I am not generally disposed to play the old game known as "comparative cuisine" because, after all, my own ethnic heritage is Finnish and well, my forbears ate salted roots and blackened turnips and on occasion, just for flavoring, they'd put wormwood in their vodka. So I can't claim a kind of inherent gastronomic sophistication like some of my friends might. But I can report that the rumors that Lance Mannion has been spreading about my family's involvement with Lutefisk are greatly exaggerated. You see, the Finns don't eat Lutefisk. Or as the great folksinger, Leadbelly once put it when asked if he could sing "Big Rock Candy Mountain": "I don't DO that! Burl Ives, HE does that!" (In case you're missing the point, Leadbelly wouldn't have been caught dead singing "Big Rock Candy Mountain" and that's that.) My people would never eat cod soaked in lye.
The Finns of course are suspect in other areas of their cuisine and we can talk now about the many varieties of sour milk products that are still endured by the little, innocent children of Helsinki, or the strange casseroles made out of parsnips and beets, or the terrifying "black sausage" the recipe for which is kept by the Finnish army at a top secret research facility in the nickel mines of Petsamo. But Lutefisk isn't a Finnish thing. No. Now if you want to talk about indigestible rye bread or scary meat pies, well the Finns are your people. If you want to discuss early heart failure from exorbitant ingestion of creamy cheeses and reindeer salami, well we're your tribe. But please don't link us to the dreaded Lutefisk. We Finns have enough trouble what with the legendary complexities of the Finnish language and the polar bears that take over the mass transit systems.
I do think it's of some interest to our readers that my famous All Girl, All Kazoo Band is now, thanks to Mannion, making a lot of noise about Lutefisk. "Stephen," they cry in unison (as they always do...) "Why are you so tight fisted about the Lutefisk?" "How come," they argue, "the other All Girl Bands get to eat Lutefisk?" When I tell them that Lutefisk is inherently dangerous for musical careers, and when I point out to them how the great Swedish tenor, Jussi Bjorling came to a tragic end when he got Lutefisk stuck in his legendary diaphragm moments before singing Aida, well they don't seem to understand the true seriousness of the situation. I don't know if the All Girl, All Kazoo Operatic Chorus can continue now that the peasant codfish has been introduced with such unthinking, nay, even glib "frisson" by Mr. Gaffe Mannion.
We can only hope that our Holiday concert will go on as planned.