I once asked a Danish co-worker if he liked rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge) and he said no. Nor did he like lutefisk (lye fish), or some other Norwegian delicacies. "I don't eat spoiled food," he said.
Human creativity never ceases to amaze me. Who figured out that live grubs, or whole-fried flying dog, or raw seal blubber, or deap-fried spiders were edible? Or that fish damaged by lye (as in being covered in ash after a warehouse fire) could be salvaged and turned into a delicacy that currently costs USD50 (inluding refills) at a restaurant?
October to December is lutefisk-season. My department have an annual Christmas dinner at Bryggeloftet, a restaurant in the heart of Bergen that serves traditional Norwegian (and a few local) dishes, and does it very well. Some of us choose pinnekjøtt (literally: stick meat), salted and dried ribs of mutton, steamed over birch sticks (traditionally), served with mashed turnips and boiled potatoes, with akevitt and beer as the preferred beverage. Pinnekjøtt is also the traditional Christmas dinner of Western Norway and I usually have it at the departmental Christmas dinner.
This year, however, I was in the mood for lutefisk. It has such a mellow flavor, it actually tastes better than regular boiled cod. The trick is to avoid any gelatenous consistency which you get if you over-cook for more than a second. Bryggeloftet has never failed at making firm, flaky fish. Add pepper, hot mustard and bacon bits for flavor (yummy!), and serve with pea stew and boiled potatoes. Beer and akevitt to drink. My favorite akevitt is Gammel Opland.
I ate everything on my plate and did nibble a bit of seconds. Spoiled fish is a delicacy!