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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday May 27th 2024

Ingebretsen”'s Saga: A Family, A Story, A Legacy in Food An East Lake Street Saga as told through a family history and a lot of food.

By Carsten Smith

“The project took nine months. I could have had a baby in that period, but a book is much easier to care for after gestation. I”'m glad I opted for the book,” says Anne Gillespie Lewis, author of Ingebretsen”'s Saga, which is now available at Ingebretsen”'s Scandinavian Gifts. The idea for the book had been percolating for years, but a chance conversation at the store with Julie Ingebretsen, the store manager, spurred Anne and Julie into making the book a reality.

Julie Ingebretsen had often wished for the time and opportunity to put some of the many recipes shared at the store into a book. There is rarely a staff meeting or a birthday or even an obscure holiday that passes at Ingebretsen”'s that staff members don”'t pull out the stops and bring food to share with their co-workers. Julie really wanted to have some of those recipes in writing.

Anne had been coming to Ingebretsen”'s since she was a child, riding buses with her mother from the Camden neighborhood in north Minneapolis and standing in line on the sidewalk during the holidays. After a career as a journalist and authoring several books on immigrant history including Swedes in Minnesota, Anne was ready to take on a project that had the potential for being fun. She wanted to tell the story of Ingebretsen”'s and of East Lake Street.

Julie told Anne that plans were being made for a 90th anniversary celebration. Anne mentioned that she would be interested in writing a history of the iconic store, and Julie told Anne of her desire for an Ingebretsen”'s”' cookbook. There was very little to decide after that. Anne quickly began work.

“This was the best time I have ever had working on a writing project and I”'m pretty damn old. I”'ve written for a lot of years,” says Anne. She adds, “It was great to work with a bunch of women who enjoyed food as much as I do.” The staff members who helped compile recipes and information for the book looked forward to every Wednesday when Anne would come with trays of food to be tested and tasted. The cordial-tasting day was particularly enjoyable, though no one was terribly productive the rest of the afternoon.

Anne emphasizes that the recipes are not complicated. “I took recipes using traditional ingredients, updated them, and in many cases, streamlined them,” she says. “These are mostly recipes that you could prepare on a weekday.” Writing the history portion of the book was fun, too. “I really respect the Ingebretsen”'s and the Dahl”'s for their commitment to East Lake Street. They stayed here through some difficult times,” Anne says. Interviewing the elder Ingebretsen”'s provided insight on how many immigrant families got through their difficult times, adjusted to Minnesota, and began to thrive in their new homeland. “The Ingebretsen”'s story is prototypical of many families in south Minneapolis. But this story has the best food,” says Anne.

Anne Gillespie Lewis will be signing copies of Ingebretsen”'s Saga at Ingebretsen”'s Scandinavian Gifts, 1601 East Lake Street on Saturday, October 1 and October 8 from 11 to 3.

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3 Responses to “Ingebretsen”'s Saga: A Family, A Story, A Legacy in Food An East Lake Street Saga as told through a family history and a lot of food.”

  1. Kathy says:

    I want to purchase a copy of this book for a friend for Christmas but cannot attend the book signing. Where do I find a copy??? Thank you.

  2. Jonathan Miller says:

    At Ingebretsen”'s Scandinavian Gifts, 1601 East Lake Street.

  3. Kathy says:

    I want to purchase a copy of this book. I cannot find it. Please tell me where to buy it. Thanks.

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