Out of the doldrums: Winter Carnival in Lard Lake

Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 5:00 am

Out of the doldrums: Winter Carnival in Lard Lake

by Bill Stein

MessAge Media


Christmas came and went so quickly this year. Winter started so harshly with tons of snow and days upon days of sub zero temperatures. I shudder to think what we would be enduring if it weren’t for the curse of “Global Warming.”

Things are really looking up on the health care front; Shorty Jacobson and his wife Milly were finally able to sign on to the Affordable Care website. They were honored by the state as the first to breach the website debacle; as such, they were assured that they had a pretty good chance of buying mandatory health insurance at only a 200 percent markup from their previous policy which was deemed illegal by the feds. If it proves they actually will receive a policy, they are in great shape. If it all proves to be an illusion they will only have to pay a penalty of 1 percent of their income to not receive health insurance. This will of course increase each year until the government is satisfied that all is fair.

In light of all this wonderful news it is truly time for a community celebration, Lard Lake Winterfest.  We Lard Lakers look forward to this annual event to shake us out of the frigid doldrums and re-kindle in us the joy of our daily survival.

The Winterfest kicks off with the “King and Queen of the Slush” pageant. The pageant is held in the Warren G. Harding Memorial Pavilion. The king and queen are chosen from the many elderly Lard Lake couples. The winning couple must have been married to each other for at least 40 years or at least long enough until they start to resemble each other. Matching nose and ear hair coiffures are a big plus.

This year’s winners were Mavis and Ragnar Nisskkaninnanenn. They will spend the year representing Lard Lake at the many small town community festivals throughout the state, such as the Bulldog Lake Fishing Derby, the West Covina Quilt festival, Mudpuppy Days in Starbuck, The Cuyuna Woodtick Races and the ever popular Schnitzel fest in New Oberammergau.  

One of the highlights of the Winterfest is the Great Chili Cook Off.

I love really hot chili. I made the mistake of entering my “Double Habanero, Ghost Pepper, Alaskan Moose Chili Revenge” a few years back and almost had my Lard Lake citizenship revoked.

Unfortunately for me, the judges all hail from sturdy Finnish and Norwegian stock, going back many generations to the original settlers of Lard Lake.

A good bowl of chili would be welcome on a frozen 20-below zero night.

I hereby give you this year’s winning chili recipe:

Winter White Chili

By Thorvaldia Peterson Mattaallaamakki

2 pounds leftover lutefisk, picked over

14 Swedish meatballs in white sauce

1 sweet pickled bell pepper (warning: spicy!)

¼ sweet Vidalia onion finally chopped

One dash of ground white Malabar pepper (be careful!)

Two cans of white Great Northern beans

One pint of heavy cream

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot and cook at low setting for not less than 14 hours.

Serve with cole slaw and lime Jell-o and carrot salad.


Bill Stein has practiced dentistry in Aitkin for 40 years. He is the executive editor of Northwest Dentistry Magazine, the dental journal of the Minnesota Dental Association.


Friday, January 10, 2014 5:00 am.

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