How to Eat Like a Viking: 3 Things You Must Know First by Gina Conkle

Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Eat Like a Viking, Food history, Viking history | 5 comments

How to Eat Like a Viking (1)

 

How to Eat Like a Viking: 3 Things You Must Know First*

After a trip to Sweden in 1999, Vikings have fascinated me. The first romance novel I wrote was Norse Jewel, a Viking romance. But, the Norse hammers in my head needed balance. So, I wrote Georgian romance set squarely in mid-1700s.

Lately, the scales tipped back to hot Viking tales again. That’s what brought me to one of my favorite research finds, An Early Meal.

The Sagas are full of food and feasting, but this takes you on a gastronomical archaeological journey to seven Scandic sites. The result? Tasty, modern recipes with historical mileage.

Hold on! There’s more to this adventure than a book report on “What did Vikings eat?”

 

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I decided to not only write more Viking romances but to eat like Vikings too. Yes. I’m planning a series of “Eat Like a Viking” blog posts this summer, cooking and eating Dark Ages recipes. As if that wasn’t enough, I wanted a Viking farmer experience, so I started a small garden. [side note: I grow organic tulips but am ambivalent about my fruit and veggie grower skills].

So what are those 3 ways to Eat Like a Viking?

#1 Eat Your Veggies! 

Turns out mom was right. Eat your veggies and you’ll grow up to be big and strong. As in Vikings ate kale. Lots of it. The decision to grow kale was a no-brainer when recipe after recipe featured kale.

And wouldn’t you know it, the first of my plants to bud? Kale.

 

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Don’t you feel better knowing strapping Vikings ate their kale? I do. 
#2 It’s All About the Seasons
 
butter churnOn this culinary adventure, I’ve been struck by how much the seasons ruled life. In spring, while you and I celebrate flowers blooming, eating whatever goes in our grocery cart, Vikings ate pickled or dried vegetables with their dried or smoked meat. Food supplies were also regional though trading helped spread the culinary wealth. There’s a lot to share about fish tales, but I’ll save those for later.
 
Late spring greens infused fresh food in their diet. Summer would’ve featured lots of dairy from cow, sheep, and goats. Recent Bronze Age finds proved a mummy found in the Swiss Alps enjoyed Swiss cheese, paving the way for Emmentaler and Gruyere. 
 
Food abounded late summer/early fall. Harvest came. Herds would be culled for winter. 
 
What does that mean for my upcoming “Eat Like a Viking” blog? I’m going to make cheese, churn my own butter, and use whey to preserve meat.
#3 Everything Comes Full Circle

From the seasonal eating trend to the current craze for bone broth, the old way of doing things stands the test of time.
A perfect example: I just finished reading a book on the miracle of bone broth. Wouldn’t you know it, Bronze Age Scandinavian digs reveal animal bones with drilled holes. The bones showed signs of having been boiled (to make bone broth). Nutrient rich marrow was released during the slow cooking process.This summer I plan to “Eat Like a Viking” and blog about it. I’m going for the whole deal: organic gardening with kale, blackberries, turnips, onions, apples, and mint, using whey for meat preservation, making cheese and butter, and cooking Viking cuisine (including making mead).Join me on this culinary adventure. I’ll do the gardening, prep, and cooking for you. You enjoy the fun!
Cheers to you!red-arrow-pointing-right
~Gina  
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*Reblogged from Sourcebooks Casablanca blog 6/16/16

5 Comments

  1. What a fun way to make books come to life! Good luck on the garden, Gina.

  2. What fun. Early and primitive peoples tended to eat better diets than many modern people. Our overly processed foods with preservatives, too much salt and sugar, and bad fats are not good for our bodies.
    The hard life early people lived required good food to help them stay healthy and strong. I didn’t realize kale was a Viking food. It will be interesting to see what other surprises you will have for us.
    We have our own organic garden and enjoy what we get form it. I have made butter. It is pretty easy, but needs a bit more “processing” than most people realize,to get the moisture out.

    Thanks for an interesting post. Be sure to share with us some of the recipes you find.

  3. Thanks for sharing your insights, Patricia. You’re way ahead of me on the organic gardening. My mom has an organic garden CSA and the effort it takes to grow healthy food amazes me. LOL! It’s much easier to grab an item from your grocery aisle. I’m discovering the excess salt and sugar as I dive into these Viking foods. Next up is bone broth and the interesting history there.

    Looking forward to seeing you here and have a great summer!
    ~Gina

  4. What fun. This is going to be exciting. Thanks for sharing and caring. I’m in. : )

  5. I’m glad you stopped by the blog to check out the beginning of ‘How to Eat Like a Viking.’
    ~Gina

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