Legacy of lutefisk

Arts & Culture Nikki Tundel · ·

1 The basement of the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis, Minn., is packed with fully set tables in anticipation for the annual lutefisk dinner. The church offers a series of seatings -- 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. On November 23, 2013, all three dinners were sold out. 
2 Hans Sandom has been preparing lutefisk at Mindekirken's annual event for 12 years. "The cooking time is tricky," said Sandom. "It can go from solid fish to soup in a matter of seconds." 
3 Darlene Nordos stirs a traditional white sauce that's served with the fish. "Don't ever eat cold lutefisk," advised Nordos. "If that's your first encounter, you'll never want to eat it again." 
4 Attendees line up to enter the dining room for Mindekirken's annual lutefisk dinner on November 23, 2013. 
5 This group calls itself the Lutefisk Club. Its dozen members attend at least one lutefisk dinner a month between October and March. 
6 Volunteers at Mindekirken's annual lutefisk dinner served 450 pounds of fish to approximately 500 guests on November 23, 2013. 
7 Einar Sandom leans over one of four boiling pots of potatoes. Along with lutefisk, the church served 200 pounds of potatoes and 90 pounds of coleslaw on November 23, 2013. 
8 "I'll be polite," said Cathy Aaseng (right). "The lutefisk wasn't quite as bad as I remembered it. But I would prefer not eating it." 
9 Those arriving early for lutefisk dinner gather in the pews to watch old footage showcasing winter life in Norway. 
10 "I go to about 10 lutefisk dinners every year," said Jon Pederson (right), who enjoyed six plates full of fish at the Norweigan church. "This is head and shoulders above the rest." 
11 Butter is the primary condiment for lutefisk. 
12 Janet Ulvin (left) said her goal is to make Mindekirken's annual lutefisk dinner an annual family event. 
13 Ella Friendt tastes lutefisk for the first time on November 23, 2013. "No, I didn't like it," she said. "Thank goodness it just kinda slid down my throat." 
14 Nancy Enstad's advice was to "eat the meatballs, not the fish." 
15 More than 500 people attended the lutefisk dinner on November 23, 2013, in Minneapolis, Minn. The vast majority wore Scandinavian sweaters. 
16 Some lutefisk lovers brought their own condiments, including bacon bits and powdered mustard. 
17 Mindekirken has been around for 93 years. Nearly every one of those years, it has held a lutefisk dinner.