Hey, for all you lutefisk lovers—here’s a list of some of the lutefisk dinners in the area. Take your pick!!!
The Capital Times
Thursday, October 13, 2005
By Mike Miller
As you get ready to plan your lutefisk eating season, which kicks off
this week with the feast at the venerable Vermont Lutheran Church, consider
Had your grandparents, parents or you decided to remain
in Norway instead of migrating to America, you would be paying about four
times as much to enjoy the annual dinner of cod soaked in a brine -- must
we say it -- that includes lye.
While prices in the southern Wisconsin lutefisk area remain in the $12
to $13 range for the all-you-can-eat (cynics would say all you can stand)
gourmet fish dinner, in southern Norway the cost is much higher.
At Alma's Spisestue in the hotel Fagerborg in Lillestorm, just a short
train hop from downtown Oslo, our reliable spies are reporting the cost
of a lutefisk dinner this year is NOK 345, up from NOK 315 last year.
That translates into roughly $53 in U.S. dollars.
There are always persistent rumors at lutefisk feeds in this country that
folks in the old country have given up eating the delightfully prepared,
aromatic cod. But that is not true and in fact, lutefisk has made such
a comeback that it is now featured in numerous upper-crust restaurants
as a seasonal special from October through the holidays.
Such top-notch restaurants as the Gamle Radhus, Stortorvets Gjestgiveri,
Handverkeren and the Annen Etage in the Hotel Continental in downtown
Oslo feature lutefisk at this time of year, with the Engebret Cafe being
perhaps the most famous lutefisk serving spot in Norway's capital city.
Aside from costs, there are some other obvious differences between lutefisk
dinners here and there, beginning with the site. While most of ours are
in church basements or Sons of Norway lodges, in Norway, restaurants are
the prime locations. And there is a marked difference in the side dishes
and beverages served with the fish. The typical lutefisk dinner in Wisconsin
features meatballs, lefse, mashed potatoes, some form of vegetable and
lots of sweets for dessert.
The restaurant fare in Norway almost always features stewed peas, or ertestuing,
as one side dish, a special type of potato called mandelpoteter, and usually
includes cheeses such as Edamer from the Netherlands or the famous Norwegian
brown goat cheese called geitost.
In Wisconsin, we top our lutefisk with melted butter and occasionally
a white cream sauce. In Norway, toppings range from bacon and melted bacon
fat to numerous types of mustard to maple syrup.
And of course, in Norway you would wash down the lutefisk with plenty
of beer and the occasional dram of aquavit, while it is nearly impossible
to find such beverages in the Lutheran church basements here.
Incidentally, the cost of the beer and aquavit is not included in the
$53 tab at Alma's Spisestue, so be prepared to fork over more. Much more.
The cost of one glass of beer in Lillestrom this summer was $8 in U.S.
But if you are content to eat your fish without any beverage
except milk or coffee, see below for the annual list of lutefisk feeds
in southern Wisconsin, with dates, prices and a sampling of the menu,
and a brief reminder that unlike in past years, you still have time to
make reservations for Saturday's dinner at the Vermont Lutheran Church.