Believe me, you don’t run a website and a flock of social media pages about a topic unless you really, really like it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some quirks that may cause the occasional raised eyebrow!
Some items from Norway traditional foods may be somewhat of an, shall we say, acquired taste.
We are looking for your input!
- Click thumbs up if you like an item, or would at least try it with a smile.
- Click thumbs down if you dislike it, or would need some serious motivation to get it near your face.
- Click the + or if you know about an item that should be added to the list.
- We would love your comments on Norwegian traditional foods, whether you like them or not!
Freaky Foods From Norway
I'm not saying they top the list of disgusting foods from around the world, I'm just saying that some people with a delicate constitution or a vivid imagination may take a minute to warm to the idea of eating graphically identifiable body parts or, well, let's not spoil the surprise!
Let's just get started on that list of wonderfully weird foods from Norway...
Lutefish, Lutefisk, Lutfisk... A Fish That By Any Other Name is Made With Lye
You may have seen posters for a Lutefisk dinner as a holiday event or a fundraiser for a Scandinavian club. Do you know what loo-tuh-fisk is? A whitefish, usually cod (occasionally pollock or haddock) that is air-dried outside by the shore, soaked in lye, soaked in water, soaked in lye and water, salted, then cooked. It's usually served swimming in butter.
While very mild flavored when prepared properly, lutefisk is notorious (even in Scandinavian countries) for its intensely offensive odor! Oh, yeah. All that processing with lye decreases the protein content by more than half, producing a fish dish with a jelly-like consistency.
Since there are more Norwegian-Americans in the United States (not to mention Canada, Brasil, New Zealand and elsewhere) than there are Norwegians in Norway, lutefisk is more popular around the world than in it's own country of origin.
Sursild | Pickled Herring
Norwegian Pickled Herring is called Sursild! It is raw sliced fish (traditionally, but not exclusively, herring) soaked in a vinegar brine with raw onions, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, and a few other spices. Thumbs up, you like it or would try. Thumbs down, no thanks!
Would You Gamble On Gamelost? Try the Old Cheese from Norway!
To make gamalost (GAM-mel-oost) from Norway, sour milk is curdled several days until the fermented solids are pressed into forms. These cakes of cheese are then hand rubbed over and over with a blend of molds and set aside to age a month or six.
Because of this labor-intensive process, the cheese is in scarce supply and difficult to find outside of Norway. Because of the robust aroma and flavor, a lot of people are okay with that.
They say the third try is the charm. How brave a little Viking are you? 🙂
Image: Gamalost by Quick Fix via Flickr CC by 2.0
Smalahove, Whole Sheep Head With Eyes
Learn how to eat the traditional dish Smalahove in Norway. Once you learn where the really good meat is found, you will sure love it!
Raw, Fermented Rakfisk
First you catch a fish usually trout, sometimes char, occasionally salmon or shark. Remove the blood, gills, and guts. Leave the skin, bones, fins, and head. Put it in a bucket of salt and keep it below 8° C/ 46° F for two to twelve months.
You know that fresh-like-the-sea smell that cooking shows are always talking about in relation to fish? This is not that. As described by the BBC, rakfisk smells like a combination of aged cheese and wet soccer kit.
Eat rakfisk raw on flatbread or wrapped in a lefse with raw onions and sour cream. And a drink. Actually, you could start the drinking before the eating. A sturdy beer or strong aquivit is traditional. Maybe that has contributed to the popularity of rakfisk since at least the 1300s AD.
Remember if your fish touches the dirt at any point you dramatically increase your odds of botulism as a side dish. Not recommended for people who are pregnant, nursing, or with immune disorders, for some reason...