Home Page

About the Torske
Where we Meet
Speakers Requested
Current Newsletter



Photo Albums
Past Meetings

Frequently Asked
Other Links
Ask Sven & Ole!
Norway News
 Contact Us

Weather in Chicago and Norway


FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
about the Torske Klub

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. We do have some with seasfood allergies who have ordered an alternate meal, but 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.   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 2007. 

Is this a part of Son of Norway?
Although this was founded in 1960 by members of the Sons of Norway in Chicago, it is not governed nor is it operated by the Sons of Norway.

What does the dinner menu consist of?
The first course is Ertesuppe (pea soup). The second consists of cod steaks (bone in) when available, but usually boneless fillets 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), lefse, coffee, a dessert and of course, Linie Aquavit with the torsk.
The dinner is preceded by a cocktail hour.

Boiled fish!?
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 fish boils (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 others. 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 skl 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, Wisconsin.

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 Brooklyn Torskeklubben.  We visited the Madison Torske Klub, en masse, on October 4, 2002 and January 15, 2005. 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 torskeklubben in Victoria, B.C. and another in Edmonton and one in Leduc, Alberta.  If you look on the internet, occasionally one pops up. .

For content comments or questions,
contact the Editor.

2023 Chicago Torske Klub