Scandinavian Memories

When I was somewhat younger, Christmas Eve was spent at my Grandmothers house. We kids had a pretty good thing going - presents there, and again the next morning at home. There however was a cost associated - "Lutefisk."

For all non-scandinavians, lutefisk is one of those totally inedible national dishes that is trotted out on "festive" occasions to remind us of our ancestor`s hardships. It is dried codfish marinnated in lye (one of the main consituents of Draino) for about 6 months. This results in a jellylike thing that always sat in the middle of the dinner table.

A book I once read described lutefisk in a test like question:
Lutefisk is to food, as ______ is to fun?
A. Solaritary confinement
B. A lecture on toxic waste
C. Pain and disfigurement
Take your choice, none are quite strong enough.
Eventually I got older (saying grown-up would probably be an overstatement) and found that one actually can get away with statements such as, "it was all so good, I just don`t have any room for anything else." I was then introduced to Glugg.

Glugg is a warm wine served with cloves (many cloves) and god knows what other condiments. It is served in a coffee cup (with this stuff, styrafoam is definitely out) from which it can be sipped. After the first sip, you start looking for a plant to feed with it. Most scandinavian familys have, however, thought of this before you and removed all plants they want to live from the room. Being forced to drink the stuff, you discover one thing positive about glugg. By the end of the cup, the room has gotten warmer and brighter, and the stuff actually has begun to taste good.

That horse you see on the top of the page is called a Dala Horse (or Dalahäst, in Swedish). They are carved horses usually painted bright orange or blue and are from the town of Dalarna in Sweden. I have no idea if they have any significance. But they are a pleasant memory. My present Christmas Eve dinner is based on these times.

After he had read the above lutefisk story, I received the following statement from my cousin Paul.

" .. I have vivid memories of my father sawing the rockhard cod into pieces small enough to fit into the ceramic crock filled with water and lye in the 'cool room' behind the kitchen ... sometime after Halloween! And then watching its awful transformation into something that we were expected to eat!! So nice that children are not motivated by 'politeness'." It wasn`t all made up folks :-).

Okay...enough of this...back to the Top or Main Page.

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