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What’s that smell, did the fish factory explode?

It’s Lutefisk is what it is and the Pondera Valley Lutheran Church in Conrad is inviting everyone to their lutefisk and meatball dinner tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) from one until 5. There are actually two spellings and numerous odors from the infamous lutefisk. The Norwegians spell it “lutefisk while the Sweedish believe that it is spelled “lutfisk. You may have smelled it before or even eaten it before, but do you know how they make this odorous treat? It’s made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish…not to be confused with Whitefish, Montana) or dried/salted whitefish and lye. If nothing else, I believe that the lye probably preserves it for the ages. It’s name literally means “lye fish”. The actual origin of this famous “fish dish” is unknown. One legend is that at one time, there was an accidental dropping of fish into a lye bucket or sodden wood ash containing lye under a drying rack. Another legend claims the practice enabled storing fish outdoors. Cold temperature acted as a preservative and the lye deterred wild animals from eating the fish.Who really knows! I do know this…that Madison, Minnesota has dubbed itself the “lutefisk capital of the world” as well as claiming the largest per capita consumption of this fish with the strong, pungent odor and I’m considering getting a bunch of my listeners together and going on a bus trip to Madison some weekend. In the meantime, you’re all invited to the lutefisk and meatball dinner Saturday afternoon at the Pondera Valley Lutheran Church in Conrad. “Hold the lutefisk, I’ll take a second helping of the meatloaf!

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