I saw Andrew Zimmern eat lutefisk on the Travel Channel. It was at a "traditional" community dinner in Minnesota. The grandmothers he sat with encouraged him to put lots of butter and pepper on it - in other words whatever it takes to smother the flavor and texture of the lutefisk.
The dish comes with dozens of different side items like bacon, pie stew, potatoes, butter etc. Not to mention the strong alcoholic beverages that comes with it. Nobody likes the fish itself, and as you say - it's filled fid side dishes to take away the nasty flavor
Lutefisk parties are very popular in Norway, especially around christmas time, and especially among gentlemen societies like Rotary, Lion's etc. But it's not because they love the fish - it's because it's a perfect occasion to have a night out with the lads and get ****ed
Lots of truly ghastly foods out there that people like. Balut in the Philippines. That putrid shark they eat in Iceland - hákarl. Watch Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel and you'll get a full tour!
I've been up close with balut. A buddy of mine ate one during a particularly beery night in Subic City 34 years ago. I still cringe over it.
When I was young and saw people eating lox, onions, cream cheese, on bagels, I didn't understand it. Being a nice Reformed Church boy in upstate NY, breakfast never included fish or cream cheese. I finally drummed up the courage to try it - in NYC on a day trip with my fellow hooky players from school - and found that I loved it. It was a revelation. A "Leo" (lox, scrambled eggs, onion) on a bagel is equally wonderful to me.
That balut thing is just too bizarre for me to handle though.