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fd-Norse-msg – 4/20/15


Norse and Viking food.


NOTE: See also the files: Norse-msg, fd-Normans-msg, names-Norse-msg, N-drink-ves-msg, Norse-food-art, Norse-crafts-bib, N-drink-trad-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: Maggie.Mulvaney at fp.co.nz (Maggie Mulvaney)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Viking Recipes

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 05:11:39 GMT


On 13 Apr 1997 19:18:53 -0400, gunnora at bga.COM (Gunnora Hallakarva) wrote:

>I am trying to locate Viking Age recipes and modern books discussing recipes

>of the Viking Age, the Anglo Saxons, and medieval Scandinavia.

>I would appreciate any information you may discover


Anglo-Saxon books publish Anne Hagen's two books on Anglo-Saxon food

and food production.

I have not seen anything in English on medieval Scandinavia, but a

recently acquired bibliography gives the following two entries on food

in Denmark (o/ denotes the slashed o);


* Ko/kkenfunktioner, ko/kkener og ko/kkento/j i det senmiddelalderlige

Danmark (ca. 1400-1600) / Bi Skaarup. - Ho/jbjerg :

Middelalder-Arkaeologisk Nyhedsbrev, 1989.

* Mad og o/l i Danmarks middelalder / Erik Kjersgaard. - Kbh. :

Nationalmuseet, cop. 1978.


I have not got these two books myself (yet!), so if anyone knows more

I'd appreciate the info too.


/Muireann ingen Eoghain


* MMY             *             Maggie.Mulvaney at fp.co.nz *

* Maggie Mulvaney * http://www.nmia.com/~entropy/maggie/ *




From: allilyn at juno.com (LYN M PARKINSON)

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 00:53:28 EDT

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks: viking's pies


On Tue, 15 Apr 1997 19:19:14 -0400 "Philip W. Troy" <troy at asan.com>



>> Depending on where they happened to be, the viking cook could have

produced any or all of the following :

>> >> apple pie/tart

>> cherry pie/tart

>> gooseberry pie/tart


Adamantius answers:

>Taillevent has a recipe for Norse pies. Don't recall at the moment

>what's in them, or how truly Norse they may or may not be. Savory,

>rather than sweet, though. Similar to a bunch of such pies that

>contain things like cooked egg yolks, ground meat and/or chunks of

>bird, bone marrow, cheese, etc.


Norse Pies, from the James Prescott translation


Take cooked meat chopped very small, pine nut paste, currants, harvest

cheese crumbled very small, a bit of sugar and a little salt.


That's the entire recipe.  Is it Norse, you Vikings out there?


I usually use farmer's cheese when harvest cheese is called for, but I'm

now wondering if that's the wrong assumption.  Cheeses were made in late

Spring, after the  calves/kids/lambs/??? were weaned, and you had some

rennet from a calf stomach handy.  By Autumn, how much would such a

cheese ripen?  Enough to crumble?  I've also read somewhere that the

stomach pieces could be dried, and used later, whenever you wanted to

make more cheese.  The only cheese I've made was the one in Elinor

Fettisplace's Receipt Book, which is very good, by the way.  I don't have

the equiptment for cheese making or recipes for the various sorts.  

Would some of you cheese-makers tell us about it?





From: "Philip W. Troy" <troy at asan.com>

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 23:06:49 -0400

Subject: SC - Period Viking Food = Norse Pies???


Unto the List, greetings from G. Tacitus Adamantius!


Sorry about this: I don't remember the specific title of this thread,

but someone had asked for a recipe for Norse pies, which I had said were

to found in the Viandier de Taillevent. Generally I'm a little leary of

taking up the bandwidth with recipes, especially since I tend to work

straight from the primary source and do the dish just a bit differently

each time. So, just for the benefit of those who may not have a copy of

the books involved, I'll post two recipes for Norse Pies.


The first from Taillevent, Scully translation:

        "Norse Pies. Take finely chopped, well-cooked meat, pine-nut paste,

currants, finely crumbled rich cheese, a little sugar and very little



        The recipe immediately following this in Taillevent instructs one on

how to use this same filling to make Lettuces -- small round fried

pasties that appear to be a form of chewets. A likely etymology for the

term "chewets" is that they are shaped like a cabbage, "chou" in French.


The second, more involved recipe is from Le Menagier de Paris, Powers


        "Norwegian Pasties be made of cod's liver and sometimes with fish

minced therewith. And you must first parboil them for a little and then

mince them and set them in little pasties the size of a threepenny

piece, with fine powder thereon. And when the pastrycook brings them not

cooked in the oven, they be fried whole in oil and it is on a fish day;

and on a meat day they be made of beef marrow recooked, that is to wit

the marrow is put in a pierced spoon, and the pierced spoon with the

marrow therein is put in the broth of the pot of meat, and left there

for as long as you would leave an unplucked chicken in hot water to warm

it up; then set it in cold water, then cut up the marrow and round it

into big balls or little bullets, then carry them, to the pastrycook,

who puts them by fours or threes in a pasty with fine powder thereon.

