Posted by: Jim E | December 17, 2013

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

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


This post I wrote in 2010…and it starts with comments about the year before that…but that’s okay…and you will have to put up with my Minnesota/Scandinavian talk again…but it really won’t hurt you, I promise…just a little trip down memory lane for me…and for you, well, to get you to go back to your memories…stretch a little and remember…it’s where life really begins, when you begin to remember…and don’t miss the very short story at the end…it is full of  forgiveness, giving, mercy and grace…and part of small town living, that is for the most part gone…it happens here and there, but for the most part gone from our “popular culture”…so this then, if we will “remember”, is all part of your and my Christmas celebration…enjoy…

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 Ingebretsen’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, Ingebretsen’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…Ingebretsen’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 Ingebretsen’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. Great post. I enjoyed it although I am living in Finland. BTW, my wife makes world’s best meat balls. 🙂

    Have a nice day!

  2. Jim,
    Dad and I went down to Ingebretsens back in October…to beat the holiday rush. There was around 8 people there…those older Scandinavian women put up a fight at the meat market. I bought 7 rings of Swedish sausage, 3 pounds of Swedish meatball mix. I make patties out of them, and a friend of dad’s makes a meatloaf out of them. I also purchased a link of the Swedish breakfast sausage, chocolate and lingonberries.

    You can buy lingonberry jam at Cub foods up here, it was on the shelf before the holidays. Personally, I dislike lutefisk, my mom’s father told me some 40 years ago on how they make it. After you process the fish, you bring it outside and lay it next to the house. Then let the dogs urinate on it, that’s lutefisk… but the story is just a story. Some people do not realize that they use lye, which is a poison.

    I hope that your family had a wonderful Chritmas

    • Mark…Oh, ya…Ingebretsen’s…how I love that place…they say they sell about 1 ton of Swedish sausage every day during Christmas time…lines run down the block…I got a comment from someone who reads my blog about her trip to Ingebretsen’s…she took here sister from SanFranciso…quite a wakeup call for her…she couldn’t believe the cold and then the lines…we get lingonberries down here too…we get it at a specialty store…but no Swedish sausage…we will get some this summer if we get up there…I remember the story that Oscar told about lutefisk…I tried it a few times…once at your grandma Holmer’s…it was at the big family Christmas get to gether, you probably remember those…I think your Mom, Grandma and Great Grandma baked it…you would have been very young…your great grandma was still alive and living at Oscar and Helen’s…I had it there with lots of cream sauce and butter on it…it was okay…and I have tried it at some church suppers in Minneapolis…the one thing I remember is whoever tried it…as soon as they finished, if they finished, they came along and piled a whole lot more on your plate…that oozy stuff…hope your Christmas was great also…thanks…Jim

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