This morning on my daily walk to Jerbanetorget, I wandered past the Norwegian restaurant Dovrehallen, as usual. Panic set in as I saw the latest addition to the menu – Lutefisk.
Yes folks, Lutefisk season has begun. Perhaps the best way to explain Lutefisk is as the Norwegian version of Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Although I have a sneaky suspicion that those who claim to love it, really don’t.
Lutefisk is basically rotting fish.
“Lutefisk is cod that has been dried in a lye solution. It looks like the desiccated cadavers of squirrels run over by trucks, but after it is soaked and reconstituted and the lye is washed out and it’s cooked, it looks more fish-related, though with lutefisk, the window of success is small. It can be tasty, but the statistics aren’t on your side. It is the hereditary delicacy of Swedes and Norwegians who serve it around the holidays, in memory of their ancestors, who ate it because they were poor. Most lutefisk is not edible by normal people. It is reminiscent of the afterbirth of a dog or the world’s largest chunk of phlegm” (from Pontoon)
“Lutefisk is not food, it is a weapon of mass destruction. It is currently the only exception for the man who ate everything. Otherwise, I am fairly liberal, I gladly eat worms and insects, but I draw the line on lutefisk” (from a Jeffrey Steingarten interview in Dagbladet)
I’m enjoying these little Lutefisk cultural interludes, so I am shall close with two more, with great thanks to the information bible that is Wikipedia.
“Well, we tried the lutefisk trick and the raccoons went away, but now we’ve got a family of Norwegians living under our house!” (from an Ole and Lena joke)