By Kregg P.J. Jorgenson *
Posted March 30, 2008
Most academics are under the impression that 8th,
9th and 10th century Vikings invaded
Ireland, Scotland, and France in search of wealth, status or
Being of Danish and Norwegian descent I know this is
The simple and most obvious truth was that my ancestors
cranked up their longboats in search of better cuisine, tastier
seasonal seasonings, and the convenient row-thru windows when
they were pillaging the McDonald’s clan.
It’s true. In fact, three rune related recipes were
recently discovered in the coastal
Yasureyabetcha, Norway shedding some insight to the frustrating
foodstuffs of the Berserkers.
Recipes #1: Fish in a white sauce.
Recipe # 2: White sauce with fish.
Recipe # 3: Fish, white sauce and (wait for it…)
small green peas.
Okay, so there’s no coastal village in
Yasureyabetcha but any American or Canadian of Nordic descent
will tell you that these are still Scandinavian staples as is
the culinary challenged taste treat known as Lutefisk.
While there are those who swear that Lutefisk is a
fine Nordic dish served on holidays others who have tasted the
jellified fish concoction (and do a little swearing of their
own) say that the only good thing about most Lutefisk
recipes is the redeeming final step that reads: ‘add lots of
butter.’ The butter, by the way, while making the Lutefisk
marginally tolerable, does a lot to help mask its odious odor as
“The smell alone can take the paint of a Volvo at ten
meters,” said a friend of Swedish extraction when I mentioned
“You’re exaggerating,” I said and after a long pause he
“You’re right. It’s more like five meters.”
Here’s why he believes that’s the case.
“Basically,” he said, “Lutefisk is dried cod fish
soaked for four or five days in water, then soaked with in water
and lye for several more days, then back to a good soak again
with water to keep the mix from turning into soap.”
“Picture an Irish Spring commercial only without any good
looking woman saying ‘Ya, and I like it too!’ Anyway, you soak
it until the Lutefisk has the same smell and consistency
of frozen fisherman’s flem, then it’s ready. That mental image
tantalizes the taste buds, does it?”
If you’ve ever caught a whiff of Lutefisk or tasted
it without butter then you know the description wasn’t all that
far off especially if the fisherman in question was chewing on a
cube of salt free butter.
Finally to prove my point about the Vikings I offer up an
old Scandinavian cookbook that a relative gave me and in it -and
I’m not making this up- was a recipe for Lutefisk
Ya sure, there it was, the recipe for Lutefisk
Pudding in four easy to follow steps.
Here is the list of ingredients: ¾ cups of white rice, two
cups of cooked Lutefisk, two eggs, and two cups of cream.
Step One: Cook rice in salted boiling water.
Step Two: Mix rice and Lutefisk together.
Step Three: Add in butter, cream, salt and pepper to taste.
Step Four: Bake in a buttered dish and serve with butter.
A final sentence with this recipe claims that this is a
good way to use up any leftover Lutefisk which begs the
Won’t there always be leftover Lutefisk?
* Kregg P.J. Jorgenson
is the author of the travel book
Don't Mind Me, I'm Just Passing Through
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