet where he made his home with my brother Albert and wife Marie Fiveland Hougestol in the Porto Bello district. Dad passed away February 11, 1952. Although he only had four days of formal schooling he was self-taught, became very well-informed and could converse with professors. He read the Bible through seven times in his lifetime.

All my sisters and brothers were married, except Annie and Archie who both passed away in 1906. Annie was 20 years old and Archie 2 years old. Baby Minna was only one and a half months when she passed away on the 8th of December, 1903 at Millet, Alberta.

On 17th of April 1918, four of my brothers and sisters were married in Edmonton; two of their spouses were Wilcox's. They were Edwin and Josie Hougestol; Emma and Harold Wilcox; Johnny Hougestol and Ruby Wilcox; and Minnie and Emree Sanden.

World War I broke out in 1914, ended in 1918, followed by the Spanish Flu which killed more people than the war. People had to wear masks made out of cheesecloth or be fined, especially when they went to town or wherever there were groups of people.


Norwegian Recipes
(Many used in Mabel Hougestol Lee Story, some by ancestors today)

Preparing Lutefisk
10 lbs. of dried cod. Soak in water for 7 to 10 days or until it has softened up. Change fresh water on it every day. Then skin the fish.
To every 10 lbs of dry fish use 8 tbsp. of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and 1 tbsp. of Gilletts Lye, dissolved in boiling water and cooled. Pour over fish and cover with cold water. Keep fish well covered and leave for at least 1 days. Then pour off solution and cover with clear cold water, changing this every day for 3 days and fish will be ready for use. This may be packed and frozen.

When ready to prepare, soak in cold water.
Place lutefisk in cheese cloth and place in boiling water until fish flakes. Remove and serve with a white sauce or hot melted butter. Serve with boiled potatoes and lefsa.


Potato Dumplings or Krub
Step 1 - Grate or grind potatoes (the amount depends on the number you serve). Add salt and flour to make a batter that can be molded in your hands. Mold batter into flattened balls; place in boiling water. When dumplings are cooked, they will come to the top.

Step 2 - Fry fresh side pork until crisp. Reserve grease. Serve dumplings while hot with salt and pepper and hot grease drizzled over, with fried fresh side pork on the side. Left over dumplings can be fried for another meal.


Long Milk (Teta Milk)
This is milk which is thick and much like buttermilk or yogurt. This is kept for long periods of time and then restarted by dipping a clean handkerchief or piece of white gauze into the long milk, then drying the cloth-dipping again and drying again. It may be kept indefinitely in a clean place. To start a new batch you simply place the cloth into a small container of fresh whole milk. Then use this as a starter for a quart of milk.


Norwegian Lefsa
2 quarts potatoes, tsp. salt, 1 cup sweet cream, Flour

Method: Boil potatoes with their skins, drain, peel and mash with salt. Add other ingredients with flour to make a soft dough that can be rolled thin. Thinner than pastry - roll with a knobby rolling pin or prick and bake on top of a clean hot wood or coal stove. (Electric frying pan works very well). Turn when brown with tiny flecks. Serve with butter.


High Bush Cranberry Jelly
This fruit should be picked when yellow or just turning red, as it jells easily and may be combined with fruit lacking pectin. Stem and wash berries. Just cover with hot water and boil until soft. Put into a jelly bag of fine muslin wrung out in warm water. Allow to drain overnight. Add cup of sugar to each cup of fruit juice and boil until it tests for jelly, approximately 20 minutes. Pour into sterile jars. Place in sunny window for 2 days, then seal with parafin.


Making Butter
Take any amount of cream which has turned a bit sour and which isn't too warm. Place in churn and turn until butter is formed. If no churn is available, place in a bowl and beat with an egg beater until butter is formed. Drain buttermilk, which may be used in cakes, doughnuts, pancakes or whatever else one wishes. Then wash butter 5 or 6 times with clean cold water. When no more buttermilk is left, flavour with salt.


Preserving Eggs
Pour three pails of water over four quarts of unslashed lime and when it is cold, add 1/2 lb. of salt and one ounce of cream of tartar. Eggs covered with this liquid will keep a long time.


