Saturday, December 4, 2010

Barley vs Lutefisk

I live in a state where ketchup is considered a spicy condiment. Matter of fact, if you so much as use paprika in cooking, you're really walking on the edge, and risk having someone turn away from it. We won't even talk about garlic, or cumin. 

This was best illustrated the day I took a bunch of northerners to my favorite restaurant in Missouri. I was so excited to eat Tex-Mex done right. They ordered their steaks and almost died. I ended up getting it all as leftovers as we sought out a mild diet for their palate. Wimps.

I accept this oddity and simply only feed people when they're really hungry. The snow does work well for that purpose here, it seems to make you crave food on an hourly basis. When you're hungry, you'll eat things a lot easier. Even 'spicy' food.

What I absolutely don't get though, is the lack of barley. Now, growing up, you'd find barley anywhere you shopped for food. In the bulk section, in plastic bags by rice, pretty much it was a staple. Barley is really healthy to eat, having a ton of fiber, selenium, lowering cholesterol, supplying beneficial bacteria, and is incredibly high in B vitamins. It's healthier than oatmeal, and helps stabilize blood sugar in diabetics. Basically, it's a great, healthy whole grain that everyone should be eating. So why is it almost impossible to find in this god forsaken frozen state??!!!!

Looking at it rationally, people eat Lutefisk here. Lutefisk! Does anyone know what Lutefisk is actually made of? Let me quote:

Lutefisk (pronounced LEWD-uh-fisk) is dried cod that has been soaked in a lye solution for several days to rehydrate it. It is then boiled or baked and served with butter, salt, and pepper. The finished lutefisk usually is the consistency of Jello. It is also called lyefish, and in the United States, Norwegian-Americans traditionally serve it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In many Norwegian homes, lutefisk takes the place of the Christmas turkey. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, you can find lutefisk in local food stores and even at some restaurants.

I couldn't find the original of this song. Which my Grandma loved. But here's a fair rendition - I don't know or have any relation to these people, Lutefisk and singing about said fisk is banned here.

So people here, will eat fish soaked in lye (you wash clothes with lye!), and the consistency of jello, but they won't eat barley? Does this makes sense to anyone?

So I am imploring you, people of the frozen north. Put away the lutefisk, buy some barley instead. I'll even make it easy, they're kind of similar:

Lutefisk is creamy white - so is Barley!
Lutefisk can be eaten with butter, salt and pepper (I doubt that pepper part myself) - so can barley!
Lutefisk is somewhat creamy - so is Barley!

See? Super easy! As an additional factor, barley can be eaten as breakfast,and frankly doesn't contain lye that could kill you. Just saying.

Please try the barley. Cause then maybe I could find it easier and cook with it more often. My health and yours will thank you. 


  1. You can order online through

  2. My goodness they would just be on fire down here. JalapeƱos are pickles and Habaneros are the preferred pepper that seems to be in a lot of stuff.

    I watched Andrew Zimmern and I know about that fisk stuff. Lye is also used to clean out the hole in an outhouse. Not something I want to eat.

    Barley has been hard to find for awhile. All I can find is small boxes of Quaker Barley in both Western NY and here in Tucson. I always forget just what aisle I last found it when I go to get more.