Things Twice
fishin' blues
Lutefisk is the Scandinavian delicacy that has gained notoriety as EDLIS Spam.
Here you will find, among other things, articles on software to convert
lutefisk to lox, directions to Molde (Norway), the explanation for Dylan's
consistently superb Norwegian concerts, a lutefisk recipe and an ode to lutefisk.
Originally compiled: October 9, 1996
Last revised: January 18, 1997

Subject: Dylan gifs (and browsers choices)
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1995/07/20

Karl Erik Andersen (Karl.Erik.Andersen@NBR.NO) wrote:
: >From:    Richard Hart 
: >Subject: Re: Dylan Gifs
: >are there, in fact, any Dylan gifs out there?
: Yes, there are. At Expecting Rain ( you will find:
[gallery full of picture info deleted]

 Karl Erik, being a gentleman and a scholar and eminently modest to boot, does not mention his finest photographic prize, the EDLIS car, he took the ascii picture of that and with Norwegian enhancement software which could turn lutefisk into smoked salmon he has produced a fine colour image of said car. A thing of beauty.

                      _/ ||                ~-_
                    ,/   //       /~-       /  ~-_  ________---------------//
  -----------------------------------\-------------------____________  __//
 O--------------                  ~~^ |                                 | ~|
 }======{--------\____________________|______________________________   |  |
 \===== / /~~~\ \ \                   |         ________________________|-~
  \----|  \___/ ||--------------------'----------|  \____/ //
        `______''                                 `_______'

                  Good car to drive, after a war

'Course maybe he has crashed the thing again, it has happened before, and there are some serious hairpin bends on a Norwegian fjordesque road for a large Amerikan automobile. Get out my Web browser right now and go check whether we have another insurance claim, I hate all those forms...


                *       *       *

Subject: Xref Wo kriege ich Bootlegs
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1995/11/13

Christian Zeiser ( wrote:
: In article (47b5sk$, (Jim Brown) wrote:
: >  From: (Christian Zeiser)
: > Subject: Wo kriege ich Bootlegs
: >Ich suche einige Bootlegs von Bob Dylan, merke aber so langsam, da_ der
: >Kauf von Boots schon leichter war. Wer kennt einen Laden im Raum Hamburg
: >oder einen deutschen CD-Versand, der eine vern|nftige Auswahl anbietet?
: >  -------------------
: >  Z, Hamburg, Germany
: I posted the above message to a german newsgroup, that's why it's not
: written in english. Jim Brown cross-posted it to rmd, to which I already
: have posted a similar question in english and received some very helpful
: replies. So, rmders, don't feel disturbed and just forget it. I already
: know where to get my boot cds. Thanks to Jim anyway, I know you wanted to
: do me a favour.
More he wanted to make all of us aware there might be interesting Followup-To:s on about Dylan boots.

Not to suggest Germany is so lawless it might be a good source of boots, perish the thought, oh my goodness, etc etc etc

No reason not to post to in any language, it used to happen a lot.

 Anyone tried #dylan on irc in the European morning, if you don't speak Norwegian and eat lutefisk you're lost in the rain in Svalbard before you know it. Outrageous snow too!


We see this empty cage now corrode
Where her cape of the stage once had flowed
The fiddler, he now steps to the road
He writes ev'rything's been returned which was owed
On the back of the lutefisk truck that loads
While my conscience explodes
The harmonicas play the skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Tromso are now all that remain.

Subject: The "D" in EDLIS Must Stand Firm (Statistics)
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1996/05/13

Robin Jatko ( wrote:
: > : > > Does anybody know (Robin perhaps?) where would Dyl
: > : time to research the stats I'm supposed to research--and the pay : > : stinks
: > It wiould be esy to find out, just see the number of entries in standard
: > music album reference books, only a handful of likely contenders need
: Good idea, Craig. As soon as I recover from VA, I will head to the 
: library. Now about that raise ;-)
VA? I had giardia, you had VA, is no one well? Now what would V stand for, A?, bet its nasty, no details please unless you want to hear what India can do to...

 Raise!?! What other position would give you unlimited use of a Cadillac car, on whatever continent you find yourself? Few people can display such elegance and keep their credentials as a card carrying anarchist. Count yourself lucky girl, when I was young EDLIS agents had bicycles in summer, skates in winter, and they had to skate miles on the Rideau Canal to steal computer time on the RCMP's mainframes. Have you ever fed a horse?