Water Glass for Preserving Eggs
Water glass is mixed with water, fresh eggs are put in, having the solution covering the eggs. The shells tend to become brittle and would crack when boiled, but the eggs did keep for many months. Eggs were also packed in salt, but salt tended to harden and eggs were difficult to get out of the salt.


Homemade Coffee Substitute (used during War years)
1) Take a gallon of barley, wash, drain and put into a pot on the stove with enough skimmed milk to cover grain. When it has reached the boiling point set it to the back of the stove for four or five hours. Spread the milk-soaked barley on the table or drain board and leave to drain overnight. Next morning spread same in bake pan to a thickness of inch to one inch, and bake in a hot oven until it turns to a dark brown (not burnt). Be sure to stir often. Then sprinkle with one tablespoon molasses, stirring it for two minutes while in oven. Remove from oven stirring constantly until dry. Take a gallon of wheat. Proceed as with barley. After both are done, mix together, grind and make beverage, same as coffee. Watch the pot as it boils over very easily.

2) The second method uses wheat instead of barley. The method is much the same but quantities are different. Use 5 cups wheat and sufficient milk to cover the wheat. Cook until the milk is absorbed (best use a double boiler of some sort for this). Stir cooked wheat with cup molasses and teaspoon salt and bake until very browned. Frequent stirring is recommended. Grind up the finished product. You may add some chicory when grinding up the wheat.


Putting up Berries without Sugar
Boil berries; after they are done strain if you wish, depending on the fruit. Put into jars without sugar. Be certain containers are absolutely clean. Place jars in boiler of cold water. Berries can be removed when the boiling point is reached. If you are fortunate enough to have larger fruit, you should boil for 20 to 30 minutes. A board should be placed in the bottom of the boiler to keep your jars from direct heat.

Seal jars; fruit thus prepared will be found excellent for pies, delicious to eat with cream and generally superior to sugar preserves. If air tight, the fruit will keep longer.


Pot Pie
A pot pie may be made with ducks, rabbits, squirrel or venison. Cut meat in pieces and season with pepper only. Make a light biscuit dough and plenty of it, as it is always much liked by the eater of pot pie. Roll out the dough, not very thin, and cut most of it into long squares. Butter the sides of a pot and line it with dough, nearly to the top. If you have a cured ham, lay a few slices on the bottom and then the pieces of whatever meat you have, interspersed all through with squares of dough and potatoes, pared and quartered. Pour in a quart of water. Cover the whole with a lid of dough having a slit in the center, through which the gravy will bubble up. Boil it steadily for two hours. Half an hour before you take it out, put in, through the hole in the center of the crust, some bits of butter rolled in flour, to thicken the gravy. When done, put the pie in a large dish and pour the gravy over it. If you use no ham, season with salt while making.


Milk Mush or Grout (Fern Peterson)
6 cups milk, Pinch of salt, 1 cup flour

Mix and cook in double boiler until thickened and the flour is cooked. Serve for breakfast, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar or, if you have it, Rogers syrup. Dot it with butter if you wish. Left over can be reheated or eaten cold with cinnamon and sugar, syrup or even jam, like a pudding.


Use the whey after making and removing cheese. Stir steadily in a big pot with a wooden paddle or spoon, so it doesn't get sugary. Have a slow fire so it doesn't cook too fast. This takes about 8 hours but is delicious on bread.


Norway Fruit Soup (Tina McWhirter)
pound prunes, ?cup rice - cook first, 1 cups currants, 3 tablespoons tapioca, 1 cups raisins, cup sugar, 2 fresh apples, 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cover the fruit with cold water and bring it to a boil. Allow to simmer until the fruit is soft but not mushy. Add the cooked rice to the fruit. Add tapioca. Cook until mixture is clear. Add the sugar; cook two minutes more. Set aside to cool. When thoroughly cool, add lemon juice.


