What is Torsk?
Torsk is Norwegian for cod. In Norway, it is also referred to as skrei when
it is a younger fish. It is traditionally prepared by cutting it into steaks for
poaching. It's what we eat!
Do you ever serve anything but Torsk?
Not for the main course. If you don't like fish, don't come. Actually, on
ladies day, we will serve an alternate meal, just to be polite to the ladies in
our lives. Fresh cod is a great meal.
How does fresh cod get to Chicago?
The Elks Club, where we meet, has a supplier who flies it in fresh from
Iceland (an ancient colony of the Norwegian Vikings, by the way). It is ordered
on Tuesday and on the following Saturday, it is on our plate.
Why is Klub misspelled?
It's not, it is short for klubb or klubben. Klubb is the Norwegian word for Club.
What is a TorskMaster?
One of our members acts as the master of ceremonies.
The agenda for the Torskemaster is generally the same for each meeting.
Do I need to be a Norwegian to Join?
No, but it doesn't hurt either. Many men of a variety of nationalities in
the Chicago Area have enjoyed the dinner, the camaraderie, and the speakers. Our
membership is a mixture of men of Norwegian immigrants, descendants of Norwegian
immigrants, and men who know (or know of) a Norwegian.
What do I wear to a Torske Klub Dinner?
Coat and Tie is traditionally worn. We have instituted Norwegian Sweater Day
at certain meetings, usually in January or February.
Do I need to be a member to attend a dinner?
We welcome guests to attend, but encourage you to become a member. Members
may bring guests and those men without a member sponsor can attend by calling
the reservation line at 630-445-1263. Women guests are invited to attend
in February (changed from May in 2008).
Membership yields benefits. You will receive a meeting letter and information
before the dinner, will be toasted and recognized on your birthday and you are
entitled to receive and wear the coveted Torske Klub Logo Pin and receive other
gifts and merchandise opportunities as the klub is able to provide. These pins were
provided to club members of record in 2005 and are periodically acquired
otherwise. Shirts with logos were provided at a substantial discount in
What does the dinner menu consist of?
The first course is Ertesuppe (pea soup). The second
consists of cod steaks (bone in) which have been poached or boiled in very salty water.
The fish is served with the preferred drawn (melted) butter and other sauces.
Boiled potatoes, a vegatable (usually carrots), flatbrød
(flatbread), coffee, a dessert and of course, Linie Aquavit
with the torsk.
We serve lefse when it is available. The dinner is preceded by a cocktail hour.
The fish is poached in very salty water. The salt increases the temperature
of the water and the fish cooks faster, resulting in a firm, delicate, flavorful
meal. It is not mushy, as most people assume. That only happens when it is
cooked too long or in water not salty and hot enough. The Scandinavian tradition of
boiling fish has been extended to other areas of the U.S.A., specifically in
Door County Wisconsin, where
(of white fish, lake trout, or
such) have become a tradition. Lobster boiling in New England uses a similar
method and is likely derived from these ancient Norwegian traditions also.
Is this like lutefisk?
Pul-eeeze! This is fresh cod, consumed as nature intended. Lutefisk is an
old-world Norwegian tradition of preserving fish by soaking it in lye, then
rinsing the lye and baking. The consistency is jelly-like; delightful to some and disgusting to
some. Yet it has become a Christmas tradition for Norwegians in the Midwest US
(and much of the Northwest we hear). Likely this is because the Norwegian
immigrants don't get it often. In Norway, it lost favor we hear, but is also
regaining status a traditional dinner. The true story of lutefisk is that it was
made in Norway years ago from fish that didn't sell in market and was preserved
and dried this way. It was stacked up like cord wood in front of the fish
markets to be sold as cheaper cut of protein. Some Norwegians have said that the
only reason it had any taste at all was because the dogs would come along and
lift their leg...but we'll let that story be for now.
Is This like Bacalo?
Baccalo is also a dried and salted cod, reconstituted and served. It is more
like fresh fish when served, but less tender and saltier. It is a delicacy in Portugal (where bacalo
means cod in portugese), Spain, South America, and many other places. A common receipe
is served with tomato sauce.
How is Linie Aquavit served?a>
The Aquavit is kept in the freezer until the time it is served. It does not
freeze, of course, due to the alcohol content. Our fine Aquavit
Chairman and his trusty group
of pourers wrap the frosty bottles in a serving cloth or napkin and pour a few
ounces into an aquavit
glass just before the fish is served. The glass used for the serving is
preferably an aquavit glass, which is a cordial type glass bowl with a small
stem, however a shot glass could be also used. When all are served and the fish
is being presented, the torskemaster stands and offers a skål
to the torsk. The cold drink is sipped and further enjoyed with the meal,
not slugged like a shot.
Some of us have sipped aquavit on the rocks. Not bad, an acquired taste that
is best experienced while sitting along the fjords of Norway.
We have seen aquavit as an ingredient in various boutique drinks. See drinkmixer.
Where do I get Linie Aquavit Glasses?
This question comes up more frequently each year. The Torske Klub has
purchased glasses for use over the years and enjoyed
a flower shaped glass with
the Linie Logo. These days, the glass is on a longer stem with a round bowl. The
only USA source we have seen for Linie Aquavit glasses is the
Nordic Nook store in Stoughton,
Are there other Torske Klubs in the United States?
We know of three in the U.S.: The Madison Torske Klub, the
Minneapolis Torske Klubben and the
We visited the Madison Torske Klub, en masse, on October 4, 2002 and January 15,
A description of the 2002 event and some
photos are located here. The NACC was
visited by a Torske Klub in Seattle, WA. We also have located a
Victoria, B.C. and another in Edmonton and one in Leduc, Alberta. If you look on the internet, occasionally an
interesting variation shows up such as