Sometimes love is like lutefisk

Scandinavian legend around the origins of lutefisk states that St. Patrick of Ireland tried to poison the Viking invaders by serving them fish (fisk) after soaking it in lye (lut). But rather than expiring in an agonizing death, the Vikings instead declared lutefisk to be a delicacy. This history is quite a bit suspect, but one way or another, a tradition was born that today extends throughout Scandinavian culture each Christmas holiday—and especially in Lutheran church basements.

One year, when I was a little kid, my father (a Norwegian Lutheran) cooked up some lutefisk during the Christmas holidays. My brother and I each failed to choke down even a small amount, however, and we never saw it again in our house. Even as small children we found it odd that anyone would wish to eat fish soaked in what is essentially drain cleaner.

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