Hard Tack
cup shortening, cup white flour, ? cup sugar, 1 teaspoon soda, 2 cups oatmeal, teaspoon salt, 1 cups sour milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cream shortening with sugar and add to dry mixture. Add soda to sour milk and add milk gradually. Place in a cool place several hours or overnight. Roll very thin and mark with steak hammer. Bake on a cookie pan in hot oven (375 F) until lightly browned.


Norwegian Bread Pudding (Rubber Pudding)
Bread dough for 8 buns, 1 cup granulated sugar, tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. salt, 3 c. soured cream

After bread dough has risen once, shape into 8 buns. Place in a deep pan or roasting pan and let rise one hour. Blend sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add soured cream slowly and mix well. Pour over risen buns in pan. Bake at 350 F for about 1 hour, turning once to brown both sides.


Bread Pudding 1 cup stale bread crumbs, 1/6 cup sugar, 2 cups scalded milk, ? tsp. salt, 1 egg, 2 tbsp. butter, melted, cup raisins, tsp. vanilla

Soak crumbs in milk until soft. Beat egg, add sugar and salt, combine mixtures; add butter, vanilla and raisins. Turn into a buttered pudding dish, place in a pan of hot water and bake for 1 hour @ 350 F. Serves 4 to 6.


Norwegian Pancakes
6 eggs, 1 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. sugar, 2 cups flour, 3 tbsp. butter, 2 cups milk, 1 tsp. baking powder

Break eggs into a bowl. Beat a little. Add sugar. Melt butter in frying pan and add to egg mixture alternately with milk. Have frying pan hot and pour in just enough dough to thinly cover frying pan. May be filled and rolled like a crepe.


Sandbakkels (Sand Tarts)
3 cups butter, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp. cardamon, 1 egg (well beaten), 6 cups flour, 3 tbsp. cream

Cream butter and sugar, blending well. Add well beaten egg. Add cream and lemon juice and blend again. Add cardamom and flour and work dough until well mixed. Take a small piece of dough and work in fluted sandbakkels forms, spreading dough as thin as possible. Bake @ 350 F, about 12 minutes until light tan. Cool and remove from pans, being very careful not to break the tart, as they are very fragile. This recipe makes about 125.


Fattigmann (Bow Knots)
Tender cookies, light as feathers.
6 egg yolks, 1 tsp. ground cardamom, cup sugar, 2 cups sifted flour, 1 tbsp. melted butter, tsp. salt, ? cup whipping cream, whipped

Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored; gradually beat in sugar. Gently stir in butter. Fold in whipped cream and cardamom. Sift together flour and salt; gradually fold into yolk mixture just enough to make a soft dough. Chill well. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each piece to ? inch. Cut in 3 X inch strips. Cut a slit lengthwise in center of each and pull one end through. Fry a few at a time in deep, hot fat (375) about 1 to 1 minutes, or until a very light golden brown. Drain on paper. While warm, sift a little icing sugar over. Makes about 5 dozen.
* For bowknots with points at ends, cut dough in long strips 2 inches wide, then slash diagonally at 3 inch lengths to make diamonds. Cut slit in center as above.


Cooky Tarts (Sandbakelser)
1 cup butter, 1 tsp. almond extract, 1 cup suger, 3 cups sifted flour, 1 egg

Thoroughly cream butter and sugar; add egg and beat well. Add almond extract. Stir in flour. Pinch off small ball of dough and place in center of sandbakelse mold (or use tiny foilware pans) with thumb, press evenly and very thinly over bottom and sides. Place molds on cookie sheet and bake at 350 about 12 minutes. Cool. Invert molds; top lightly. clean molds with dry cloth. Fill cookies with jam or whipped cream. Makes 5 dozen.


