Stinky Foods: 5 Weird Facts About Lutefisk

Marissa Brassfield's picture
Lutefisk

This week's Stinky Foods star is lutefisk. This Norwegian delicacy is made of dried cod that's been treated with lye. Click through the pages below to learn five weird facts about lutefisk.

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1. The cod used to make lutefisk is prepared in huge outdoor drying racks.

lutefisk

After being cleaned and deboned, the cod is salted and then hung out to dry for weeks.

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2. Lye was added to the salted dried fish to improve its taste.

lutefisk

Like most cultures, early Norwegians used salt to preserve food. They soaked the cod in lye after drying it to extract the salt and supposedly improve its taste.

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3. Lutefisk has a gelatinous consistency.

lutefisk

To improve its flavor, modern cooks serve lutefisk with butter and bacon drippings or a white sauce; however, nothing can be done to improve its smell.

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4. Lutefisk is traditionally eaten at Christmas.

lutefisk

Rumor has it that the Environmental Protection Agency has classified lutefisk as a toxin, but this is false. For many Scandinavians, lutefisk is a must-have dish at Christmas.

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5. Immigrants love lutefisk more than Old Country natives.

lutefisk

Lutefisk is especially popular with immigrants to the American Midwest.