I’m a Lutheran, and when people ask what kind of Lutheran I usually respond “The Wisconsin kind.” And if they won’t let up I just start singing the Yon Yonson song till they go away.
My name is Yon Yonson
I live in Wisconsin
I work in a lumber mill there.
All the people I meet
when I walk down the street
say “Hello, what’s your name?” and I say:
My name is Yon Yonson
I live in Wisconsin…
(repeat and repeat and repeat)
I really have no idea what synod or sect or cult of Lutheran my family is. I just know that we tend to drink lots of coffee and there are usually at least two kinds of Jell-O at church gatherings. And that we secretly envy the fact that Catholics get to have hard liquor at their family get togethers.
When my mother was younger she actually used to play a game called the Lutherans versus the Catholics. They had a big dirt hill in their neighborhood and one group would gather on top of it and taunt the other until the hill was overtaken. Sort of a mini-religious uprising in the form of king of the hill. I often try to imagine what taunts they must have thrown down at each other. Did the Lutherans yell, “Yo Patrick! Is it Friday…cause I smell fish?” Did the Catholics retort with, “Must be the Lutefisk your mama made you eat for breakfast Glenn!” I bet it got ugly.
But times have changed. Nowadays you may just find the odd, stray Catholic at a Lutheran gathering. Most likely looking confused about why there’s a plate of tortillas on the buffet table. Until a kindly Lutheran explains to them that it’s actually called Lefsa and that the women spent all day in what my sister and I refer to as the “Lefsa Sweatshop” boiling and mashing potatoes to make them. And the Catholic might nod and get a light of recognition in their eyes. “You too martyr yourself to prepare food for your family!” Then they’ll hug and maybe the Catholic will pour a little whiskey into the Lutherans Styrofoam cup – normally filled only with coffee and Creamora.
And so to celebrate this modern integration, I would like to add a new recipe to the Lutheran Ladies cookbooks. A little something special to set out when you know that your grown up Lutheran son is bringing a girl named Marie Patrick Rose O’Conner home for supper.
Modern Lutheran Jell-O
A few boxes of Jell-O, you can pick any flavor. But anything other than Lime or Cherry will you get you weird looks at my house.
A Jell-O mold of some kind. If you are in a pinch you can just use a metal mixing bowl.
Step 1: Put your Jell-O mold in the freezer the night before so it’s good and chilled.
Step 2: Follow the directions on the box, mixing the powder with the hot water. Stir thoroughly!
Step 3: Add vodka instead of cold water – but reduce the amount of liquid (vodka) by 1/4 cup for every 3 ounce (small) box of Jell-O you use. This will give you a firmer set. If you want to be a showoff you can fill the mold halfway. Let it chill in the fridge overnight. Then lay a fancy schmancy fruit or colored mini marshmallow decoration down before pouring the next batch on top.
Step 4: Make a sign to keep the kids away! If they can’t read just print out a picture of Elmo with his eyes “X-ed” out near the Jell-O.