Volunteers at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Barnesville, on Nov. 15, again served lutefisk piled atop large platters.

This is an annual tradition, held every year and one week before Thanksgiving.

Family-style serving meant that true lutefisk lovers such as me could take seconds and even thirds. We did just that.

Meatballs were the alternate selection at Our Savior’s Church, for those who cannot work up the courage to partake of lutefisk. Credit goes to those who took the plunge and had a taste or two of lutefisk.

“Not bad,” said one person who lived on the edge and tasted lutefisk for the first time. “Nonetheless, I’ll stick to meatballs this evening.”

Those who drove a ways, just like the five of us to partake of lutefisk and meatballs in Barnesville, was a male foursome from Pelican Rapids.

Partaking of both lutefisk and meatballs were Pelican Rapids Mayor Brent Frazier, Rick Johnson, Phil Stotesbery and Phil’s son-in-law Mark Dokken.

Also on the menu at Our Savior’s in Barnesville, served family style and all you could eat, were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lefse and coleslaw. The final touch was pie for dessert.

When it comes to lutefisk, you either love it or you don’t.

When a lutefisk lover is at a coffee table of six or eight people, he or she is hard pressed to find another person who loves lutefisk.

I exceeded that goal on Nov. 15, the very day of the feed in Barnesville, when two of us at a Fergus Falls coffee table said we liked lutefisk.

As a kid growing up I didn’t care for lutefisk, but I love it as an adult.

Volunteers in Barnesville cook close to 700 pounds of lutefisk each year for the annual pre-Thanksgiving Day feed. Already marked down on my 2019 calendar is the Our Savior’s Nov. 21 lutefisk feed scheduled for this coming year.

My next stop for lutefisk will be the Viking Café which serves what I consider a delicacy from Thanksgiving until the lutefisk is gone, close to Christmas.

Owner Pat Shol knows I’ll probably have two servings of lutefisk on two different occasions.

Tradition of lutefisk

started in Norway

Processing lutefisk started in Norway several centuries ago as a way to preserve cod that was caught in the spring.

In the late 1800s, Scandinavia ancestors brought lutefisk to Minnesota and other areas of the Upper Midwest.

Much of today’s lutefisk is ling, a cousin of the cod. Ling processes easier and produces a whiter meat, which Americans prefer. To be table-ready requires ling to be soaked in water, then lye (also referred to as lute) and then more water.

You know it’s done when the lutefisk is flaky, and not overcooked. If you overcook the lutefisk you’ll get mush. Then you’re at the point of no return.

Methods of cooking lutefisk include boiling and baking. Many people pour melted butter or white sauce over lutefisk.

The list of ingredients for the white sauce includes butter, flour, salt, milk and a dash of pepper.

Gun control enhancements

on the agenda for 2019

Protection of the Second Amendment and steps to help control gun violence can go hand in hand, according to some newly elected members to the U.S. Congress.

Many of their constituents agree, although they are quick to add that Americans can and should always have the liberty to defend themselves.

“Many Americans are afraid to go to school, concerts and major public events due to mass shootings,” said Tom Peterson of St. Paul in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Peterson and others support mandatory waiting periods between the purchases of firearms, a national registry for all gun purchases (opposed strongly by the NRA), and more thorough background checks.

“These suggestions, nowhere near perfect, at least warrant the discussion stage,” Peterson said.

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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