Herring Salad (Sillsallad)
1 pounds salt herring; 2 pared medium potatoes, cooked and finely cubed; 4 medium beets, cooked, peeled and finely cubed; 1 medium apple, pared and finely cubed; 1 tbsp. finely chopped onions; 2 medium sweet pickles, finely cubed; 1 tbsp. sugar; 2 tbsp. vinegar; tsp. white pepper; cup whipping cream, whipped - optional

Soak herring overnight in water to cover. Bone, skin and cut in small cubes. Lightly mix herring, potatoes, beets, apple, onion, pickles, sugar, vinegar and pepper. Chill. *Fold in whipped cream just before serving. Serve on appetizer tray. Garnish with sieved hard-cooked egg yolks and finely chopped hard-cooked egg whites. Makes about 6 cups of Herring salad.
*Or fold in whipped cream with other ingredients and mold in loaf pan.


North Dakota Norwegian Chokecherry Syrup
Cover berries with water. Boil up for 20 minutes. Cool. Strain through sieve. Boil juice 15 minutes. To each 4 cups juice, add 6 cups sugar. Bring to a full boil for 15 minutes, (add butter if it boils over). Pick berries for jelly when in turning stage. Very good on pancakes, waffles, etc. Try a "Western Sundae"- put on top of ice cream.


Fiske Krettang
Boil some fish in salted water (halibut preferred). Take off skin and bones and break up in small pieces. Make a thick fish sauce (recipe below). Add a little grated onion. Beat 2 eggs and add. Add fish and mix. Place in buttered baking dish, add grated zwieback (or crumbs or cheese) on top. Bake. Can be used as filling for rolled Norwegian Pancakes.


Fish Sauce
3-4 tbsp. butter; 2 cups liquid (fish stock and cream); 4 tbsp. flour; Salt and white pepper to taste

Melt butter, add flour, stir until smooth. Add liquid slowly, stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Taste, add seasonings if necessary. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Makes about 2 cups.


Roasting Pheasant
3 young pheasants; 4-6 slices fat bacon

Clean and truss birds. Tie bacon over breasts and bake in 350 F oven for 30 - 40 minutes, increasing heat to 450 F for last 10 minutes of baking. Prepare a milk gravy from drippings. Serve with cranberry jelly.

To judge Pheasant's age: 1. In the young bird, the last big feathers on the wing are pointed, in the old, rounded. 2. In the young bird, the feet are gray, with not too well developed spurs. The beak is flexible. 3. Smothering is a safe cooking method if pheasant is of uncertain age.


Indian Ice Cream
Put 1 tbsp. soapberries in a big bowl (there mustn't be a bit of grease in it). Mash berries with 2 tbsp. water and 1 tbsp. sugar or honey. Beat until it's very thick and frothy, and almost white, adding a little more water as you beat.


Bear Steak
The bear should be young and tender. Rub steak with sliced onion and spread generously with butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a hot oven, turning frequently. Cook at least 20 minutes per pound. Bear meat, when cooked, should be treated as pork.


Fried Rabbit
1. Clean rabbit; wash and soak in salt water overnight.
2. Wash rabbit again the next morning then put in a pot with enough water to cover. Add 1/4 bay leaf and the juice of 1/2 lemon; boil gently until tender.
3. Spread paper on cupboard. Take out rabbit with a fork and drain.
4. Have a pan with flour and salt in it. Roll rabbit in flour and fry in hot fat until golden brown. Allow 1 rabbit per person. September is the best month for rabbit; by November they begin to have a piney taste.


Fried Prairie Chickens
3 Prairie Chickens; Bread or cracker crumbs; 1/2 cup milk; Tiny piece bay leaf; 1 1/2 tsp. salt; 2 tbsp. grated onion; 1/4 tsp. pepper; 1 egg; 4 tbsp. flour

Wash thoroughly and disjoint chickens. Soak in milk. Add salt and pepper to flour. Remove chicken from milk, roll in flour, dip in beaten egg then in crumbs. Let stand 5 minutes. Place fat in frying pan with bay leaf and onion. When hot, but not smoking, sear chicken to golden brown. Reduce heat, cover and cook until tender (30 - 45 minutes).


Rose Hip Tea
1 - 1 tsp dried rose hips and 1 cup boiling water. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon and honey.


On behalf of Wetaskiwin Online I am pleased to offer these historical articles from the Wetaskiwin and District Museum for all our online viewers.

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Blaine Kjorlien
Board Member - Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum
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Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3


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