Monday, May 28, 2012

Travelogue Minnesota: Lutefisk Capital Of The US

It is axiomatic that here, in Minnesota, there are two seasons: Winter and Road Construction. I am only an hour-or-so from my starting point and am already losing time due to the fact that the route my GPS is following is under construction.

I have already worked my way southwest across the state through Morris, Minnesota – home of KMRS/KKOK Radio (where I started my professional broadcasting career).  Then it was on to Madison, the self-proclaimed Lutefisk Capital of the United States.

There was a bit of fog that brought my speed way down to where it was almost like being stopped, but I was able to keep moving. And once that cleared, there have been a number of places that I have had to stop and back-track to re-route myself around closed sections of the route.

That is inconvenient, but not really “bad.” My detours around the construction zones have taken me onto some lovely, scenic small roads. My route should have taken me south from Madison – the Lac qui Parle (lake that speaks) county seat – to US highway 212 and thence into South Dakota. The problem is that 212 is obstructed by construction so I have had to back-track to a county road that would take me around the construction and back onto my route.

It is a nice day for a drive and without the detour, I would have never gotten to see this lovely vista. THIS is I love road trips!

Wherever you are today I hope that you keep moving forward!

Don Bergquist – May 28, 2012 – Lac qui Parle Country Road 16, outside Madison, Minnesota, USA


Anonymous said...

In regards to Lutefisk I came from a Swedish background and there were times around Christmas where I would be given the opportuntiy to eat Lutefisk. I would request Swedish meatballs instead so I was able to enjoy Christmas without having to eat Lutefisk. Were you forced to eat Lutefisk as a kid or did you maybe actually enjoy eating it? I remember one song about Lutefisk had a lyric that went something like "You smell so strong, you look like glue, you taste just like my overshoe. But Lutefisk, come Saturday, I think I'll eat you anyway". I think that it's success as a food in Scandanavia had something to do with the fact that you could preserve it easily which was handy before the days of refrigerators, but I'm not sure about that.

Anonymous Reader

Don Bergquist said...

Dear Anonymous Reader:

Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.

In my family, we too, are of Scandinavian extraction - at least on my Dad's side. Mom's family is from all over Europe.

I was lucky in that having a mother NOT from Scandinavian stock, she - herself - never made lutefisk so, growing-up in Miami we were not subject to it.

But on those few rare occasions when I went to Minnesota around the holidays, uff-da! Ya, sure, youbetcha - we ate lutefisk. We didn't get a choice... or rather, our choice was to serve ourselves or let our parents help us. You DID NOT want your parents to mete out the Gelatinous Fish-like substances! Especially not after a few Tom Collinses or whatever the drink of the season was!

I have not heard that song, but I do believe that you are correct. The point of lutefisk is that it keeps. It is, like beef jerky in that respect - it is a food stuff that keeps its nutritional value even after you have removed all the joy from the consumption of it!

Personally, I like what Garrison Keilor has to say about it: "Lutefisk, rumor has it, started-out as a fish; possibly cod. It is plunged into lye and then dried to preserve it and stored in the barn until it is needed. It is then boiled and covered in cream sauce in a vain attempt to kill the soap taste."

He goes on to relate that is traditionally eaten at the holidays by Scandinavians to celebrate the memory of those who have gone before in much the same way survivors of a famine might celebrate by feasting on tree bark.

Thanks again for reading and commenting. I will have to share your song with my dad!


Anonymous said...

"Oh Lutefisk" is sung to the same tune as "Oh Christmas Tree" like "Oh Luta Fisk, Oh Luta Fisk _____". You should be able to find the complete lyrics online. I'm sorry that you had to eat Luta Fisk as a kid.