Oslo 2006

Returning to my second home

Another year, another Oslo gallery. Since I will not spend so much time in Oslo this year, I will use a single gallery, and extend it to include any visits.

The first visit was in winter, and strikingly different to our first winter visit. For one thing, it had snowed. Not just snowed, but really snowed. Since the snow does not melt properly during the winter, it just built up on the streets, pavements, and parks. On the roads it had been mostly melted or converted to ice by salt or cars, and some pavements had the same treatment from pedestrians, but generally, walking means taking your life into your own hands, or feet. And I enjoy every moment of it.


Opera Parties


Why? Why? Just ... Why?!

Because, well, I like to try foods from other countries. Generally, I find Norwegian meats to be past their best-before dates (that's how they like it), and several of them are on my personal taboo list - even though I ended up trying one of them without realising. But fish are good. And the Norwegians really know their fish. So if I am to try a true Norwegian classic, it might as well be fish.

Lutefisk is the classic Norwegian fish. Classic to the point that it is revered or feared by many. In Norway, it serves as a traditional Christmas dinner, as well as something to frighten tourists with.

The preparation is long and quite strange. Firstly a fish is gutted, then slowly dried. Then for about 5 days, it is soaked in fresh water to plump it back up again. Then it is soaked in a solution of lye and water for two days. Yes, sodium hydroxide, caustic soda, dangerous chemicals. These start to artificially digest the fish, and I am told that it stinks. Then it is soaked in fresh water for another 5 days. After that, it is gently heated to poach in its own moisture.