In Bosque County, Texas you will find many Norwegian descendants who hold on to the old ways. The city of Clifton has been recognized as the “Norwegian Capital of Texas.” Docents in Norwegian bunader (folk dress) give tours of local churches and historic sites. The Bosque County Chapter of the Norwegian Society of Texas continues to thrive and keep traditions alive.
One of the highlights of the year comes on the first Saturday in December, when the school at Cranfills Gap serves its annual Lutefisk dinner. This feast begins as hardened bricks of dried cod. The students take turns stirring the vats filled with fish and lye (lute in Norwegian). That is followed by weeks of rinsing in clear water, so that the clean, slightly gelatinous fish (fiske in Norwegian) is ready to be served with generous amounts of white sauce, drawn butter, salt, and pepper. Plenty of side dishes like turkey, dressing, potatoes, and green beans are served to keep the doubters happy. Not everybody is a big fan, but it’s lots of fun, and all the proceeds go to the students for musical instruments, sports gear, and computer equipment.
I drew these codfish to honor the kind of suffering that some poor starving ancestors must have been endured before somebody came up with this creative dish.