[Sca-cooks] lutefisk (highly offensive)

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Jan 5 05:17:50 PST 2010

On Jan 5, 2010, at 7:22 AM, Ana Valdés wrote:

> Lutefisk is a culinary abomination, dear Margaret!
> Here in Sweden Lutefisk is banned from the modern Christmas tables and only
> consumed by really old timers :)
> Ana

I'm really interested in the effect of the alkaloid on the fish, and many Americans are familiar with the effects of cooking vegetables with soda, or cooking Chinese or Korean dishes that involve marinating meats with soda. Now, while I can order Orange Beef from around the corner and within fifteen minutes get myself a nice mouthful of baking-soda-infused beef and remind myself that that's why it tastes so strange to me, and sort of compartmentalize the sensation [this tastes strange, but there's a reason, I understand why, I can deal with it, nothing wrong here, move long].

It's not clear to me why this doesn't occur with lutefisk. In all cases the claim is that the alkaloid in question is rinsed away and removed. I can still taste its presence in Orange Beef and grilled Korean short ribs, but it doesn't bother me.

In short, I wonder why people will simply ignore, as in virtual denial, the presence of a soapy taste in one food and make a fuss over it in another. Perhaps it's just an example of cuisines getting further and further from their foundations in survival?


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies."
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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