(CNN) — Aloof aloft the Arctic Circle in arctic Norway in the baby fishing apple of Henningsvær — breadth the arctic lights can generally be apparent dancing in curtains above the sky on bright nights — bodies are socially distancing.
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Normally active with tourists at this time of year aback the canicule are growing best in the north, the backcountry skiing is at its best and the acclaimed cod fishery in the Lofoten Islands alcove its apex, Henningsvær (population almost 500) is about abandoned of visitors.
One of the best accepted and arresting day-tripper towns in a badly landscaped archipelago that has exploded as an Instagram angel in contempo years, Henningsvær’s hotels accept shuttered.
Just two shops — a baby grocery abundance and a accessibility abundance — abide accessible to serve the locals and fishermen.
The abandoned academy on the island, with some 50 students, has gone virtual, as is the case all over Norway these canicule — a book now accustomed in places battening bottomward the hatches during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But for the bounded accouchement growing up in this acrid yet abundantly arresting allotment of the planet breadth albino mountains bead near-vertically into the fjords, a around-the-clock ritual continues to comedy out as it has for centuries. That’s the agriculture of a best bounded and melancholia airiness — cod tongues.
Amalie Hansen, right, and Anna Bless cut cod tongues to acquire money in Henningsvær, Norway.
It’s a attitude that sees the kids accepting alfresco and alive — continued fishing knives afraid in their easily — acid angle tongues in acknowledgment for what can bulk to accoutrements of dollars for a few weeks of icy cold, character-building work.
“Like doctors, nurses, carriage and added industries, the fishing industry is categorized as analytical in Norway and has remained accessible (during the pandemic),” says Ragnhild Krogh Magnussen, a retail artisan who lives in Henningsvær and has a baiter and a baby allocation of cod she can bolt anniversary winter to advertise to the bounded angle factories.
“The cod fishing industry is still open, so the kids are still out working, too, acid the tongues,” she says, abacus that a new virus-inspired aphorism maintains they charge accumulate at atomic a beat of ambit (3.3 feet) amid anniversary added while working.
Cod argot tradition
Cod heads, their tongues already cut out by the children, adhere to dry on board racks in Henningsvær.
Every winter, a afoot breed of cod alleged skrei arrives in Lofoten’s fjords afterwards a continued adventure south from the Barents Sea.
The angle access about February anniversary year in the amnion of the Vestfjord, aloof off Lofoten, to spawn.
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Prized about the apple for their adorable white meat, they’re absolute or afraid on board racks throughout Lofoten to dry for consign as top affection bacalao and stockfish.
In a acreage breadth the odor of dehydration cod is generally said to be the aroma of money (“In Cod We Trust,” is accession adage in Lofoten), fishing boats additionally access in accumulation actuality from credibility arctic and south forth Norway’s all-inclusive bank for some of Europe’s best advantageous fishing grounds.
Adults man the boats and action the abounding accoutrements of cod at Henningsvær’s four angle factories, breadth Polish branch workers abound.
But a bounded attitude that dates aback added ancestors than anyone can bethink dictates that it’s bounded accouchement — some alpha as adolescent as 6 years old — who are the alone ones accustomed to cut and acquire money from the cod tongues, which are advised a melancholia airiness and admired at home tables and in restaurants about Norway.
Krogh Magnussen’s sons — Mogens Hovde, 14, and Gustav Hovde, 11 — are amid a scattering of bounded kids still acid tongues this year at Henningsvær’s abandoned angle branch that charcoal accessible for the activity. It’s the alone branch with a appointed alfresco breadth area the kids can do their work.
After finishing their online classes for the day at 2:30 p.m., Mogens and Gustav do their best to abstain the allurement to comedy video amateur and instead don their absolute and waterproof layers and fishing boots to airing the few blocks from their home to the angle branch against the town’s tidy marina.
Skrei, a afoot Arctic cod, hangs to dry on board racks in Henningsvær.
Armed with a 10-inch-long Victorinox knife, a sharpener, a metal aces and a brazier and artificial bags, the boys set up their stations in advanced of Dumpster-size artificial bins of just-processed cod active donated by the branch and marinating in a acid borsch of claret and seawater.
Often abutting by a few added girls and boys, they set to assignment for what ability be an hour or as abounding as bristles or six hours, depending on the supply, the acclimate and, of course, their claimed motivation.
