Thor’s Day Alert #9: A Viking Feast
Happy Thor’s Day, everybody!
And if you live in America, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope your day is filled with quality feasting and fellowship! Following is an example of how Vikings likely feasted, borrowed from Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga and used here:
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The Eddic poem Rigsthula deals with the Norse god Rig or Heimdall who visited three different homes. In the first one, a thrall’s [slave’s] home, he was served a coarse loaf, heavy and thick, stuffed with bran, and a bowl of soup. In the second home, a farmer’s wife served him a dish of stewed veal. (Unfortunately, the lines telling about the farmer’s bread are lost.) In the earl’s home, the table was laid with a linen tablecloth, and thin loaves of white grain were placed on it. He was served wine with the meal of roasted birds and pork.
Bread has been found in quite a few Swedish graves, and it is sometimes preserved when burned. Loaves vary in size and content, but barley was the most common ingredient, often mixed with other grains, pea flour, or linseed. Most breads were thin and many were unleavened, while others were leavened with yeast. The circular iron frying pans found at many sites were probably used for bread making.
The daily porridge was probably just as common as daily bread. Archaelogical remains of soups and stews have been analyzed and have been found to contain flour and grits mixed with animal ingredients and vegetables. These dishes — in a variety of recipes — changed little down to our own time. The same goes for sausages, which are well documented in the medieval cities. Cooking pots of soapstone or iron were in common use, but cooking in pits filled with hot stones was not completely outmoded. Meat and fish would be wrapped in large green leaves, placed in the pit, and covered by sod and earth. Roasting spits indicate still another way of preparing meat and fish.
Several herbs and spices were known. The Oseberg grave contained seeds of cumin, mustard, and horseradish; of these, at least mustard was a rare import. Honey was the only sweetening agent known. Beekeeping is well attested in the medieval period, but it is uncertain whether this was practiced by the Vikings, or if honey for making mead was imported. Mead — whose basic ingredient is honey — and beer, made from malted barley and hops, were highly apreciated alcoholic drinks and were made at home. Wealthier families also were able to indulge in wine imported from the Rhine, judging from fragments of containers of German stoneware.
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Thanks for stopping by. See ya next week!