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Lutefisk tradition extends beyond Poulsbo

The smells of lutefisk, meatballs, lefse and a cornucopia of other Scandinavian delicacies will fill the air Sunday as the Bremerton Sons of Norway Oslo Lodge hosts its annual lutefisk and meatball dinner.

The festivities begin at 11:30 a.m. and continue until 4:30 p.m., but lodge members have been preparing for the event long before tomorrow’s culinary celebration.

“It takes a lot of people for this event,” lodge president Susan Remmele said. “It’s one of our biggest events of the year.”

In order to ensure that everything is ready for the large number of diners expected to fill the lodge Sunday, members have been working on the various elements of a successful dinner in a committee system, Remmele said.

“We have a kitchen committee, a dining room committee and a food committee,” she said. “We have two shifts of workers for the event.”

While Remmele was unsure of exactly when the lodge’s lutefisk dinner began, she said it is an important part of not only the lodge’s but the city’s Scandinavian heritage.

“It’s very important because it’s one of the events where we can share our heritage with the public,” she said.

Many lodges throughout the nation have lutefisk dinners, because the lye-soaked codfish is a traditional staple in most Scandinavian countries, she said.

“People who are new to our area know about Poulsbo and its Norwegian heritage,” she said. “It’s important for them to know that we have it here.”

That heritage dates back to Al Blumley who founded the lodge in Bremerton, and it’s important to recognize the contributions of the Scandinavian culture in the local community, she said.

Although lutefisk and meatballs may be the headliners of Sunday’s event, other Scandinavian foods like potato lefse, krumkake and divinity fudge will be available as the lodge’s women’s group will have its holiday bazaar in conjunction with the dinner, Remmele said.

“There will be a lot of hand work for sale and our professional rosemauler will be selling items as well,” she said.

Equally as important as the cultural aspect of the dinner, the event provides an opportunity for multiple generations to gather in a single location, she said.

“We see people from all age groups,” she said. “We have members of our club who could be 90-years-old, their children, their grandchildren and their great grandchildren.”

Because it is one of the lodge’s biggest events of the year, the dinner provides an opportunity for people to learn what the Sons of Norway is all about, she said.

“It’s also an opportunity for everyone to come together and socialize,” Remmele said.

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