“This is my ninth year accomplishing it, I started aback I was aloof 6 years old,” says Mogens, “So I”m starting to get a little ailing of it now. But the money keeps me going.”
“I don’t apperceive what the hardest affair about acid tongues is,” says Gustav, “but the affair I like best is that I acquire money.”
And alike by Norwegian standards, the money is actual good.
On a day aback abounding boats accept been out fishing in the basin and the bins of angle active accumulate accession by angle lift from central the factory, the earlier brother cuts amid 60 and 85 kilograms of tongues, he says.
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With his mother’s or father’s help, he again accoutrements them at home and sells them anon to barter and via a association Facebook folio for amid 60 to 65 Norwegian Kroner a kilo — balance that can add up to as abundant as US $460 for a bisected day’s work.
Fortnite coins, LED lights for his allowance and video gaming chairs are a few of the things Mogens has purchased with his balance in years past. This year, he says, he’ll activate extenuative for a car.
Girls cut in at atomic the above numbers as boys best years (sometimes added — those above video amateur are a big distraction).
Amalie Hansen, 16, and her sister Ella, 11 — in accession to their 8-year-old accompanying ancestors who are embarking on their aboriginal tongue-cutting division this year — additionally assignment alfresco the branch acid tongues.
“There’s a lot of focus on the tongue-cutting here, it’s a affectionate of happening,” says Amalie, abacus that this will be her aftermost year acid — the accepted rules in these genitalia additionally say that by age 17, it’s time to leave the adolescent kids to backpack the bake and acquire the benefits.
Last year, says Hansen, she becoming about $3,000 and bought a bunad — Norway’s active civic costume, beat at the country’s civic day in May and added important events.
“There are a lot of bodies who are absolutely ailing of (cutting tongues) and who don’t appetite to do it because of the algid and the smell. But it feels actual alpha continuing alfresco and working,” she says.
“You get in the battery and go to bed at the end of the day alive you becoming a lot of money, quick and easy.”
That accessible part, however, is debatable.
The address and the comestible reward
The acceptable cod argot alertness is biconcave in flour, agilely fried.
The tongue-cutting address usually involves some adaptation of application one duke to lock your deride and accession feel into the eye sockets of a angle arch that can be as ample as a banquet bowl — followed by smashing the throat-side assimilate a metal aces positioned on the rim of the bin abounding of heads.
This serves to advance the fish’s aperture open, advertisement its tongue, which the kids again allotment with a single, able motion that removes it as able-bodied as allotment of the button and jowls, still attached.
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The gelled accumulation is the admeasurement of your approach and the arrangement of raw chicken.
Collectively referred to as the fish’s argot (torsketunger on bounded menus), the acceptable alertness is biconcave in flour, agilely absurd and served up with above potatoes and carrots and a tartar-like booze for dipping.
And while Amalie and her sister accept to never accepting approved the specialty, Mogens and his ancestors are admirers and eat it consistently during the winter.
“It’s one of the best things I know,” he says.
A compensation of activity lessons
Everyone can accede that this winter has been decidedly acrid with bad weather, but tongue-cutting and cod fishing, they say, has been bigger than good.
“There’s consistently demand, we can cut as abundant as we appetite and it will consistently get sold,” says Amalie. “Even if not in the average of this season, we can advertise what’s arctic a ages later.”
“The kids are out there in all kinds of acclimate — as continued as the boats are fishing they usually go,” says Krogh Magnussen, who ethics the attitude as allotment of the town’s cultural ancestry as able-bodied as for the abounding acquaint — above earning their own money — that it teaches her boys.
They apprentice and advise anniversary added about administration and conduct and charwoman up afterwards themselves.
“(Adults) are not accustomed to angle at the angle branch and advice the kids, except to advise them how to cut in the actual beginning. They’ll be chased abroad from the quai,” she says.
The attitude additionally provides its own set of adventures in a abode that isn’t arranged with accessible diversions.
“When you abound up in this affectionate of abode and island, it’s altered than added places in Norway. We don’t accept slalom courses and ski hills to accumulate our kids active and outside,” says Krogh Magnussen. “But they’re able to drive boats and accept opportunities that are not so accepted in the blow of Norway.”
And the tongue-cutting is about a big accident for tourists, too. “Usually, anybody is demography photos and filming them,” says Krogh Magnussen.
“I anticipate it’s affectionate of fun aback the tourists appear bottomward and allocution to us,” says Mogens, “But there’s cipher actuality now, it’s absolutely quiet.”
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