Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 3-19-12 |

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 3-19-12

From time to time over the years I’ve written on the subject of lutefisk. Having been married to a Scandinavian who considered the dish a treat (otherwise he was normal), I was introduced to the stuff at various functions. Picture a roomful of Scandihoovians slurping chalk-white gelatinous fish meat that has the flavor of library paste. To overcome the paste taste, boatloads of melted butter may be poured over the stuff.

Jokes about lutefisk preparation, cooking and eating abound. (Not hard to figure out why).

Recently, there was a long poem titled Lutefisk Lament in the monthly publication Best of Times. The poem was written in the fashion of “The Night Before Christmas.” The Best of Times editor said the author was unknown. (Did I write it? No, but I wish I had).

Which leads me to offer apologies for the following lutefisk-ish verses written (by me, I confess) in Haiku form. The dictionary defines Haiku as: A major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Ah, so.

Requiem for Lutefisk

Lutefisk is made

From codfish soaked five full days

Change water daily.

Saturated fish

In lye-water combo soaks

Fish meat bloats up plump.

Protein decreases

Fish meat turns gelatinous

Caustic, the result.

Soak again six days

In water cold, change daily

Prepare for cooking.

Water-logged cod fish

Must cook carefully or else

Meat falls to pieces.

Spread salt over fish

Half an hour before cooking

Rinse and plunk in pot.

Fish in water hot

Boil covered for five minutes

When translucent, serve.

Side dishes served with

Lutefisk might be peas or

Rutabaga, mashed.

Meatballs on the plate

And potatoes, lefse, too

With the fishy glop.

Melted butter poured

Over chalky stuff can help

Slide it past the tongue.


Poke fun at lutefisk but

Swear tis food divine.

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