Lots of Lutefisk: Sons of Norway Host Annual Dinner

As has been the case for about 20 years, proceeds from this year’s Sons of Norway lutefisk and meatball dinner on Nov. 6 will fund scholarships for seniors in Door County high schools.

The buffet meal at 5:30 pm Friday, Nov. 6, at Bay View Lutheran Church, 340 W. Maple Street in Sturgeon Bay, will feature traditional Norwegian holiday food – baked lutefisk (pronounced LEWD-uh-fisk), Norwegian meatballs (for spouses who don’t love the fish), boiled red potatoes, peas, rutabagas, coleslaw, lefse (soft Norwegian flatbread made of riced potatoes, butter, cream and sugar) and platters of homemade sweets for each table.

Delane Jome, a 30-year member of the H. R. Holand Sons of Norway Lodge and editor of the organization’s newsletter, says the lutefisk they serve comes from a source in Minneapolis that imports it directly from Norway. The dried whitefish, usually cod, has been soaked in a lye solution to rehydrate it, then rinsed thoroughly before it is baked and served with butter, salt and pepper. Delane says the servers often hear, “Oh, this is the best lutefisk meal I’ve ever had!”

“It started many decades ago,” she says, “when commercial fishermen in Norway needed a way to preserve their catch. They found that the lye solution rehydrated the fish they dried. Boiled or baked, it filled the stomachs of poor Norwegians. They didn’t get sick, so the tradition continued. You either love it or hate it!

“For Norwegian families with generations of holiday traditions, lutefisk is an important part of Christmas celebrations. In some cases, it also replaces a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner and may also be served on Easter.”

Delane’s parents, like many Norwegian families, followed the tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. “After a special dinner, they’d read the Christmas story from the Bible to us,” she recalls. “Then we’d bring in the tree, decorate it and exchange gifts.” Lutefisk and lefse were always a special part of that night, a tradition handed down through generations. For people who share those memories, the Sons of Norway’s annual dinner is a popular event. A crowd of 100 to 125 is served each year.

The cost of the meal is $20. The profit is used to give two $500 scholarships each year to seniors in Door County high schools, with preference to those who have some Norwegian heritage. Reservations are recommended. Call Gail at 920.421.3141 or Muriel at 920.743.6298.



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