Our small town’s take on the Scandinavian tradition. Instead of masked carolers going house to house and getting treats, its community members going business to business and getting food. For us Julebukking takes place the week before Christmas and is a way for the small business community of our town to give a thanks back to their patrons for their business throughout the year. Usually this takes the form of pastries, sandwiches, meat and cheese platters, and all kinds of smoked and pickled seafood. Its a great time to catch up with friends, enjoy a nice snack and maybe catch up on a little bit of last-minute shopping. My mother's clothing store is famous for its large spreads of my father's smoked salmon, pickled herring.
The annual pickled herring and smoked salmon Contest at The Sons of Norway Hall Every year after the fishing season is over and the fleet is tied back up there is one more competition still left. The winners get to take home a small wooden carved statue or a crown of steel for the year. While the trophies are temporary the previous winners are proudly immortalized on a plaque at the entrance of the hall. This event is the annual pickled seafood contest, where fishermen and other locals compete against each other for those coveted relics. It is not unusual to have pickled black cod next to pickled eel. Throughout the fishing season each competitor usually puts aside a little of their catch specifically for this good-natured contest of skill. After the judges have their first pass and are busy tallying the scores the community gets to start sampling their way through the tables. Growing up it was always a big event and the culmination of a season. We would always scour the deck for specific fish my father coveted and separate them from the rest of the catch. A few fish are saved from each trip all summer long in large chest freezers where they wait until the weather gets cold enough outside for them to be put in the smoker. My childhood was filled with fond winter memories of smoky wood and tasty samples of dad’s salmon.