Despite what you might think, Eating Las Vegas is not only about hanging out with high falutin’ chefs at fancy restaurants. Sometimes, our staff loves to mingle with everyday folks and partake of more down-to-earth vittles.
And you don’t get much more down-to-earth than lutefisk.
According to Culinaria (Könemann Press 1995), lutefisk is the most popular way of preparing dried cod in Norway. First the fish is dried, then soaked in a lye of beech ash for several days — losing its smell in the process but not its nutritional value — before being soaked again in fresh water before being baked. The effect is to create something akin to tasteless fish jelly, which, if you dress it with enough melted butter and/or a basic cream sauce, is quite palatable…in a tasteless-gelatinous-fish-filet-sort-of-way.
In other words, like much of the Scandinavian diet, it is a foodstuff invented not for flavor, but to prevent starvation.
That doesn’t mean eating it can’t be a ton of fun, and every year, our very own Sons of Norway give a winter dinner to celebrate their Viking heritage and all of those great, hearty, barely edible traditions of the Great White North.
Emcee Erik “Lars” Pappa, kept things rolling and even had ELV critique the food…which we found much less slimy than our last lutefisk. As we told the hundreds in attendance, it wasn’t as gelatinous as our latent lutefisk memories recalled…and melted butter can cover a lot of sins.
We even got to sing the lutefisk song…how cool is that?
O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk (sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum)
1. O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma,
O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma.
You smell so strong, you look like glue,
You taste just like an overshoe,
But lutefisk, come Saturday,
I tink I eat you anyvay
2. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, I put you in the doorvay.
I wanted you to ripen up just like they do in Norvay.
A dog came by and sprinkled you.
I hit him with my overshoe.
O lutefisk, now I suppose
I’ll eat you while I hold my nose.
3. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, how well I do remember.
On Christmas Eve how we’d receive our big treat of December.
It wasn’t turkey or fried ham.
It wasn’t even pickled Spam.
My mother knew there was no risk
In serving buttered lutefisk.
4. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, now everyone discovers
That lutefisk and lefse make Norvegians better lovers.
Now all the world can have a ball.
You’re better than that Geritol.
O lutefisk, with brennevin [Norwegian brandy]
You make me feel like Errol Flynn.
5. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, you have a special flavor.
O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, all good Norvegians savor.
That slimy slab we know so well
Identified by ghastly smell.
O Lutefisk, O lutefisk,
Our loyalty won’t waver.
We also now know our one and only Norwegian joke (courtesy of that fabulously funny Norwegian Jew, Max ”Svend” Jacobson – who was also in attendance):
Question: What does a Norwegian girl say after sex?
Answer: Thanks guys!
And tusen takk (thank you very much) to Erik Pappa and the Sons of Norway for letting us lap up our latent lust for lutefisk!
Lutefisk Hotline 1.800.882.0212