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Monday, December 10, 2012

Mom/adventuress...a lutefisk interlude

A lutefisk interlude…

I had meant to write about this in the archeologist post, but that post decided to spiral off in a direction that didn’t include gelatinous fish, so here it is in another post. Last Sunday our landlord invited us to attend his church’s Lutefisk Feast with him. He’s been alone out here for awhile and I think he loves having someone to drop in on and to show off the town to. Since we’d spent the weekend cleaning, we decided a break sounded great and so off we went to the Cut Bank Lutheran Church’s Lutefisk Feast. Held every year during the holidays, with proceeds benefiting the churches’ charitable endeavors, the Lutefisk Feast is a true community event. There are a sizable number of Scandinavian families that helped to settle this area so the Lutheran Church and their events are well attended. After we made the rounds and got introduced to half the people there we sat down to eat. Now, in case you have no idea what we were in store for, lutefisk is a traditional Scandinavian method of preserving cod or other whitefish. The fish is soaked in Lye, which preserves it for a long time. It is then soaked for days to get the lye out and then cooked. The resulting fish has a distinct gelatinous texture and appearance. I really wish I had taken a picture of the table, set out family style, but since I’m not fully back into blogger mode and because I was trying to wrangle two fussy, overwhelmed kids I give you this picture of a lutefisk feast plate instead, courtesy of

The lutefisk is the pale, gelatinous blob in the front left hand side of the plate. Also included on our plates were mashed rutabagas (orange shown above) a delicious cabbage slaw (above), lefse: a potato flatbread that deserves its own blog post because it is so yummy (also shown above), boiled potatoes, Swedish meatballs, and pickled herring. Everything was delicious, yes, even the lutefisk. You pour melted butter over the top and add plenty of salt and pepper. If you can get past the texture, which is very soft and mildly jello-ish then the flavor is pure cod and very good. The thing about lutefisk is, though, that you are eating it and thinking to yourself, “this isn’t bad, in fact it’s pretty good.” Then all of a sudden the texture hits you and you are done. Tim and I ate everything; Harper loved the rutabagas and the potatoes. Connor ate a roll and a bunch of cookies, but he’s 2 ½ so what are you going to do? At least he wasn’t having a complete tantrum melt down in front of everyone. You’ve got to pick your battles.

I should mention that the other fish featured, the pickled herring, was firm, not fishy, just lightly vinegary and Tim and I both ate a bunch. I kick myself for not getting the recipe because it was totally homemade. Just a nod also to the delicious cookies, anyone who has been lucky enough to experience Scandinavian cookies, specifically the rosettes (made by dipping a hot flower shaped iron in thin batter and frying it in oil so they come out as these light, crispy shells that are covered in powdered sugar) and the krumkake (like a tuille cookie cooked on a special waffle iron and then bent around a cone, often filled with something else, like a Swedish cannoli) knows what I am talking about, so good!

So far we are really enjoying it here in Montana; we have met lovely people and enjoyed some unique events. I look forward to what else this community has to offer. And next year I’m totally getting the recipe for that pickled herring.

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