The tradition of eating lutefisk during the Christmas holiday season came to the U.S. during the 1800s, when it was quite common in Norway. Like many traditions from "the Old Country", the tradition is maintained here in the U.S. with great vigor, while the tradition has been replaced by more modern options for most Norwegians today. That is not to say that the tradition has disappeared - in fact, many upscale restaurants in Oslo feature the lye-soaked cod as a special part of their holiday menu. Here in the Puget Sound area, lutefisk is available widely between October and February, but you'll need to plan ahead, as you'll be hard pressed to find a restaurant serving lutefisk every night. What you can find are lutefisk dinners hosted by churches, Sons of Norway lodges, or Lions clubs. These meals offer hearty helpings of lutefisk along with melted butter or white cream to provide the fish with a little taste, often served along with meatballs, potatoes, coleslaw, lefse, or other sides. Meals are usually served family style, where your group will be seated alongside other groups at one long table, and the dishes are passed along and you can help yourself to your fill of the food available. The volunteers who prepare these meals do so with love for the tradition, and for the organization supported by the proceeds from the dinner.
If you have yet to try lutefisk, consider doing so this season, and support the folks who help carry on this tradition. Upcoming lutefisk dinners include lutefisk at the Poulsbo First Lutheran Church on October 15, and the Stanwood High School (hosted by the Lions Club) on October 30. Check out our events calendar for more details, and enjoy!