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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Conway

North Dakota - The State with Four Forgettable Nicknames

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

Official Tourism Motto “Be Legendary”

Suggested Motto “The Oiliest Dakota!”

Two Truths and a Lie

The Recipe - Krumkake with Chokecherry Cream

The Dakota territory was home to many tribes, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara were the largest. These tribes were organized and well-armed, and they kept hold of their land while farms and towns took over nearby states. Eventually, the loss of bison and attacks from the U.S. army forced them onto reservations. Their vacated homeland, part of the previously unwanted “Great American Desert” was rebranded to attract farmers. Wheat farming in the Red River valley was especially profitable and great bonanza farms quickly made fortunes.

With the completion of the Great Northern Railroad, tens of thousands of settlers quickly poured into the new territory hoping to have similar luck. The population of North Dakota grew exponentially between 1879 and 1886. Many of these new residents were immigrants from northern Europe, Norwegians were the most common. Their culture influences the region to this day. Visitors to Minot, North Dakota can visit the Scandinavian Heritage Park and see a Norwegian Stave Church, a Swedish Dala horse, a Finnish sauna, and a Danish windmill.

I happen to own a copy of Magnus Nilsson’s “The Nordic Baking Book.” It seemed a good place to start looking for a tribute to North Dakota. An illustration of a traditional krumkake iron caught my eye. Thanks to Amazon Prime it was on my front stoop days later. Krumkake is Norwegian for “curved cake.” These traditional cookies are similar to Italian Pizzelle or American waffle cones. I flavored the batter with freshly ground cardamom, a popular spice in Northern Europe and one of my favorite flavors. It took the better part of an hour to cook, roll and cool all my krumkake. I burned myself many times in that hour, but it was worth it.

Just before serving, I filled the krumkake with whipped cream and chokecherry jam. Chokecherries are the state fruit of North Dakota. The dark berries contain a plethora of antioxidants but are so bitter, they are generally cooked into jellies, syrups, or wine for consumption. The jam was perfect here. The tartness of the berries, the richness of the cream, and the sweetness of the cookie worked so well together.

Want to experience North Dakota for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...

I have only seen North Dakota from I-29. I stopped for gas and purposefully walked to the parking lot edge and put my feet on the state’s soil, so I have been there, but barely. I regrettably have not had the pleasure of seeing anything else of the state -- not the Peace Garden on the Canadian border, not the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, nor the Art Deco capitol building in Bismarck. I have had the pleasure of reading Louise Erdrich’s award-winning novel, "The Round House." Check it out if you like dark fiction.

Time for the whole truth

In 1875, when Teddy Roosevelt was just a high school senior, Mackinac Island, became the nation’s second national park. This is not well remembered because 20 years later the land transferred control to become a Michigan state park. Theodore Roosevelt National Park was not created until 1947. (By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)

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