 Bear in mind an agent can always be posted to Canada! If they're really troublesome we even had to make some stay in Norway. Do you realise how lutefisk is made???

 Oh my goodness.


Subject: The "D" in EDLIS Must Stand Firm (Statistics)
From: Robin Jatko (
Date: 1996/05/16

On 13 May 1996, Craig Jamieson wrote:
                *       *       *
> Bear in mind an agent can always be posted to Canada! If they're
> really troublesome we even had to make some stay in Norway. Do 
> you realise how lutefisk is made???
HA! I was born in Brooklyn (not Red Hook though), so threats don't work--after you've seen/smelled the Canarsie Canal and transversed the BQE, (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, where among the other discarded debris on the side of the road are the occassional dead body) nothing scares you.

 And I don't even want to know what lutefisk *is*, much less how it's made.

 Robin ;-)


Subject: I just wanna testify 
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1996/06/06

Connie Ferney (MysticFern@AOL.COM) wrote:
: Hi everybody.
:     I just want to say that I've had no problems dealing with Ben; 
: I got his video on time and the quality was very good.  I'm planning 
: to get even more tape and video goodies from him, he's an honorable 
: man IMHO. :>)
: Peace
: MysticFern
Are we talking about the same man? No problems at all? You should hear what they say about him at EDLIS Centrale! My goodness! We are talking about Newcastle Ben now hiding in Leeds soon to be extradited to California lookin' for Norwegians, surf and lutefisk and chips? Problems, that boy, where would I start...

 And when did he last put out a song, I ask you? It is that Taylor family, no?

Well, I got a woman sleeps on a cot,
She yells and hollers and squeals a lot.
Licks my face and tickles my ear,
Bens me over and buys me beer.
(She's a honeymooner
A June crooner
A spoon feeder
And a natural leader)

Subject: G'day
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1995/07/04

                *       *       *
Vegard holds regular real time workshops or seminars on tape trading in #dylan on irc. I understand he explains how illegal tape trading is, how it damages the artist, and he outlines exactly what you should be sure not to do. Then everyone exchanges e-mail addresses so they can keep in touch and make sure no one is listening to any Dylan in an improper or lewd manner. Then I think they all exchange apple pie recipes or something, anyway they need snail mail for that bit. Maybe they exchange pieces of apple pie? They say the Dutch make the best apple pie and they have fine Indonesian restaurants. But Vegard is in Norway, so maybe we are talking lutefisk pie? You are better to ask those involved, I have no idea what they really get up to...
                *       *       *

Subject: Dylan & Van Morrison 96.07.19 !!!!!!
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1996/04/29

Christian Zeiser (christian.zeiser@HAMBURG.NETSURF.DE) wrote:
: At 11:04 Uhr 18.04.1996, Vegard B. Havdal wrote:
: >Molde is an extraordinarily beautiful town in Norway, and the venue is
: >a 400 seater I think!!! Morrison will play the day after Dylan.
: This can't be for real. Someone please tell me all this is one giant lie.
: Is there any kind Norwegian rmder out there who can tell me where the hell
: that Molde is? I mean, north or south of the polar circle? And... anyone
: willing to give me a ferry ticket for free?
If you swam from Bergen to Trondheim, when you saw Molde you'd be more than half way to Trondheim.

 Set your GPS for 62.43 N 7.2 E.

 In Norwegian terms it is not very far north, in normal terms of course it is... :-)

 Combine it with a holiday, Norway is a fabulous country well worth visiting. Last time I was in Bergen it was Independence Day or some such thing and the people there know how to enjoy themselves to say the least!

 When dining ask for lutefisk, it is what Norwegians traditionally eat while doing the Wilbury Twist in my experience. You won't forget it quickly...

Put your hand on your head, put your foot in the air,
Then you hop around the room in your underwear.
There ain't never been nothin' quite like this.
Come on baby, it's the Wilbury Twist.

Everybody's trying to do the Wilbury Twist:
Puerto Rico, USA, England, Cameroon, Norway!
Everybody's trying to do the Wilbury Twist.

