Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lutefisk, Lutefisk, Lefse, Lefse

Neither snow nor sleet nor hail nor rain nor the City of Seattle's decision not to salt the roads could stop a certain family tradition from taking place as scheduled: the annual Christmas Eve lutefisk feed. But they tried. They really tried.

After visiting Mommy in the hospital, Miles declined his afternoon nap and decided to take on the holidays on adrenaline alone.

The drive up to Uncle Jay and Aunt Mary Lynn's provided plenty of that. A warming trend and some rain turned what had been a stable snowpack on 25th Avenue into a sloppy soup of slush. Even our trusty Subaru struggled to maintain a steady trajectory as we climbed through the narrow gauntlet of parked cars for six knuckle-whitening blocks.

That wasn't the whitening going on. Jay, Mary Lynn and Grandma Ba-Ba-Ba were hard at work assembling the evening's snow-blind menu of lutefisk, mashed potatoes, crispbread, and melted butter.

Was that Miles trying his first bite of lutefisk? No, sir. Just a cracker and some smoked salmon. Maybe next year.

But plenty of other willing participants lined up to take their share of the lye-soaked wonder food.

Whether you're a newbie or and old Scandinavian hand, the inimitable sensation of lutefisk hitting the nervous system is a moment to savor.

Sometimes, however, it is best to disable the nervous system...

... with an appropriate dose of aquavit.

Miles' cousin Tess gets her glee ready.

Fortunately, the kids' table offered some lye-free alternatives.

Then it was present time, followed closely by another harrowing descent on the icy slopes of Capitol Hill.

Finally, with his son abed, Daddy closed out Christmas Eve in Santa's Workshop, frantically assembling Miles' toy kitchen just before the reindeer invoked the overnight shipping cutoff.

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