Lutefisk is one of those things that you either love it or hate it. Lutefisk is dried cod. Back in “ancient” and not so ancient times before there was refrigeration, Norwegians had to think of some way to have their fish without it spoiling. The prefix lute means lye. The fish was soaked in lye and then rinsed. A meal of lutefisk was the traditional Christmas dinner for my father’s family for many years.
Now it isn’t easy to find lutefisk. In Cranfills Gap, TX, the Cranfills Gap School serves a lutefisk dinner on the first Saturday of December every year. You have to purchase tickets early. There are quite a few seating times that you can choose from. I picked an early time because we had to drive all the way back home after the dinner. When you get there you have to wait in the school gym for your number to be called. While you are waiting, the students dance .
When your number is called, you get to walk back to the school cafeteria. Everyone sits down at very long tables. The dinner is served family style. If you don’t like lutefisk, they also have turkey.
Eating lutefisk is an acquired taste. It tastes very bland. It is served with boiled potatoes. A white cream sauce and melted butter are poured over the fish. I added some salt and pepper to mine to give it some more taste. The fish has a gelatinous type texture. Some people let the fish slide down their throat like a raw oyster. I have to chew mine. Sorry, I chew raw oysters too. The idea of letting something just slide down your throat just doesn’t sound right to me.
If you need something to do before the dinner, Clifton has a Christmas event with arts and crafts and a Christmas tour. We walked around downtown Clifton and looked in a few of the antique shops. We also went to the Norse Church and cemetary and also to the Rock Church.
This is downtown Clifton.
This is the Norse Church in Norse, Texas just outside Clifton, Texas.
This is the Rock Church, just outside Cranfills Gap. I think this church is beautiful. It was built just like the churches in Norway. It has no electricity so the light inside is done by candles, oil lamps and hanging gas lamps. However, there is only one hanging gas lamp left. Only special events like weddings are done here now.
This is looking out of one of the windows in the Rock Church. Oil lamps are placed in each window to light the church up at night. It is just beautiful. This would be a beautiful place for a wedding at night!
Waiting for our number to be called in the school gym.
I was so embarrassed. I thought the bowl they passed me was the boiled potatoes but it was really the lutefisk. The only way you can tell the difference between the two is SMELL!!! I unfortunately had a cold and couldn’t smell anything. Can you pick out the lutefisk on this plate? It is to the left of the turkey.
Well, that may be a matter of opinion but you have to try it at least once. It was on my bucket list. Now I can say I ate lutefisk, just like my Norwegian ancestors did many many years ago.