This is one of those words that I'm not sure where I heard it first. It's not something you normally come by unless you live in northern Europe:
Lutefisk -- dried codfish that has been soaked in a water and lye solution before cooking.
Preserved fish provided protein during the long winter months for generations in a part of the world with a strong fishing tradition. It is not known when people first started treating dried fish with lye. The reason was probably that the lack of major salt deposits in the area favored the drying process for the preservation of whitefish - a process known for millennia.