Subject: Oslo Spektrum, 18th of July - Setlist.
From: (Craig Jamieson)
Date: 1996/07/26

John Gasmann Jensen ( wrote:
: Johnny Borgan wrote:
: > All in all - great show, but a few uninspirede moments after the 
: > acoustic break. Still, very good performance. 
: his voice was clear and distinct. the versions of "lonesome death of 
: Hattie Carrol" and "girl from the north country" was the highlights for 
: me. it looked as he was having a good time, his communication with the 
: crowd was just fun!
: but can anyone tell me, why does Dylan allways do great concerts in 
: Norway? :)


From: John Gasmann Jensen (
Subject: Oslo Spektrum, 18th of July - Setlist.
Date: 1996/07/26

Craig Jamieson wrote:
> John Gasmann Jensen ( wrote:

> : but can anyone tell me, why does Dylan allways do great concerts in
> : Norway? :)
> lutefisk
one has to be insane to like lutefisk, and i dont think that Bob is....:-)

 i guess it is the air, and the beautiful people.

"que?" Manuel-Fawlty Towers


From: (Craig Jamieson)
Subject: Hey, You've Got To Hyde Your Lutefiske Away!
Date: 1996/08/28

 Do you think Bob may have first eaten lutefisk in Minnesota, lots of Norwegian immigrants went there, yes?

 Steve Iverson asks:
>Hey, does anyone know a good lutefisk recipe?

 EDLIS - Norwegian Foods agent tells us:
Lutefisk from scratch 

feeds 10 people 
time needed: about 2 weeks 

1 kg dried fish
100 g caustic soda
30 liters of water
Saw the fish in suitably sized pieces or leave it whole. Put in water. Leave in water in a cool place for 5-6 days if cut in pieces, 8 days if the fish is whole. Change the water every day.

 For the luting use a plastic or stainless steel or enamelled tub (the enamel must be unchipped). Wooden vessels, china or stoneware may also be used.

 Place the fish in the tub with the skin side up. Dissolve caustic soda in the water, pour over the fish until covered complete by lut water. Leave the fish in a cold place for 3-4 days.

 When the fish is completely luted, it will be well swollen and you should be able to put a finger through it. Rinse the fish and leave in cold water 4-6 days. Change water every day.

 If the fish stays in water for too long after the luting, it may be soft and difficult to boil. Test boil a piece, if you are uncertain.

 Do not make lutefisk in the warm season.

 1 kg dry fish makes about 5 kg lutefisk.

 (Cappelens Kokebok, Ed.: Aase Stromstad, Oslo 1968)

 "Expecting Lutefisk"


From: Melissa Davis (
Subject: About the lutefisk
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 1996 20:40:10 -0700

[Craig wrote:]

> And everyone thought the lutefisk irrelevant. EDLIS must foreshadow
> events before they become public. Scandinavians are very serious. 
> And there are more EDLIS agents as a proportion of population in 
> Scandinavia than in any other region.
I certainly did not think the lutefisk irrevlevant! It was a wonderful recipe indeed. In fact, when one of my neighbors was having problems with green tomato worms in her garden I gave her that very recipe with the thought that she could use the general idea to try to convert them to a new gourmet dish. She certainly appreciated it.


A Non-EDLIS, not to be misconstrued as Anti EDLIS,
misplaced Scandinavian, baptized Lutheran in the U.S.

From: (Craig Jamieson)
Subject: Did Bob stop writing songs after a trip to Norway?
Date: 30 Sep 1996 12:23:45 GMT

From: (Clay Shirky)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
Subject: Ode to Lutefisk (Long)
Date: Sun, 04 Dec 1994 09:11:19 -0500
It is my wont when travelling to forgo the touristic in favor of the real, to pesuade my kind hosts, whoever they may be, that an evening in the local, imbibing pints of whatever the natives use as intoxicants, would be more interesting than another espresso in another place called Cafe Opera. Chiefest among my interests is the Favorite Dish: the plate, cup, or bowl of whatever stuff my hosts consider most representative of the regions virtues. As I just finished a week's work in Oslo, this dish was of course lutefisk.

 (snd f/x: organ music in minor key - cresc. and out.)

