Who says it’s “bizarre?”

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In 2012, Bizarre Foods visited to film the Two Rivers Fire Department’s annual fish boil. The Travel Channel show depicts regional cuisine from around the world which is typically perceived as being disgusting, exotic, or, yes, bizarre. We just call it delicious.

The fish boil is a culinary tradition in areas of Wisconsin and along the coastal Upper Great Lakes. Settlers from Scandinavia are credited with introducing the tradition as a quick and efficient way to feed large groups of fishermen and lumberjacks.

The fire station is an appropriate setting for such an affair as it involves a blazing bonfire. And kerosene.

A large kettle of salted water is heated over the fire. When the water comes to a full-throated boil, potatoes and onions are added. The boil master next determines when it’s time to lower the basket of fish into the kettle. Then at a key moment, again determined by the boil master, kerosene is tossed into the fire. A very dramatic tower of flame erupts and causes the water to boil over and carry away the fish oil that has collected at the water’s surface. The fish and vegetables are extracted and dinner is served.

The Two Rivers Firefighters Local 423 fish boil is scheduled 3-7 p.m. Friday, April 2. Usually an event accompanied by much enthusiastic socializing, this year’s is a drive-through, pick-up-your-food affair. And we’ll look forward to next time when we can be together for the usual convivial community celebration.

See photos from Bizarre Foods’ visit.

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