Lutefisk Dinner returns to Poulsbo First Lutheran this Saturday

Traditional Poulsbo dinner dates back 107 years

Orla Knutson, Clara Pederson, and Mrs. A.B. Nelson make lefse for a Poulsbo First Lutheran Church lutefisk dinner in this undated photo, possibly from the 1950s. — Image Credit: Poulsbo Historical Society

Orla Knutson, Clara Pederson, and Mrs. A.B. Nelson make lefse for a Poulsbo First Lutheran Church lutefisk dinner in this undated photo, possibly from the 1950s. — Image Credit: Poulsbo Historical Society

Possibly the oldest of Poulsbo’s traditions returns this Saturday for its 107th year, the annual Lutefisk dinner at Poulsbo First Lutheran Church.

The festivities kick off at 11:40 a.m. and go until 3:40 p.m. tickets for the event are $25 for adults $5 for children 6-12 years old and children under 5 eat free.

This long-standing tradition began as a fundraiser for the church in 1913, where it raised just $26.00 to buy a new stove. The tradition went on until 2016 where it had to be rescued from the gallows of time due to a lack of cooks capable of making the event’s namesake dish. Despite the one-year absence, the Lutefisk Dinner made a triumphant return in 2017.

The heroes of the story came in the form of Dave Lambert — owner of the Slippery Pig Brewery and crowned Lutefisk king — and a group of eight friends who volunteered to cook.

“I saw on Facebook that it had been canceled because they didn’t have anyone to cook it and I just said ‘hey I’ll do it,” Lambert said.

Lutefisk is a Nordic survival dish made from dried cod, soaked in lye and then boiled or baked to serve.

“It sounds simple, but it takes a long time to and is very tricky to make,” Lambert said. “After three years of doing this now, we’ve got it down I think.”

After 2017 Lambert dedicated a journal to keep the recipe and the history of the Lutefisk dinner together, the journal has been christened “The Lutefisk Manifesto.”

Dave Lambert has written the Lutefisk Manifesto, so as to pass on the now over 100-year-old tradition of the Lutefisk Dinner.

Dave Lambert has written the Lutefisk Manifesto, so as to pass on the now over 100-year-old tradition of the Lutefisk Dinner.

“It’s basically a how-to of how to make Lutefisk and some of the history and facts about the dish and the dinner. I wanted to record it so that we could remember how to make it each year and make it perfect. Also so that it can be passed along as needed,” Lambert said.

Editor’s note: Despite being called the “107th Lutefisk Dinner,” by Poulsbo First Lutheran Church, Saturday’s feast will actually be the 106th dinner, due to the fact that no dinner was held in 2016.

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