Posted by: Jim E | December 6, 2010

Ingebretson’s…Swedish Sausage…And A Christmas Story…

I started this blog a year ago…and one of the first posts was about our son Jess, in Minneapolis, sending us Swedish sausage from Ingebretson’s on Lake Street in South Minneapolis…and you can read that post by browsing the archives on the right of this post…it was a great moment as Jeremy and I saw that Fedex truck…and knew it was the Swedish sausage that was going toward our house…well, read it for yourself if you wish…

Ingebretson’s…they have been on that corner of Lake Street in South Minneapolis for longer than I have been alive…it was started in 1921…so that is 89 years, give or take a month here or there…I mentioned that we bought some Swedish sausage (also some meatball mix) when we were in Minneapolis this summer…we have had some at Thanksgiving and will have another “ring” at Christmas…although Swedish sausage is available all over the Twin Cities, of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Ingebretson’s is the best I have ever had…my grandparents, my parents, and now our family has had their sausage for most of that 89 years…that area of Minneapolis was filled with Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finish and Icelandic immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century…and they looked for what they had in the old country…Ingebretson’s is still run by the family…and the meat market is very busy at Christmas time…they will sell more than 7 tons of Swedish sausage in one season…in fact at the height of the Christmas season the butcher shop sells a ton (literally) of Swedish sausage and meatball mix daily…so out of that store on Lake Street not only those two meats but lutefisk, herring and all kinds of specialty items for Scandinavian tastes…like lefse and of course something I forgot to add to my post yesterday was, Lingonberries…lingonberry jam for lefse…it is so good…a tart taste but wonderful on pancakes, toast or lefse…we will have some of that when we make lefse in a few days…

One of their sayings that hits a homerun with me is: “Come to Ingebretson’s…where some things never change because some things never should.”…and, “Keeping traditions alive.”...they also are teaching Scandinavian crafts and their gift shop is wonderful…(is this an ad or what???)…okay enough…you can see I kinda like the place…I just hope you are making traditions at your home…or continuing to carry on traditions…what ever it is for you…keep it up…

So if it’s not Swedish sausage or Swedish meatballs or lefse or lutefisk…make it your traditions that will make Christmas season a special time for your family…to gather to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child…it is a family time to be shared and to share with another generation what Christmas is and is about…

I promise a Christmas story in the title…this is one I have had for some time…it is short, simple but full of what Christmas is all about and relates to all of us at some level…for me, I know the small town in the story…know the streets…and have known people who lived there…but also I grew up with a small grocery store nearby who we knew as a friend and neighbor who allowed my mom to charge groceries from time to time…(hope you enjoy this story that came from the Minneapolis Star and Tribune on December 8, 2001…sent in by Rod Broding of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, called: Paid In Full)…

I remember the winter in Lake Benton after my dad died. It was cold. Money was scarce. We had bought fuel twice already before Christmas. Mother had charged nearly $50 worth of groceries at Ernie Gieneart’s grocery store, and it bothered her.

One morning she put $10 in an envelope for me to drop off at the store on my way to school. In fact, she insisted on pinning it to my shirt so I would not lose it. I delivered the envelope, and Ernie told me to stop by after school and pick up the receipt.

When I arrived home, I gave it to Mother. She opened it and began to cry. The $10 bill was still there, along with a wad of grocery slips. On the top one was written: “Paid in full. Merry Christmas!”

Now if that doesn’t turn on some emotion…check your pulse…I have saved that story all these years…and have read or shared it every year since 2001…

May this bring memories, hope and joy…Merry Christmas…



  1. Jim,
    I don’t know if you are “homesick” for Minnesota, but you are making me homesick. I have always missed the snow.
    It just seems that at Christmas you should have snow!!!!

  2. Is this the same Lake Benton I know and love? Enjoying the holiday theme in recent blogs…keep it up.

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