Among other venerable traditions which I trust will be stopped by our entrance into the Atomic Age is that of serving lutefisk, a sort of desiccated codfish eaten during the holiday season by Swedes, Norwegians, and anyone else they can browbeat into eating it.
How the lutefisk business started I don't know, but I think it all began several centuries ago when a couple of starving Swedes, adrift on a raft in the middle of the Baltic sea around Christmas time, were faced with the choice of either eating a fish which had leaped aboard and died the week before or melting some old snow for nourishment. Their minds being unsettled by their ordeal, they chose the fish. How they ever talked anyone else into eating it is a mystery. There was probably blackmail involved.
They tell me lutefisk is prepared by taking a codfish, beating it to death with a club, and letting it lie out in the open until rigor mortis has set in. It is then sliced and placed in barrels of formaldehyde or some other preservative for six months, at the end of which time it is carefully examined for vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, or any other edible qualities whatever.
If none remain, the fish is packed and foisted off on screaming Swedes the world over. After having been soaked in water to the decomposition point, it is cooked and served with cream sauce and mustard, and tastes like warm cotton batting, only without the flavor.
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