Saturday, December 04, 2010

Lutefisk and Lefsa

I guess if you have Scandinavian roots, you might know what that title is all about. Saturday we attended a Lutefisk Dinner at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Mesa. It was sponsored by the Sons of Norway. No, neither of us is Norwegian. John is one-half Swedish and I am one-eighth Swedish. But all Scandinavians or people interested in eating were welcome to attend.

It is said that about half the Norwegians who immigrated to America came in order to escape the hated lutefisk, and the other half came to spread the gospel of lutefisk's wonderfulness.
- Norwegian-American saying

We arrived just before serving time and found a seat with two women with Norwegian roots

and a brother and sister with Swedish roots.

Later, another couple came and they, too were Swedish. We didn't say that too loud, of course. The Swedes and Norwegians have centuries of rivalry.

Here is my plate of food.

At about 11 on the clock is a large serving of lutefisk. That literally means lye fish. Historically, cod was soaked in a lye solution made of birch ashes after it is laid out to dry. Apparently, lye is no longer used. It is then boiled or baked, then served with white sauce or butter sauce. Mine has white sauce.

Going clockwise around my plate, there are Swedish meatballs and gravy on mashed potatoes, carrots, and lefsa. Lefsa is a very thin flat bread, not unlike either a crepe or a tortilla in texture. It is made with potatoes, cream, butter,sugar, salt and flour.

Dessert was rice pudding.

We had a great time at the dinner, especially sharing childhood memories of Scandinavian families and holiday meals that included lutefisk. Four of the people at the table were so glad to eat the lutefisk. Two people didn't even have any on their plates. John and I both wanted to try it--me for the first time, John to see if it was as bad as he remembered. It was. Neither of us will have it next year. One woman who didn't take any lutefisk on her plate told me to make sure they give me five meatballs next year, since I don't want lutefisk. One woman volunteer was wearing an apron that read, "Ignore the danger. Eat lutefish." That's not our opinion.

The meatballs, gravy and potatoes were very good and the rice pudding was delicious. Neither of us wants lutefisk again. And I prefer Swedish rye knackebrod (crisp bread) to lefsa. I think these foods take lots of childhood memories to maybe make them tasty.

A number of people attending the dinner were in traditional costumes. Don't you like the way this Scandinavian gentleman is dressed?

1 comment:

  1. I think that Rick Steves has talked many times about this dish. I think he may be Norwegian also. I've not tried this but would like to.