Lutefisk tops my list of most disgusting and unusual foods I have ever eaten. As a centuries-old Scandinavian viking tradition, this dish is very popular in Norway and Sweden. It’s also the only food that has ever made me go cross-eyed and vomit upon sampling. My first and only experience was at a Scandinavian gathering in a Swedish town in Northern Wisconsin. I saw it, knew what it was, and braved the gorging of it. It was a mistake I will never forget. Any sane person who knows how it’s made would never dare to try it, but I’m crazy at times. It tastes exactly like rotten fish! For some strange reason, Scandinavians seem to love it. It’s usually re-animated in water for several days and served as a side dish or mixed in with other dishes.
Fresh cod is pulled from the ocean and prepared in lye water with a series of other homemade concoctions. First, the fish is soaked in water for a week. Then it is soaked in cold water and lye water for another couple of days. Throughout the soaking process, the fish takes on a jelly-like texture. The fish is once again soaked in saltwater for another week. Many lutefisk makers air-dry and age the fish in barrels for several years after this process. Once the lutefisk is ready to be consumed, it is re-animated in cold water for another week. Then it is rubbed with a hefty layer of salt and cooked. How someone came up with this culinary disaster is beyond me. With origins mostly unknown, it may have been used as a way to preserve fish for vikings at sea. One thing I do know is I will never eat this atrocity again.