We've entered the month of Þorri. A time of celebration. Winter is still here in full force, but the promise of Spring is on the horizon. It's also the time for gathering in large numbers and feasting on all things smoked, salted, pickled, wheyed and dried!
But it's 2021 and we're living through historic times. Large gatherings are not possible this year, and while some of us may be indulging in mini Þorrablót dinners within our own homes, or attending virtual events, many of us are not able to take part. So we thought it would be nice to share a trip down memory lane in this 2014 story of a Þorrablót dinner in North Dakota.
This post was originally published in 2014 by Guest Blogger Jolene "Little Helga" Halldorson of Park River, ND.
As soon as you opened the door, you knew you were at the right place. You were at the first ICA sponsored Þorrablót, in Mountain. The aroma of hákarl (fermented shark), harðfiskur, and sour rams testicles wafted through the room, as 175 people celebrated. This was a Midwinter Viking Feast to celebrate our Icelandic heritage and pay homage to our ancestors. The foods were served just as our ancestors would have prepared them, smoked, salted, pickled, wheyed, or dried.
Sunna Furstenau holding a sign that reads:
"Always Be Yourself.
Unless you can be a VIKING. T
hen Always Be a VIKING!" Photo credit: Shirley J Olgeirson
The evening started out with a social hour. Everyone who attended was able to sample the many Icelandic foods such as, harðfiskur, hákarl, brennivín, herring and the sour rams testicles. Other foods available for those not so daring were smoked salmon, laufabrauð, melassi brauð and jólabland. During the social hour everyone mingled and greeted each other, seeing people they hadn’t seen in years. Susan Sigurdson Powers, in her traditional Icelandic Costume, entertained as she walked throughout the room playing Icelandic songs on her accordion.
Susan Sigurdson Powers.
Photo credit: Shirley J Olgeirson
Young and old were having a great time, daring each other to eat the foods of our Viking ancestors. Everyone who tried the hákarl was given a badge of honor. They wore it proudly throughout the evening, celebrating being a Viking.
I DID HÁKARL buttons were given to everyone at the Þorrablót that tried the Hákarl.
Photo by Shirley J. Olgeirson
The committee chairs Sunna Pam Furstenau, Jolene Halldorson, and Kathie Johnson welcomed the crowd. It was fun to see how many non-Icelanders were in the room to share this event with the Icelanders. The committee led the toast, to our ancestors that bravely left their homeland in search of a better life, Skal!
We had an Icelandic dinner prayer by Björk Eiríksdóttir. Then the crowd continued to feast. They enjoyed the buffet of cod, chicken, pickled red cabbage, and potato with rutabaga. The hangikjöt and rúlluypylsa sandwiches were placed at the end of the buffet, these delicious Icelandic meats were made by John E. Johnson. Kathie Johnson baked all the bread that the meat was served on. To help wash down all this great food, everyone was given a bottle of Icelandic water.
The evening continued on with a small program. The program consisted of a variety of entertainment. Curtis Olafson, ICA President read “Food Fight Duet, Sanichton, B.C.” written by Bill Holm, and Susan Sigurdson Powers, ICA Secretary read “Vinarterta” written by Bill Holm. The crowd sang and danced to the traditional Icelandic Folk song, á Sprendisandi. Merlyn Dalstad from Svold, along with his great-nephew Steve Crowston entertained the crowd with a few songs, including an Icelandic song.
Steve Crowston and Merlyn Dalsted Photo by Shirley J Olgeirson
The program ended with Helga’s girls, Junell Jonasson, Jolene Halldorson, Jeanette Gratton, and Brittney Gratton dancing on the stage as glowing Vikings.
Helga´s Girls were a hit! Photo by Shirley J Olgeirson
Dessert was brought to each table. A full platter of Icelandic goodness! The platters consisted of kleinur, vinarterta, skyr, pönnukökur, haldakökur, matrimonial bliss, and ástarpungar. It was a perfect ending to a Midwinter Viking Feast.
Abrahamson´s and LOTS of helpers get the Þorrablót dessert trays ready. Photo by Shirley J Olgeirson
After dessert, a live auction, led by auctioneer and fellow Icelander, Dennis Biliske got the excitement flowing through the room, once again. The donated items, such as a handmade Icelandic Sweater from Iceland, a pönnukökur pan with turner from Iceland, Bjornson Wine, and Matthiason Wine, 3 hangikjöt and 9 rulluypylsa were among the most sought out items. There were also many silent auction items that were bid on throughout the evening.
The evening ended with the drawing of the raffle winners. Grand Prize – round trip for two on Icelandair, was won by Luise Beringer of Grand Forks, second place - an autographed “Life in the Vast Lane” poster, by Wayne Gudmundson with $100, was won by Steve Holm, and third prize - $100, was won by Andrea Abrahamson.
The evening was a great success! The committee needs to thank the awesome baking crew: Karen Abrahamson, Jana Abrahamson, Andrea Abrahamson, Shirley Olgeirson, Rose Moore, Susan Sigurdson Powers, Kathy Thorlakson, and Loretta Bernhoft. Thank you to these people who were of huge assistance with setup and decorating: Judy and Richard Geir, Leslie Geir, Bernhoft Farm, John E. Johnson, and Megan Myrdal.
Thank you to the Cavalier Chronicle for the advertising, and to everyone who donated items for auction and to all the bidders at the auction. Special thanks to our “volunteer” table clearers. We saw many people jump in and help throughout the evening, thank you!
To learn more about the Icelandic Communities Association, visit our website at www.august2nd.com or like us on Facebook.