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Lutefisk Hotline

Late last month, one of my cousins posted a photograph on my Facebook Timeline of a two-step lutefisk “recipe” (“1. Take one lutefisk, 2. Get rid of it”). Upon reading – and chuckling over – this photograph, I realized it had been so long since I last tried lutefisk, I didn’t actually remember why I didn’t like it. I decided to try it again, as an adult, to give the little fish a fair shake, er, fin flip. My family and I attended the Son’s of Norway Overtro Fjell Lodge 6-153 Lutefisk & Meatball Dinner this afternoon in Mesa. I didn’t take a deep breath or psych myself up in any way – I just picked up my fork, stuck it into the lutefisk, and ate, casually and confidently. After the first bite, I was pleasantly surprised. Lutefisk wasn’t as bad as I recalled. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad. Somewhere between bites five and eight, though, something changed. My taste buds began to protest. I let the lutefisk sit in my mouth a bit, trying to find the words to articulate what exactly the problem was. But even under this intense scrutiny, I could not figure it out: There was just something fundamentally unnatural about it. I had reached my limit. As I put down my fork, I noted an advertisement on my placemat. It was for a Lutefisk Hotline (1-800-882-0212). This piqued my interest. What kind of a hotline? For people who need help preparing lutefisk? Or for people who ate it and just can’t take it anymore? I called the number. I am sorry to say this hotline is not to be used during an emergency: It’s the phone number for Olsen Fish Company in Minneapolis, a seller of “quality herring, lutefisk and Scandinavian Products since 1910.” I reached an answering machine. My conclusion: If you decide to try lutefisk after a prolonged absence and fear you may need the support of a hotline, I recommend you wait until business hours, Monday through Friday.

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