- Ooh, what is that? Yuk!
This is how the US Embassy in Oslo's Christmas message on Youtube starts. It comes from assistant Alicia who first set her eyes on the Norwegian Christmas tradition lutefisk (lye fish).
On Monday, the embassy uploaded a video showing nine of their American employees tasting the nine traditional Norwegian Christmas cuisines: cabaret, herring in mustard sauce, fermented fish, lye fish, potato dumpling, pork ribs, cured lamb, sheep's head - and aquavit.
One of the staff practically ran from the table when she saw the sheep's head. Lutefisk (lye fish) was virtually spat out by several. However, pork ribs and cured lamb, they all found tasteful.
- I don't want to insult one half of Norway here, but I think the half of Norway that eats ribbe (pork ribs), is the right half, says Ted Danowitz, who is environmental and research adviser at the embassy.
Danowitz says to NRK that despite the reactions in the video, he thought most of the Norwegian Christmas food was good. Apart from the fermented fish.
- I was most nervous to try the lye fish since it smelled so bad, but it did not taste that bad. The fermented fish, however, was bad in every way, says Danowitz.
He tried to cover up the taste with plenty of cream and onion.
- It did a poor job of hiding the rotten taste of the fish, he admits.
The thing that went down mostly without a trouble, was the aquavit. But not everyone found it particularly tasteful:
- It tastes like moonshine, says office manager Corina in the video.
One commenter on the video points out the obvious though: "They should have served the food with the traditional side dishes, that's when the magic happens! :) This is like serving Thanksgiving turkey without the mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. That would be pretty sad as well! :)".
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