LUTEFISK. Food #4 that the Americans try is lutefisk, translated as “lye fish”. I have been curious about lutefisk ever since I heard Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion talking about it. Keillor complained that when the Italians, such as Marco Polo, went abroad they brought back spaghetti, but when the Vikings—-“My People”—went abroad, all they brought back was lutefisk.

I searched for that Garrison Keillor monologue without success, but I had no trouble confirming that Keillor had a low opinion of lutefisk. Keillor said here that: “I… have not eaten lutefisk in the past two years: avoiding lutefisk is not a problem for me. I stay busy around the holidays so that if someone invites me to a lutefisk dinner, I have an excuse….” He acknowledged, however, that there were strongly held differing opinions: “you will meet a woman and fall in love and either she will be a lutefisk person or she will not, probably depending on whether her family is pro- or con-….”

Keillor expressed his feelings more strongly here: “Every Advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat.”

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