The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Bring on the Christmas Lutefisk

The following was printed 28 December 2002 - The Norway Post

In a Christmas Day feature, "The New York Times" claims that the Norwegian delicacy of the Christmas Season, the Lutefisk (lye-cured cod) splits US families, particularly when only one partner is of Norwegian descent.

"All along the lutefisk zone - a vast swath of the US, stretching from Chicago to Seattle - it is again the season to rejoice in, and quarrel over, a food that stinks up hundreds of Lutheran church basements and injects menu-planning torment into hundreds of thousands of mixed marriages", NY Times reporter Blaine Harden writes.

The paper tells the story of Allen Vevang, an undertaker of Norwegian ancestry, who had to enjoy his annual lutefisk dinner in solitude at Pearson's Restaurant in Minneapolis, an institution that caters to the seasonal cravings of Scandinavian-Americans.

If Charlotte, his wife of 30 years would join him, Vevang says, he would be filled with joy. But Charlotte (of German descent) refuses, as long as lutefisk is on the menu.

Despite the strained relations in some families, more lutefisk is consumed in the US than in Norway. Annually, Americans put away around 500 tonnes of the dried cod which is soaked in water and potash lye, the paper writes.

Posted on the Christmas International Group, January 12, 2003


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