This particular Bizarre food comes from Norway and Scandinavian tradition. My first experience with Lutfisk was while listening to Garrison Keillor’s News from Lake Wobegon:
“Every advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat. We did this in honor of Norwegian ancestors, much as if survivors of a famine might celebrate their deliverance by feasting on elm bark. I always felt the cold creeps as Advent approached, knowing that this dread delicacy would be put before me and I’d be told, ‘Just have a little.’ Eating a little was like vomiting a little, just as bad as a lot.”
Lutfisk is a cured fish that is made by using basic white fish and combining it with lye. This cures the fish in a way because the caustic nature of lye decreases the protein content in the fish and turns it into a gelatinous substance. Originally it was created by combining fish with the lye found in ash. Both the cold nature and the smell of the lye eroding the fish was also a deterrent to animals and to preserve the fish. It is traditionally eaten by those of scandinavian and Norwegian heritage mainly in the Midwest and canada. It is combined with many other small dishes such as rutabega, green pea soup or bacon and is rarely eaten alone.