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Expat wanderer

Lutefisk Dinner

Do you listen to Prairie Home Companion? Have you ever heard Garrison Kieler talk about Norwegians and lutefisk?

Wikipedia gives the following definition, and if you want to see a photo or know how to prepare it, you can check on the blue Wikipedia above:

Lutefisk (lutfisk) (pronounced [lʉːtəfɪsk] in Norway, [lʉːtfɪsk] in Sweden and the Swedish-speaking areas in Finland) is a traditional dish of the Nordic countries made from stockfish (air-dried whitefish) and soda lye (lut). In Sweden, it is called lutfisk, while in Finland it is known as lipeäkala. Its name literally means “lye fish”, owing to the fact that it is made with caustic soda or potash lye.

As I was googling lutefisk, I actually found a place you can order it at and it will look like this:


You probably won’t want to. Lutefisk is what poor immigrant Norwegians used to eat through the long winters. It is cod that has been soaked in lye and then dried to preserve it. It is also incredibly smelly. If you are at all sensitive to smell, you will probably not even be able to be in the same room with lutefisk.

Why am I telling you all this? Some people find lutefisk a rare delicacy; it brings back nostalgic memories of the good old days. Only in communities with pockets of heavy Scandinavian decent will you find signs on bulletin boards like this:


November 28, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cooking, Cross Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Seattle, Travel | , , | 4 Comments