And without putting them in the oven they be cooked in fat."


Now, the name of these dishes in late-fourteenth-century French is

something like Pastez Nourrois, and I'm willing to entertain the

possibility that the translation of the name into the expression "Norse

Pies" could be wrong. Also, Norwegian or not, they postdate the time of

Viking activity by at least 150 years or more, if I have my timeline

correct. So, technically, they are not especially Viking, unless they

are really from Norway and survived a couple of centuries virtually

unchanged, to be found alive and well in France. COULD be true, but...


Hot Cha Cha,




Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 06:31:28 +0100 (MET)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <pkl at absaroka.obgyn.ks.se>

Subject: Viking are cookery (was: SC - Irish period recipes??)


On Sat, 8 Nov 1997 Tyrca at aol.com wrote:

>> There should have been seed (etc) analyses made at the digs in Dublin and

>> other places.


> So, as you are there, and I am not, are there sources for Viking cookery?

> Any cookbooks?


To the best of my knowledge there are no cookbooks from the Viking period



Apart from that there is only three ways we (AFAIK) have any knowledge of

that they ate: (1) pollen, seed and midden analysis, (2) actual finds of

foods (graves, postholes, etc), and (3) chemical analysis of food residues

on cooking and storage containers.


The first is the classical one, and I know there are data from many finds

on this subject. It will tell you what was available (though it can in

some cases be questionable if it was a weed or a cultivated crop), but not

how it was used. Animal fodder? Luxury export? Boiled, fried or baked?


The second category has given us some data, but mainly on things whose

context is rather uncertain in many cases (e.g. was the barley porrige

found in the grave a ritul item, or regular fare? Was the breads found in

Birka graves ritual? Was this lump once a piece of unleavened bread or

porrige?). That apart there are some food items that we do know about, and

that has been reconstructed from archaelogical data.


The third one is interesting, but it still will only indicate that a

certain item was eaten, we are excedingly unlikely to ever be able to

reconstruct a recipie from fatty acid residues in a earthen-ware cookpot.


In addition there are mentions of food in the sagas and the Edda (e.g.

Rigsthula, Lokesenna, Thrymskvida), but as these were written down much

later than the Viking era their value is questionable in many cases.


There is also the excavation of cookery implements that give us some idea

of what they had to play with.



- --

Par Leijonhufvud                  par.leijonhufvud at labtek.ki.se



Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 18:21:37 -0700 (MST)

From: "Joseph M. Lane" <jlane at unm.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Viking and early Irish foods


On Thu, 19 Mar 1998, Par Leijonhuvud wrote:

> On Thu, 19 Mar 1998, KKimes1066 wrote:

> > -- or that the native food was so unappetizing, that even the natives

> > couldn't stomach it all the time!!

> Whats wrong with whale and seal? Finnish style all-rye, sourdough bread

> with whole fishes baked in (not documentable, but nice anyway)? Herring?

> Mutton? Goat? Beef? Pork? Game? Honey? Pike? Perch? Salmon? Apples?

> Wheat, rye, barley, oats? Linseeds? Chickens? Skyr?  Cheese?

> Blueberries?  Lingonberries? Bunch of different root veggies?  Peas?

> Sloe?  Elderberries? Hazelnuts? Mustard?  Horseradish? Eggs? Plums?

> Several different herbs?


I saw an interesting show on PBS detailing the Viking settlement in

Greenland and it's subsequent demise a few hundred years later.  the

The Geologists documented a slowly cooling climate with a shorter growing

season. Slightly moister too (ergot on the rye). Archaeologists documented

an increase in cattle bones in the middens (trash piles) indicating that

they were eating their breeding stock.  toward the end of the

Vikings' settlement period, dog bones appeared in the food midden.  The

Eskimo settlements on the islands indicated abundant seafood (seals,

whales, fish) for the same time period.  The Archaeologists concluded that

the Greenland Vikings were too dietary ethnocentric -- too ingrained in

their own culturally dictated menus to try the native foods.  This refusal

to switch to seafoods meant their extinction.  A very sad story.


> > Having grown up in north central Iowa, where the Nelsons outnumber

> > the Smith, Browns, and Joneses combined, I am firmly convinced that

> > I know the real reason the Norse went a viking.--- Lutefiske!---


A "Woodwright's Shop" episode narrated by Roy Underhill was devoted to a

visit to a medieval Danish manor -- to study the wood construction and

carving. He made an interesting observation that after a week in this

manor he discovered that the small unheated upper rooms were cramped and

unheated and the main hall was cramped and had no chimney.  There smoke

diffused throught the hall and some escaped out a smoke hole in the roof.

He surmised that halfway through the winter many a Dane would take off in

the longboats rather than eat smoke and freeze for another three months.

