On December 9th, Lutefisk Day reminds residents in Norway, Finland, and Sweden to begin preparing their lutefisk for Christmas. The day is also referred to as Anna’s Day.
In case you’re not Scandinavian, lutefisk is basically cod that gets soaked in lye. After the cod is caught, it’s dried to the point of becoming firm and leathery. To tenderize the fish and bring it back to its former condition, it gets soaked in lye. Once it’s nice and tender, the lutefisk is skinned and boned.
Finally, the fish is boiled until it reaches a gelatinous consistency. Another way to prepare lutefisk is to season it and bake it in the oven.
Some say that lutefisk tastes mildly fishy with a soapy aftertaste. Many people would say that lutefisk doesn’t smell so good. To make it more edible, some people coat the fish in beer batter and deep fry it. Despite its taste and smell, many die-hard Scandinavians still eat lutefisk. It is a Christmas tradition, after all.
Along with those in Norway, Finland, and Sweden, lutefisk is consumed in the U.S by Scandinavian Americans. One place in particular that consumes large amounts of lutefisk is Madison, Minnesota. In fact, this town has been dubbed, “the “lutefisk capital of the world.” The dish is especially popular among Lutherans. Sons of Norway organizations host annual lutefisk dinners. Lutefisk is also consumed in many parts of Canada.
HOW TO OBSERVE #LutefiskDay
On this day, many people throughout Scandinavia begin preparing their lutefisk so that it’s ready for dinner on Christmas Eve. Even if you’re not Scandinavian you can still participate in this day by:
- Reading more about the history and folklore that surrounds lutefisk.
- Looking for lutefisk recipes online and learning how to make it.
- Learning about the Scandinavian countries.
- Attending a lutefisk dinner.
Spread awareness for this food day on social media with #LutefiskDay.
LUTEFISK DAY HISTORY
During the days of the old peasant society in Sweden, it took many days to prepare for Christmas. One of the most popular Christmas dishes was fish. However, due to the icy waters, fresh fish was difficult to catch. Swedes had to make do with dried fish. To make the dried fish edible, they would first bathe it in a solution to soften it. This soaking process usually began on December 9th so that the fish would be the perfect consistency on Christmas Eve. For this reason, December 9th is known as Lutefisk Day. Since Anna is a popular name in Sweden, the day is also referred to as Anna’s Day.