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Lutefisk Limerick Contest Champ

Peter Holbrook, the Lutefisk Limerick Contest Winner.

Ah lutefisk, the food we love to hate … and, as it turns out, the food we hate to love. We carp about the lye and the smell of lutefisk, but we do so out of love. C’mon, if we didn’t love lutefisk, would the Lutefisk Limerick Contest have resulted in 123 lutefisk limericks? If we truly hated this maligned and most misunderstood food, no one would bother to agonize into the wee, dark hours to get that most brilliant limerick rhythm and rhyming just right — and then do it again and again because writing limericks is so much fun. No, the Lutefisk Limerick Contest would have been a bust.

But I am busting with happiness that so many people — one even from Berlin — have let their sense of humor and passion for our uniquely Scandinavian ish-fish override their aw-shucks notion that they have nothing to offer to the world of premier poetry. Uff-da!

First prize in the Lutefisk Limerick Contest is this first of its kind Glass-Honey Locust rolling pin.

Champion Peter Holbrook

I am most happy to say that the Lutefisk Limerick Contest has a champ. He is Peter Holbrook of Minneapolis, shown above! Congratulations, Peter, who wins the above Glass-Honey Locust rolling pin!

Peter submitted five limericks, and four of them could have been the winning limerick. Here they are:

From assassins King Harald had flown
And he wandered the land all alone.
So we made him a bisque
Made of stale lutefisk
Now he sits on the porcelain throne.

“If God loves us sinners,” said Tommy,
“Why is there still lutefisk, Mommy?”
“It’s a cross we must bear,
So just say a prayer
And eat it, before it gets gummy.”

A young jellyfish on vacation
Laid her eggs by a nuclear station
And when they were hatched
We caught us a batch
Of the best lutefisk in creation!

At dinner, Lord Henry was stricken
The inspector was stumped, ‘til it hit him.
“That bit of white goo
On his chin is a clue:
‘Twas the lutefisk supper that did ‘im!”

People’s Choice Awards

This year I am introducing an idea that came from Jim Leet of Roseburg, Oregon. Jim has placed in past Lefse Limerick Contests and is entered in the Lutefisk Limerick Contest. Jim’s idea for the People’s Choice Awards is to list the best of the rest of the lutefisk limericks that were not penned by the champion and then let voters determine who wins the prizes for second, third and fourth places.

Second place prize:

Third place prize:

Fourth place prize:

Below are 20 pretty dang good lutefisk limericks worthy of winning the above prizes. The lutefisk limericks are listed by number only, not by name. Vote for the number of your three most favorite limericks. You can vote for your own limerick and two other limericks by someone else. Vote simply by emailing me at and make sure you vote by end of day April 1, 2023.

Here are the 20 lutefisk limericks eligible for the People’s Choice Awards. Email me at by end of day April 1st, and include the numbers of your three favorites.

Such a clever Norwegian well bred
is that Helga who uses her head
to wear lutefisk perfume
that will empty the room
leaving lefse the others have fled.

"Is the lutefisk that takes you two weeks
really worth," I inquired, "what it wreaks?"
The reply was, "Of course,"
from some salty old Norse,
"beats the hell out of turkey and leeks."

Ole’s old “Homemade Recipe Primer”
Has this secret for making one trimmer:
On your lutefisk, pour prunes
About 10 tablespoons
And, you betcha, you soon will be slimmer.

Single Ole's date was going well
They ate lutefisk and his heart did swell
Other girls ran away,
But this sweet gal did say,
"With long COVID, I can't taste or smell."

There once was a man named Ole
Who loved Lutefisk - ate it solely.
He noticed one day
Even flies stayed away
But Lena's attraction - unholy.

A stinky old dish is the lutefisk;
To taste it is taking a grave risk.
It smells like your feet
Not like something to eat
And its trip through your stomach is quite brisk.

"A codpiece"? What comes to mind?
Something of a "manlier" kind
Than stinky lye fish
Served hot in a dish
But in Norway, that's what you'll find.

The lutefisk smelled like a latrine
Its edges had turned a light green
I heard someone mutter
“Just add some more butter”
Then everyone licked their plates clean

A gooey Norwegian fish mess
The recipe’s anyone’s guess
But lutefisk still stays
In Norse holidays
Some think it deserves better press

Lutefisk – you love it or not
Some think it quite like warm snake snot
But others declare love
And always want more of
This Viking treat fresh from the pot

Sven’s girlfriend Britt was a sinner
But she made him lutefisk for dinner
Transgressions forgot
When she served it hot
And Britt was revered as a winner

With lutefisk for breakfast each morn
Add butter and spuds to adorn
White sauce laced with dill
Just sit back and chill
It makes you so glad you were born

A lovely lass welcomed Leif in.
“The feast is about to begin!”
Leif took a great risk
and tried lutefisk.
“I’m vegan….” he said with chagrin.

There once was a Viking named Thor
Who kept lutefisk outside his door.
The raccoons ran away,
And the bears said, “No way!”
But the skunks all said “Let’s have some more!”

An aging old Norskie named Luke
Made some lutefisk, just on a fluke.
Ma said, “It looks great,
And fits nice on my plate
But the smell of it might make me puke.”

Per died and so, dust to dust,
Ole stood up to say what he must,
"Per liked lutefisk best,
Thought this world was a mess."
His motto was: "In cod we trust!"

Lutefisk is internationally notorious
And its preparation somewhat laborious
But with lefse and butter
The experience is utter-
Ly, fabulously lipsmackingly glorious

I care for lutefisk jokes not a whit
Think up one and I’ll call you a twit
The dish is delicious
No need to be vicious
I’ll eat yours if you want to get rid of it

It's a mystery down through the ages
This fish delicacy thought from the sages
But the recipe was wrong
With lutefisk all along
It was PIE not LYE on the pages.

There once was a cod in the sea.
Caught by a fisherman was thee.
They soaked it in lye
for a Scandinavian high.
Plugging your nose is the key.

Again, email me at with the numbers of your favorite three. The People’s Choice Award winners will be named in the April newsletter. Good luck, all!

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