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More than just lutefisk and meatballs
With the smells of lutefisk, potatoes and meatballs filling the air, the Bremerton Sons of Norway lodge was awash Sunday in Scandinavian culture from years gone-by.
As they have on annual basis lodge members donned their traditional attire and opened the lodges doors to the public as hundreds of people flocked to the social hall.
Weve had about 200 people so far, and its going great, lodge president Susan Remmele said as the event entered its third hour.
The steady stream of people was a positive sign as lodge members greeted many familiar friendly, smiling faces.
Among those faces was Agnes Blomlie, who lodge members refer to as the lodges matriarch, since her husband founded the lodge.
Its just my life, Blomlie said. This is what the lodge is all about.
Even though Blomlie said she isnt as active in the lodge as she once was, the lutefisk dinner is a time to see many friends she hasnt seen in awhile.
We cannot see each for six months, and its like weve known each other for years, Blomlie said.
For those including Blomlie, who enjoy the codfish delicacy, Rommele had positive news to report.
Everyones saying they love it, and that this is the best its ever been, Remmele said of the lye-soaked codfish, which highlighted the event.
While Remmele and other lodge members were indoors serving lutefisk and all the fixings, Svenn Loulie and Lawrence Greaves were part of the crew preparing the main course in back of the lodge.
Youve got to love it, said Loulie, who has been cooking lutefisk for the event for the past 30 years.
The fisk arrived in 50-pound bags from the New Day Fisheries in Port Townsend to the lodge, where it was pared down into seven-pound increments and wrapped in cheese cloth.
The cod was then boiled before being placed in the steam kettles before making its way to the social hall.
This is the best its ever been, Loulie said.
Although lutefisk was the headliner of the event, many of the women displayed different variations of the bunad, which is the traditional dress worn by Norwegian women.
My bunad is from Akershus, which is just outside of Oslo, lodge member Jan Beck said.
Different areas of Norway put their own touches on the bunad, and Becks was reflective of her familys Norwegian roots, which date back to her great, great grandmother.
Remmeles colorful bunad was a tribute to her familys heritage, which hails from Buskerud, an area outside of Oslo.
Her bunad along with Becks are traditionally worn for special occasions, while lodge member Deanna Dowell wore a hardinger bunad, Remmele noted.
Lodge member Alma Bockelie, who was also clad in a bunad, said each region of Norway puts it own touch on the traditional Norwegian attire.
There are all different types, and each area has their own, Bockelie said.