In each of the past three years I’ve partaken of lutefisk on four occasions, usually from late fall through the Christmas season. This year will be no exception.
My first lutefisk feed this year took place on Oct. 29, a Tuesday evening, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The Sons of Norway did a fabulous job.
My second lutefisk feed for 2019 was held Thursday evening of this week at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Barnesville. This annual event always takes place exactly one week before Thanksgiving.
Lutefisk meal No. 3, for lunch, will take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Viking Café in downtown Fergus Falls.
My wife Sharon will prepare her annual lutefisk feed, my fourth, closer to Christmas.
More and more lutefisk feeds also include meatballs for those who cannot work up the courage to taste lutefisk.
Rumor has it that some people about to be sentenced would take an hour of hard labor instead of being sentenced to spending one hour in a kitchen when lutefisk is being prepared.
The truth is that I didn’t care for lutefisk as a kid but have come to love it as an adult.
At home we prefer the Swedish-style lutefisk supper served with cream sauce poured over lutefisk and mashed potatoes. I also like the melted butter style seen as the Norwegian way.
My annual history
lesson on lutefisk
Each year at this time I point out that processing of lutefisk started in Norway several centuries ago.
In the mid-1880s Scandinavian 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 fish, which most Americans prefer.
You know this delicacy is done when the lutefisk is flaky and not overcooked. If the lutefisk is overcooked, you will get mush. Then you’re at the point of no return.
Methods of cooking lutefisk include boiling and baking.
Pretty soon I’ll be four for four with lutefisk feeds. That’s like four hits in four at bats. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Even after 56 years, it’s still sad thinking about the tragic death of President John F. Kennedy in a fatal shooting in Dallas, on Nov. 22, 1963.
Especially tragic is that he was only 46 when he died, leaving a wife and children only 6 and 3 years of age. Respect for JFK went across party lines.
A few Fergus Falls High School grads, and others from Otter Tail County, were among those who saw JFK speak at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks just two months before his death. The actual date for JFK at UND was Sept. 25, 1963.
JFK’s stop in North Dakota was part of a five-day journey across the United States, starting in Pennsylvania and ending in California.
After JFK’s death, in 1963, high school students in Fergus Falls promoted the establishment of Kennedy Park on the west side of town.
The park was approved by the city council and is situated south of LifeSmiles Dental and west of S. Kennedy Park Rd.
Kennedy Park is a hiking area and where people let their dogs roam, just south of the railroad tracks and close to the Otter Tail River.
Historic lights at Lake Alice
Driving around Lake Alice at night, anytime of year, is always beautiful.
Especially nice are the historic lights on the south side of the lake. You see reflections in the water during warmer months and reflections on the ice during the winter months.
Lake Alice in Fergus Falls, known as “The Lake on the Hill,” has been an attraction since the 1860s. The name honors Alice Faber, the first woman inhabitant in Fergus Falls.
Like many lakes in west-central Minnesota, Lake Alice was formed by glacial movement.
Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.