 The Norwegians are remarkably single-minded in their attachment to the stuff. Every one of them would launch themselves into a hydrophobic frenzy of praise on the mere mention of the word. Though these panegyrics were as varied as they were fulsome, they shared one element in common. Every testimonial to the recondite deliciousness of cod soaked in lye ended with the phrase "...but I only eat it once a year."

 When I pressed my hosts as to _why_ they would voluntarily forswear what was by all accounts the tastiest fish dish since pussy 364 days a year, each of them said "Oh, you can't eat lutefisk more than once a year." (Their unanmity on this particular point carried with it the same finality as the answers you get when casually asking a Scientologist about L. Ron's untimely demise.)

 Despite my misgivings from these interlocutions however, there was nothing for it but to actually try the stuff, as it was clearly the local delicacy. A plan was hatched whereby my hosts and I would distill ourselves to a nearby brasserie, and I would order something tame like reindeer steak, and they would order lutefisk. The portions at this particular establishment were large, they assured me, and when I discovered for myself how scrumptious jellied fish tasted, I could have an adequate amount from each of their plates to satiate my taste for this new-found treat.

 Ah, but the best laid plans... My hostess, clearly feeling in a holiday mood (and perhaps further cheered by my immanent departure as their house guest) proceeded to order lutefisks all round.

 "But I was going to order reinde..."

"Nonononono," she said, "you must have your own lutefisk. It would be rude to bring you to Norway and not give you your own lutefisk."

 My mumbled suggestion that I had never been one to stand on formality went unnoticed, and moments later, somewhere in the kitchen, there was a lutefisk with my name on it.

 The waitress, having conveyed this order to the chef, returned with a bottle and three shot glasses and spent some time interogating my host. He laughed as she left, and I asked what she said.

 "Oh she said 'Is the American _really_ going to eat lutefisk?' and when I told her you were, she said that it takes some time to get used to it."

 "How long?" I asked.

 "Well, she said a couple of years." replied my host.

 In the meantime, my hostess was busily decanting a clear liquid into the shot glass and passing it my way. When I learned that it was aquavit, I demurred, as I intended to get some writing done on the train.

 "Oh no," said my hostess, donning the smile polite people use when giving an order, "you _must_ have aquavit with lutefisk."

 To understand the relationship between aquavit and lutefisk, here's an experiment you can do at home. In addition to aquavit, you will need a slice of lemon, a cracker, a dishtowel, ketchup, a piece of lettuce, some caviar, and a Kit-Kat candy bar.


1. Take a shot aquavit.
2. Take two. (They're small.)
3. Put a bit of caviar on a bit of lettuce.
4. Put the lettuce on a cracker.
5. Squeeze some lemon juice on the caviar.
6. Pour some ketchup on the Kit-Kat bar.
7. Tie the dishtowel around your eyes.
If you can taste the difference between caviar on a cracker and ketchup on a Kit-Kat while blindfolded, you have not had enough aquavit to be ready for lutefisk. Return to step one.

 The first real sign of trouble was when a plate arrived and was set in front of my host, sitting to my left. It contained a collection of dark and aromatic food stuffs of a variety of textures. Having steeled myself for an encounter with a pale jelly, I was puzzled at its appearance, and I leaned over to get a better look.

 "Oh," said my host, "that's not lutefisk. I changed my mind and ordered the juletid plate. Its is pork and sausages."

 "But you're leaving for New York tomorrow, so tonight is your last chance to have lutefisk this year" I pointed out.

 "Oh well," he said, tucking into what looked like a very tasty pork chop.

 Shortly thereafter the two remaining plates arrived, each containing the lutefisk itself, boiled potatoes, and a mash of peas from which all the color had been expertly tortured. There was also a garnish of a slice of cucumber, a wedge of lemon, and a sliver of red pepper.

 "This is bullshit!" said my hostess, snatching the garnish off her plate.

 "What's wrong," I asked, "not enough lemon?"

 "No, a plate of lutefisk should be totally gray!"

 Indeed, with the removal of the garnish, it was totally gray, and waiting for me to dig in. There being no time like the present, I tore a forkful away from the cod carcass and lifted it to my mouth.

 "Wait," said my host, "you can't eat it like that!"

 "OK," I said, "how should I eat it?"

 "Mash up your potatoes, and then mix a bit of lutefisk in, and then add some bacon." he said, handing me a tureen filled to the brim with bacon bits floating in fat.

