Saturday, December 13, 2008

Klub and lutefisk- as much fun to make as they are to eat!

Okay the secret is out- no matter how hard I try to hide it - I am of Norwegian ancestry. Add to it I was raised by parents from North Dakota. (I am not admitting to been born there, in N.D. mind you), but those are the facts.

Every Christmas, American-Norwegians and American-Swedes have this ungodly ritual of eating lutefisk. We or rather I am no exception. My name is Rob and I eat lutefisk. Lutefisk, that wiggly little plate of lye soaked (I am not kidding, but not so much anymore) jellied fish. Not a big deal to eat in Norway- not on their list of Holiday Fare. But for some reason it is big in this country among Norwegian and Swedes. And for some reason it is only big at the holiday season. A little melted butter and lefse (a Norwegian flat bread, like a tortilla but made from potatoes) and you have a drippy treat. Here is the story behind lutefisk.

Now Klub (pronounced CLŪB or CLOOB) is different it is basically a potato dumpling that my family traditionally will eat on Christmas Eve. I prefer butter on it, with an unhealthy portion of side pork (side belly-in the bacon family). I never thought about the amount of butter we eat. No wonder we all have high cholesterol! The great thing about klub is it can be fried the next day at breakfast. And it will stick with you in cold weather. And boy do we eat potatoes. Klub is best made with "new" potatoes (the little red ones). We usually have rather large family gatherings to eat this stuff. Some of the next generation has learned how to make it, particularly my cousin Jan, who makes it in spite of her potato hating Irishman husband. Or maybe she makes it to spite him. Anyway Klub is one of those things that go on and on. Thank God. And thank god for IKEA for there you can get a box of instant Klub!

To The Tune of O Christmas Tree
Original Words: O Tannenbaum, Ernst Gebhard Anschutz, 1824
Adaptation by Red Stangeland
Music: O Tannenbaum, German Folk SongMIDI / Noteworthy Composer
O Christmas Tree - Notes

1. O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma,O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma.You smell so strong, you look like glue,You taste just like an overshoe,But lutefisk, come Saturday,I tink I eat you anyvay

2. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, I put you in the doorvay.I wanted you to ripen up just like they do in Norvay.A dog came by and sprinkled you.I hit him with my overshoe.O lutefisk, now I supposeI'll eat you while I hold my nose.

3. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, how well I do remember.On Christmas Eve how we'd receive our big treat of December.It wasn't turkey or fried ham.It wasn't even pickled Spam.My mother knew there was no riskIn serving buttered lutefisk.

4. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, now everyone discoversThat lutefisk and lefse make Norvegians better lovers.Now all the world can have a ball.You're better than that Geritol.O lutefisk, with brennevin [Norwegian brandy]You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

5. O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, you have a special flavor.O Lutefisk, O lutefisk, all good Norvegians savor.That slimy slab we know so wellIdentified by ghastly smell.O Lutefisk, O lutefisk,Our loyalty won't waver.


Abbie said...

Have you ever seen the New Scandinavian Cooking on PBS? The one hosted by Tina somebody (maybe Nordstrom?) has a special on Scandinavian Christmas and it's all fish! Looks like some great traditions, though!

Condo Blues said...

I think lutefisk is the reason why Scandinavians also drink Glogg this time of year. Lighting the Glogg on fire, takes away from the impending doom of eating the lutefisk!

Babskins said...

We went to the Svea Restaurant on Clark Street in Chicago where when ever any one orders the Lutefisk, the owner sings the Oh, Lutefisk song. We always remember that dish on our swedish crystal on Christmas eve. We stll serve the Swedish foods every Christmas.