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Lutefisk: Should I Try It?
November 19, 2013 |
To the Host:
I am now living in Norway and I am faced with the ultimate question -- Lutefisk: should I try it? I have put it off for two years, should I hold out?
Let's just substitute the word "kale" for Lutefisk -- Kale: I have put it off for two years, should I try it? One: there surely are more important questions in your life that you need to be taking care of -- are you getting enough exercise? Are you consuming too much beer? Have you read enough Dickens? Two: if you have put off eating kale for two years, probably you have built it up in your imagination to the point where it would be impossible for you to enjoy kale. On the other hand, if you go on refusing kale, you might well start to obsess about this and to blame all your other problems on your kalelessness -- your inability to understand algorithms, your awkwardness on the dance floor, your shyness in the presence of lawyers, your confusion about the subjunctive mood -- I say this because your phrase "hold out" shows you already have made this into an issue, not a simple matter of choosing what to eat. I, for example, have not eaten lutefisk in the past two years: avoiding lutefisk is not a problem for me. I stay busy around the holidays so that if someone invites me to a lutefisk dinner, I have an excuse: all my evenings and weekends are spoken for. Anti-lutefiskism has not taken over my life, as it threatens to take over yours. "Put it off"? Mr. Reeves, you write as if you feel an inevitability about lutefisk. As if you have no will of your own. As if something is drawing you inexorably into the dark chasm of lutefisk. You are not, believe me. Even in Stavanger, there are plenty of people who are strangers to lutefisk, who will always prefer the meatballs. The answer to your question is very simple: you will meet a woman and fall in love and either she will be a lutefisk person or she will not, probably depending on whether her family is pro- or con- and you will, at least in the early stages of courtship, follow her lead, especially if she takes you home to meet her parents over the holiday. Either they will serve you this disgusting gelatinous offal or they will not: if they do, you will eat a small portion and smile and say it is the best lutefisk you ever ate. And in your case, that will be true.