Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Vikings--Summer Food?

Lingonberries, a period fruit
(Wikimedia Commons)
I haven't updated this blog in a long time because I haven't been doing a lot of experimental cooking, or reading new books about food, and those are the two things I enjoy doing most with this blog. 

A major reason I haven't been making a lot of experimental recipes is that it's been warm here for the past week or so.  The Vikings ate a lot of soups and stews, and although I enjoy making and eating soups and stews, I haven't had much interest in hot food or experimenting with new hot recipes.

It occurred to me that, although Scandinavia is very far north it does have a summer, and in the Viking era, which took place during a warm spell before the mini-Ice Age of the late Middle Ages, it must have been warm enough to make hot food seem unappetizing, at least sometimes.  What did Vikings eat when it was too warm for stew?  It occurred to me that the likeliest foods would be fruits and nuts, flatbread, cheese, and skyr, those being the foods available to the Vikings that require little (flatbread) or no cooking (the other foods listed).

This past weekend, I finally bought a copy of Daniel Serra's and Hanna Tunberg's book, An Early Meal.  It may have information in it that will shed light on the summer food question.  I expect to enjoy reading it, and after I finish it I will review it for this blog.


  1. Did the Vikings have any dried meat products used as 'trailfood' - jerky or the like?

    1. Hi, John! Thanks for visiting.

      I believe that the book "An Early Feast" suggests in passing that they may have preserved meat by drying as well as other means such as pickling and smoking, but I don't know of any evidence one way or the other. I'll keep an eye out for commentary on this issue as I read that book.

  2. Cathy -

    Now that you have read An Early Feast, do you have any more insight into Viking summer meals, especially the meat dishes (if any)?

    - JDB

    1. Yes, John, I have. The answer turns out to be "fish", if anything. I hope to write my book review soon.