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O Lutefisk

(May be sung to the tune of "O Tannenbaum")

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 yust like an overshoe
But Lutefisk . . . come Saturday
I tink I'll eat you anyvay.

(. . .)

O Lutefisk . . . O Lutefisk . . . now everyone discovers
Dat Lutefisk and lefse makes . . .
Norvegians better lovers

(the song goes on). (Stangland 1993, 157)

EXPLANATION. In the US, there are many time-honoured Norwegian dishes adapted to American kitchens, and lutefisk forms part of one such dish. Lutefisk is cod treated in a lye solution and served boiled. Lefse is a thin pancake from rolled dough served buttered and folded.

These are quite cultural-iconic foods of Norwegian Americans in the "Lutefisk belt" across parts of the United States - and in other places too.

Lefse Joke

What did the Norwegian say when he saw his first pizza?

"Who threw up on that lefse?" (Stangland 1993, 27)

Lefse making is called an art form. Its goal is lefse, a thin, round pieces with not too much flour. Eating lefse and lutefisk is a tradition that Norwegian-Americans continue. Wrapping lutefisk in lefse is a Norwegian-American tradition - part of the diversified lefse ways.

At a standard ethnic fiest among Norwegian Americans you could be served lutefisk, meatballs, other balls (potato balls with bacon inside, and fish balls), rømmegraut (a sour cream porridge), and lefse.

Breads, rolls, and lefser freeze well, and flatbread keeps well in airtight containers . . .

Lefse is . . . party fare. In the last century flatbread was everyday fare; lefse belonged to the banquets and special celebrations. . . . Most lefse recipes do not require yeast . . . It used to be that some women would go from farm to farm and make enough lefse for the families to last a year. It does take a little time to make lefse; however, when it tastes that good it is worth the effort. . . . Most likely your first lefse will not be a paper-thin tasty creation. (Scott 2015, "Breads, Flatbread, Lefse, and More")


Lutefisk and lefse, song, Norwegian-American humor, Literature  

Scott, Astrid Karlsen. Authentic Norwegian Dishes: Traditional Scandinavian Cooking Made Easy. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2015.

Stangland, R. C. Red Stangland's Norwegian Home Companion. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993.

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