Food Traditions in Telemark County


In the Norwegian county of Telemark, traditions have been influenced by the industries that have been important there. The diet is solid; it was important that it be nourishing, and at the same time economical.

The family was a strong unit with the older and younger members together even if living in different households.
The food menu in Telemark from the last century might have looked like this:

Homemade breas and prim
Homemade breas and prim

Morran (Morning meal):
As a rule there was oven baked bread, butter, cheese, prim (soft, sweet, brown whey-cheese) and milk on the table – alternatively kalvesuss (a dish consisting of head, feet and entrails from calf, cooked in milk), hot potatoes and coffee.

Fried ham and sauce
Fried ham and sauce

Medda (Midday meal):
Often meat, pork and vegetables, flat bread and milk gruel with barley. Other variants were fried sausage and bacon with duppe (sauce) or fresh herring, buttermilk porridge or milk porridge.  Dessert was often saftsuppe (juice soup).

Herring and potatoes
Herring and potatoes

Kveldsmat (Evening meal):
Milk porridge, beer cheese, water porridge of barley flour with sour or sweet milk. Potato porridge with milk, salt herring and potatoes or cold porridge with boiled milk.

On festive occasions  grandparents were always guests, although they on a daily basis tended to themselves and stayed in the kårstue (cottage in which the retired farmer lived). Similarly, the young would arrive as guests in the cottage, or go there when they needed help from the more experienced elders.

Tveitenstua. Telemark museum
Tveitenstua. Telemark museum

The inhabitants of Telemark are generous and good people who know how to care for the old and to keep ancient traditions alive.

Food Traditions in Telemark County, written by Tor Kjolberg

Lefsekling from Telemark


  • 5 dl (2 cups) full fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 500 g (8¼ dl, 3½ cups) flour


  1. Bring milkand margarine to a boil.
  2. Pour over the flour.
  3. Stir to make a thick porridge.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Knead in flourto make a pliable dough.
  6. Divide the dough into pieces of equal size.
  7. Roll out into thin sheets and cook on a griddle , rolled side down.
  8. Immediately as the lefse are placed on the griddle, sprinkle with lukewarm water.
  9. Cook until light brown on both sides with small golden bubbles and crisp.
  10. Store in a dark, cool place.
  11. These keep well.
  12. Soften in a damp cloth.
  13. Spread with butterand sprinkle with sugar if served with coffee.