The Vikings were able to sail long distances without starving to death because they had learnt how to dry white fish (mostly cod) in the open air. This dried fish, stokfisk, remained edible for years and was eaten either raw or after soaking in water – chewy and smelly no doubt, but very nutritious. In time, stokfisk became the staple diet of western Norway and remained so until the early twentieth century, with every fishing port festooned with massive wooden A-frames holding hundreds of drying white fish, headless and paired for size. Only in the 1690s did the Dutch introduce the idea of salting and drying white fish, again usually cod, to the Norwegians. The fish was decapitated, cleaned and split, then heavily salted and left for several weeks before being dried by being left outside on rocky drying grounds, klipper in Norwegian, hence klippfisk – or bacalao in Spanish. The Norwegians never really took to eating klippfisk, but their merchants made fortunes exporting it to Spain, Portugal, Africa and the Caribbean. The Norwegians did, however, take to eating lutefisk, in which either stokfisk or klippfisk is soaked in cold water and, at certain stages, lye, to create a jelly-like substance that many Norwegians regard as a real delicacy, though it is very much an acquired taste. The American storyteller and humourist Garrison Keillor would have none of it, suggesting in Pontoon: A Lake Wobegon Novel that “Most lutefisk is not edible by normal people.” Most will find it hard to disagree.

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Norway features

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13 ridiculously gorgeous pictures of Norway

13 ridiculously gorgeous pictures of Norway

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06 Sep 2016 • George Turner insert_drive_file Article
Meet Norway's new ambassadors: 4 sheep named Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari

Meet Norway's new ambassadors: 4 sheep named Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari

This summer, the Norwegian tourist board have taken a new approach to sharing their country's magnificent landscapes. They've shunned slick ad campaigns in favo…

01 Aug 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
A first-timer’s guide to the Faroe Islands

A first-timer’s guide to the Faroe Islands

Way out in the cool North Atlantic Ocean, there’s a cluster of craggy islands inhabited primarily by sheep and puffins. The Faroe Islands are Scandinavia’s …

07 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
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