Countless cultures have a strongly flavored food that’s part rite of passage, part food dare.
The Japanese have the slimy, fermented soybean natto roll.
The Southeast Asian cultures love introducing the young to the stinky fruit called durian that’s so noxious, it’s banned from subways.
For Sweden, it’s barrel-fermented surströmming, a herring so strong, it’s eaten outdoors.
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In Norway? The food dare — rite of passage — would be lutefisk.
That’s a stinky fish that’s a true Norwegian delicacy: dried cod preserved in lye that is baked or boiled. It’s usually served with white sauce or butter. It has a gelatinous texture with a distinctive, fishy flavor. You don’t soon forget the flavor after tasting it.
At the Norden Lodge No. 2, Tacoma’s Sons of Norway lodge, the annual lutefisk dinner on Saturday has the same protocol. A lean-to is set up outside the lodge hall where the fish is cut into big pieces, wrapped in cheesecloth and dunked into a big pot of boiling water. It’s cooked long enough to turn it flaky, but lodge members say they’re careful to make sure the texture doesn’t turn soupy. It’s served with either melted butter or white sauce, peas and carrots, lefse and dessert.
Here are more details about the dinner that’s open to everyone:
Reservations? None needed. It’s open seating. It’s also all-you-can-eat.
What if I hate lutefisk? Don’t fret. There a Norwegian meatball dinner with lefse and all the trimmings.
What else? There will be pastry and Scandinavian cookies available for purchase.
Bazaar: There will be gifts featured at the bazaar.
Did I hear something about pancakes? Yes, it’s true. The lodge has all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts. The next one is Nov. 13.
When: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Norden Lodge No. 2, Normanna Hall, 1106 S. 15th St., Tacoma; 253-627-9012.
Cost: $20 admission; kids age 6-12 can eat for $10; kids 4 and younger eat for free.