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Norwegian Lutefisk Dinner at Bay View Lutheran

A traditional part of fall in Door County is the lutefisk (pronounced LEWD-uh-fisk) and meatball dinner served by the H.R. Holand Lodge of the Sons of Norway. Proceeds are used for two $500 scholarships for graduates of Door County high schools, with preference to those with some Norwegian heritage. The buffet dinner will start at 5:30 pm Saturday, Nov. 3, at Bay View Lutheran Church, 340 W. Maple St., Sturgeon Bay. The cost is $20.

Lutefisk is the national dish of Norway, often served at Christmas and other holidays. For the uninitiated, lutefisk is dried whitefish, usually cod, that has been soaked in a lye solution to rehydrate it, then rinsed many times before it is baked and served with butter, salt and pepper.

Also on the menu are other holiday foods: Norwegian meatballs (a combination of beef, veal and pork ground three times with nutmeg and allspice), boiled red potatoes, peas, rutabagas, coleslaw and lefse (soft Norwegian flatbread made of riced potatoes, butter, cream and sugar). Platters of homemade sweets will complete the meal.

Lorraine Selvick, a founder of the local Sons of Norway Lodge, traces the genesis of the dinners to a time years ago when she asked the Rev. Dan Olson, Bay View Lutheran’s pastor, if the organization could meet at the church.

“He said we were welcome, if we’d promise to hold a lutefisk dinner,” said Lorraine. And she’s the one who has volunteered to prepare the lutefisk for every one of those dinners.

In the beginning, when there were more older people with fond memories of Christmas dinners with lutefisk, she ordered 200 pounds of the dried fish from a company in Minneapolis that imports it from Norway. Today, the order is for just half that much.

“Besides those who grew up eating lutefisk on special occasions, lots of other people like it when they try it,” she said. “And for those who prefer something else, we’ll have 800 meatballs and all the other good things on the menu.”

A crowd of 100 to 125 attends each year, and seating is limited. For reservations, which are recommended, call Lorraine, 743.9600, or Muriel, 743.6298.

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