28 Comments

Loved this story. Your description of the fish made me laugh. And I loved the ending. I could see the smile on the waitress and how it reflected your grandmother back to you.

Expand full comment
Dec 9, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

This was amazing Sam - and thank you for warning me to stay away from lutefisk forever!

Expand full comment
Dec 8, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

Such a charming story. My husband grew up in Minneapolis and I have heard horror tales of Lutefisk by way of the Norwegian side of his family. I'm glad you had a tasty meal on your trip to Norway!

Expand full comment
Dec 8, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

Oh! I believe your grandma must have been my mine! I, too, remember the aromas wafting through house, the attempt to wash the palate with melted butter and mysteriously white "gravy." We did our duty and survived on Swedish meatballs and hoped we'd find the almond in the rice pudding.

Wonderful story, Sam. I survived similar in central Minnesota.

Expand full comment
Jan 6Liked by Samantha Childress

Amazing story, Sam. Didn’t know you were Norwegian. Funnily enough, Romanians have our own lutefisk, a mass of jell-o filled with bits of pork and other kinds of meat called piftie, which smells awfully garlicky. We always make fun of that dish, but thankfully nobody ever forced me to eat it. I only have a vague idea of how it tastes, and I’d like it to remain that way

Expand full comment

An absolute delight of a story, Sam. Lutefisk on the menu is like Proust’s madeleine moistened in tea, summoning a whole world of childhood memories via a fish dish that sounds detestable yet hilarious, with a beloved grandparent at its center. I think there must be many dishes that almost everyone hates but continue to be served because they’re central to a beloved tradition. Of course that sparks some memories of my own!

Expand full comment
Dec 11, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

It never matters how much people complain about traditional dishes like this, it always makes me want to try them. Sort of the gastronomic "wow this really stinks, smell this" effect.

Expand full comment
Dec 11, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

Norway always has some of the best scenery, when I was on exchange, i was planning to go hike in the Fjords but didn't get the chance to do it. When I was in Sweden though there was a disgusting herring, that they had called Surstromming, I never had it, but the rumors that I've heard scared me from trying it. Is it similar to Lutefisk. Has Nick tried Lutefisk before, if he did what was his reaction?

Expand full comment

You are a wonderful storyteller!

Expand full comment

Really lovely.

Expand full comment
founding

So sweet and beautiful and fun. I loved reading about you and your grandmother and the lutefisk. Oh the ties that forever bind us!

Expand full comment
founding
Dec 8, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

This is so sweet! Your grandma sounds delightful; maybe it was worth it to choke down the lutefisk to make her happy. And I'm glad you found some Norwegian food you like! I had some friends who lived in Bergen for 9 years. They were grad students, so I guess they couldn't afford to eat out much, but they said the food was unbearably bland. The highlight of their culinary life was when some tall ships -- yes, tall ships from the 18th century -- pulled into the harbor, bringing foreign cheeses.

Expand full comment
Dec 8, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

This is so wonderful, funny, and relatable. Beautiful Christmas writing xx

Expand full comment
Dec 8, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

Awwww Sam, love everything about this. You are a delight

Expand full comment