Lute Chef Rick

Lutefisk: A Zion Tradition

Deb and I have been members at Zion for over 38 years. During our time here, we have witnessed and been part of several traditions. One that we knew about but never were involved in was the annual Lutefisk Dinner. We heard about the smell as well as experiencing the smell on Sunday mornings after the Friday night dinner at the old church. Little did we know that we would ever be part of this event. But lo and behold, 12 years ago, there arose the chairmanship of the dinner. We had just finished the group class on Rick Warren’s book on mission work. In that book, he talked about that maybe we need to challenge ourselves and get out of our comfort zone and try something new. For whatever reason, Lutefisk hit me as that new and challenging adventure. So, I jumped in and my wife has been there beside me the whole way.

For 12 years I have been the chairman and now I am ending my time. It is my hope that someone else will step up and continue this tradition. I have been fortunate in my 12 years to work with many great volunteers who come back year after year to make this an amazing event. Many would say after the dinner, “put me down for next year.” They are too numerous to thank them individually here, but I am very grateful for all their years of service. On top of that, we had many youth step up each year to help with making meatballs, peeling potatoes, or serving in the dining room.

Our committee could never have put on this dinner without the support of the pastors and the staff. We are grateful for all they have done.

This tradition would never be able to happen without a committee that stepped up each year. I want to acknowledge and thank each of them, then list their roles and the outstanding job they do every year. Judy Sandeen has overseen ticket sales. Glenn and Diane Berglund sold herring and lingonberries. Bev Smith ordered food and organized the dining room. Darrell Anderson was my main advisor and gave valuable insights over the entire program. Rich Arens worked on Lutefisk preparation in the garage. Kathy and Glen Carlson played a key role in managing all Lutefisk supplies and oversaw inventory. They made sure all items used just for Lutefisk each year are accounted for and properly stored. Each committee member had people under them assigned specific tasks and, again, their names are too numerous to mention but their work is greatly appreciated. On Friday dinner nights, Judy Bergquist oversaw the serving line and Julie Kabe oversaw the dining room. Lyle Jans’ overall assistance was extremely valuable. We appreciated them coming back every year to provide their assistance.

To me, the one or two key members that are needed to make this all work is someone in charge of the kitchen and overseeing meatball prep and potato prep. Then they prepare food all day on Friday. I have worked with Diane and Larry Huston, Duane and Shirley Olson and then Carol Olson. They were hard workers and put in long hours all week. I have been very fortunate to have had the best kitchen person anyone could ask for in Joyce Erickson. On top of all the duties listed above, she made it a point to wash all the dishes on Monday, make her own cranberry relish on Wednesday, and then make apple crisp on Thursday. She had a great team around her that came back every year to help her. 

The true highlight for the committee was at the final Lutefisk meeting. All proceeds were to go to various Zion and community programs. We truly enjoyed being able to provide assistance to a number of groups.

As I stated above, this is my last year and it is also Joyce’s, Bev’s and Kathy’s last year. Some will stay on and others may drop off. We are all committed to this Zion tradition and it is our hope that someone will be able to step up and take over. This is a tradition at Zion.

Thanks to everyone for all the support you have given this committee.

zion
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