By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent
The snowfall stayed to the northwest on Oct. 27, allowing some residents of Otter Tail County to travel to the annual fall lutefisk feed at Richland Lutheran Church north of Wahpeton and near Walcott, North Dakota.
The lutefisk season, in most areas of Otter Tail County at churches and restaurants, doesn’t start until it is close to Thanksgiving.
“We’ve been serving lutefisk here at our church since 1931,” said volunteer server Scott Gauslow, who added that the exceptions were two years during World War II and during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year church planners again ordered 950 pounds of fish for close to 1,000 lutefisk lovers, 4,200 pieces of lefse, 400 pounds of ground beef for meatballs, 140 pounds of cabbage for coleslaw, 65 pounds of cranberries, 80 pounds of sugar and lots of butter.
The menu has not changed much over the years. Guests can still expect what church volunteers describe as “flaky lutefisk, mouthwatering meatballs and creamy hand-peeled mashed potatoes.”
Our group from Fergus Falls sat with lutefisk lovers who traveled southward from Ada, a community located northeast of Moorhead.
A year ago, in 2022, some people came to Richland Lutheran Church, north of Wahpeton, after seeing a flyer posted at the Viking Café in Fergus Falls. Many of those first-timers returned this fall to Richland Lutheran Church for another great lutefisk feed.
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Barnesville holds its annual lutefisk feed on the Thursday evening one week before Thanksgiving. Pat Shol will again serve lutefisk at the Viking Café from pre-Thanksgiving to Christmas.
The Tom Hintgen family also has lutefisk at home, cooked by his wife Sharon and served with mashed potatoes and a white sauce, closer to Christmas. The secret, says Sharon, is not to overcook lutefisk. The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.