Lutefisk Defined

Your great-grandma’s gelatinous delicacy


noun: loo•tah•fisk

A vile, vile lye-soaked whitefish that only your great-grandma—who no longer has any taste buds—enjoys. It is gelatinous and fecund, like something a cow with pneumonia might cough up. A few misguided folks with Swedish and Norwegian ancestry consider it to be a delicacy, but only because they are blinded by cultural pride. If someone serves lutefisk three days prior to your arrival, you’ll know. The smell soaks into the drywall. If you empty a wheelbarrow of butter, cream sauce, or salt and pepper on it, it might be edible. But as is the case with rhubarb or zucchini, if you can’t choke it down without covering up the flavor—why bother? (For more on this local tradition, check out our feature “Swedish Fish.”)