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Viking Diet

viking diet bread

In what consisted, the typical Viking Diet?

What characteristics did the cuisine of the Vikings have?

What did the Vikings eat to be so mighty and feared in battle ?

These are only a few of the most frequently asked questions by Viking fans. Answering has not been an easy task for historians due to the almost total absence of written records. The peoples of the north, in fact, handed down their memories and traditions almost solely orally.

Vikings used oats and barley to make flour, which was then transformed into a flatbread that was cooked on a griddle. Some of the grain was also fermented and processed to make Viking beer. Although small in size, the average farm was more than enough to provide enough food for the people who lived there, allowing them to be self-sufficient. In addition to this, the Norse grew a fair variety of vegetables, the contribution of which was of considerable importance in the preparation of true Viking meals and when possible, a staple in their Viking diet.

The climate was in fact too harsh to allow the growth of many species of vegetables and the snow, which for all the long winter months from October to February completely whitened the landscape, only worsened the situation.

The cooking of the Viking meals, therefore, had to adapt to the limited possibilities offered by nature. The greatest resource was represented by hunting and consequently, meat was one of the basic dishes of their Viking diet. On tables every day appeared different kinds of animals, roasted or smoked, but one of the most delicious dishes, was snake in casserole, usually flavored with garlic and thyme. Even cheeses were very appreciated. The use of diary in the Viking diet was very common and it was an important source of nutrition. These kinds of Viking meals were considered very special and to be reserved for special occasions or ceremonies.

The “cutlery” of Vikings consisted of wooden bowls and knives. Drinks, especially beer and mead, were served inside ox horns; the custom was to drink all the contents in one big gulp, so that the horn could be placed on the table again only when it was completely empty. In practice, an invitation to go on a binge, which was not at all rare during the Vikings’ lunches.

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