 I began to strain some of the bits out of the tureen. "No, not like that, like this" he said, snatching up the tureen and pouring three fingers of pure bacon grease directly over the beige mush I had made from the potatoes and lutefisk already on my plate.

 "Now can I eat it?"

 "No, not yet, you have to mix in the mustard."

 "And the pepper" added my hostess, "you have to have lutefisk with lots and lots of pepper. And then you have to eat it right away, because if it gets cold its horrible."

 They proceeded to add pepper and mustard in amounts I felt were more apporpriate to ingredients rather than flavors, but no matter. At this point what I had was an undercooked hash brown with mustard on it, flavored with a little bit of lutefisk. "How bad could it be?" I thought to myself as I lifted my fork to my mouth.

 The moment every traveller lives for is the native dinner where, throwing caution to the wind and plunging into a local delicacy which ought by rights to be disgusting, one discovers that it is not only delicious but that it also contradicts a previously held prejudice about food, that it expands ones culinary horizons to include surprising new smells, tastes, and textures.

 Lutefisk is not such a dish.

 Lutefisk is instead pretty much what you'd expect of jellied cod; it is a foul and odiferous goo, whose gelatinous texture and rancid oily taste are locked in spirited competition to see which can be the more responsible for rendering the whole completely inedble.

 How to describe that first bite? Its a bit like describing passing a kidneystone to the uninitiated. If you are talking to someone else who has lived through the experience, a nod will suffice to acknowledge your shared pain, but to explain it to the person who has not been there, mere words seem inadequate to the task. So it is with lutefisk. One could bandy about the time honored phrases like "nauseating sordid gunk", "unimaginably horrific", "lasting psychological damage", but these seem hollow when applied to the task at hand. I will have to resort to a recipe for a kind of metaphorical lutefisk, to describe the experience. Take marshmallows made without sugar, blend them together with overcooked Japanese noodles, and then bathe the whole liberally in acetone. Let it marinate in cod liver oil for several days at room temprature. When it has achieved the appropriate consistency (though the word "appropriate" is somewhat problematic here), heat it to just above lukewarm, sprinkle in thousands of tiny, sharp, invisible fish bones, and serve.

 The waitress, returning to clear our plates, surveyed the half-eaten goo I had left.

 She nodded conspiritorially at me, said something to my host, and left.

 "What'd she say?, I asked.

 "Oh, she said 'I never eat lutefisk either. It tastes like python.'"

 Clay "I think my mistake was in using the dishtowel: you need to drink enough aquavit so you can't tell the difference between caviar on a cracker and ketchup on a Kit-Kat with your eyes open" Shirky


From: (W.H. Horton, Jr.)
Subject: Welllll...
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 14:42:42 GMT (Craig Jamieson) wrote:


Wellllll, some things are just so important and so good they are hard to explain, you have to just dive in:

 [ dead URL]

 Bob applied. Maybe it is your turn today? :-)


Was Bob's application perhaps the inspiration for this early composition (Minnesota 1957)?

 "O Lutefisk"

 [May be sung to the tune of "O tannenbaum" or "O Christmas Tree"]


O Lutefisk... O Lutefisk... how fragrant your aroma
O Lutefisk... O Lutefisk... You put me in a coma.
You smell so strong ... you look like glue
You taste yust like an overshoe
But Lutefisk... come Sturday
I tink I'll eat you anyvay.

 O Lutefisk... O Lutefisk... I put you by the door vay
I vanted you to ripen up... yust like they do in Norvay
A dog came by and sprinkled you... I hit him vid an army shoe
O lutefisk... now I suppose
I'll eat uoy as I hold my nose.

 O Lutefisk... O Lutefisk... how vell i do remember
On Christmas eve how we'd receive... our big treat of December
It wasn't turkey or fried ham... it vasn't even pickled spam
My mudder knew dere vas no risk...
In serving buttered lutefisk.

 O Lutefisk... O Lutefisk... now everyone discovers
Dat Lutefisk and lefse makes... Norvegians better lovers
Now all da vorld can have a ball... you're better dan dat Yeritol
O Lutefisk... vid brennevin
You make me feel like Errol Flynn.

Another Lutefisk recipe

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