This is also another interesting story.  Hopefully, it will be rerun.


Arian Aurelia



Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 22:43:04 +0000 (GMT)

From: Daria Anne Rakowski <dar3 at st-andrews.ac.uk>

Subject: Re: SC - Viking and early Irish foods-long


There has been some considerable discussion since I first composed this

and to save space (and time) I will append more to the bottom of this



On Wed, 18 Mar 1998, Par Leijonhuvud wrote:

> On Tue, 17 Mar 1998, Anne-Marie Rousseau wrote:

> > I know of no extant cookbooks from the Viking age or early Irish. BUT....

> Neither do I, and I don't think they existed in the case of the Viking

> era: not that kind of literacy. Also: no books!



  I would disagree with that statement. A professor of mine from times

past once told me that 'one cannot argue from silence' In this he meant

that not only can we not argue that 'silence' is meaningful in source

criticism but also that 'silence' may not have been the case at all!.

Skaldic poetry is generally considered to be the oldest and most reliable

remnants of Norse society and are preserved, it is thought, whole and

relatively uncorrupted in many textual forums that often date to some time

within the twelfth/early thirteenth centuries. Not completely Viking but

certainly not a sign of previous illeteracy surely.


> Ditto on the praise for Anne Hagens books. Probably the best source

> available.


On this we are agreed!



> There is some food mentioned in period literary sources (e.g. Edda

> Saemundar), but not enough to go on. A couple of years ago I thought I

> had been able to document pit-cooking based on a line in (IIRC)

> Thrymskvida, but it proved to be translational figment (it turned out

> Thor just tossed an oxen on the fire, not into a cooking-pit). Darn.


Again, agreed except that there are sketchy descriptions in some of the

sagas that give small but clever clues to food prep. For example in

Eyrbyggja Saga, chapter 39, there is specific reference to porridge being

consumed regularly as well as how and where and in what it was prepared.

The mention of the specific role of cook I also found interesting. I

haven't the time to hunt them up now but there are more brief, cryptic

comments like that one in many sagas.(Eiriks Saga Rauda, Groenlandinga

Saga, Orkneyinga Saga) As was mentioned, archaeology is an

invaluable resource for putting together a picture of Viking eating

habits. Anna Ritchie, amongst others, has done many excavations in Norse

settlement areas in the Northern and Western Isles. (Orkney, Hebrides

etc.) She has postulated that there were two ranges of fish size that were

consumed in these areas, a 'small' range where the fish were "normal"

sized, ie. 15cm or so. Then a larger range that got into the half-meter or

bigger category with a large hole of evidence in the middle. That says

little other than that in the Orkneys fish of two size ranges were

consumed but there is more to it but could take a mini-thesis to

explore/explain properly. Bones and carbonized remains as well as middens

are invaluable resources. If you have the patience to wade through the

reports! ANother place to look might be the brief report made by G.Biglow

in the 11th Viking Congress on Caithness, Orkney and Shetland. (All NOrse

settlement areas) He has turned up some interesting evidence about

potential butchering techniques and a peculiar and exclusively Norse

methode of marrow extraction. Very interesting.


> One potential source that I haven't seen anything on is what was

> recorded regarding the customs of the Scandinavians while traveling and

> living in the east. Anyone know if this has been explored at all? It

> should be easier nowadays, when the "slavs and only slavs" doctrine is

> less prevalent over there.


I haven't heard of any but then it is a relatively under-developped field.

Again, I would think that archaeological reports (often only in

Russian/slavic language) are the best bet. Those are finally making their

way into the scholarly communities of the 'west' now. Would be a very

interesting line to approach.


Now, recently there was a mention of a lack of adaptation on the part of

the Norse inhabitants of Greeland. I am sorry to burst this particular

balloon but my dissertation is on the Greenland and Vinland settlements

and there is quite specific and detailed information on whaling and

sealing practices in both sagas (see above) THere is further

archaeological evidence that most assuredly puts paid to that nefarious

belief that the Greenlanders died horribly and crippled. The early reoprts

on some of the graves in the Eastern settlement were most definatly

skewed and the much of the scholarly community has now accepted that the

most likely result of the Greenlandish settlement was of slow

assimilation/quick death. Sorry about that rant but it is so near to my

heart that it bugs me when it is so horribly misrepresented.


I agree that we know very little about preparation methods but we do know

some. We have saga and verse refernces, we have archaeological evidence

and we have common cooking sense. We are looking at an a-ceramic culture

in many areas very dependant upon steatite use, which of course alters the

way they cooked. There is plenty more to be said but this is already

pretty darn long...





Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 8:12:17 +1000

From: Robyn.Hodgkin at mailhost.dpie.gov.au

Subject: SC - Viking tucker


I did a bit of asking in the right places and have the following information

for anyone interested in Viking food:


The best general reference - with a section on food and drink (see p252ff)

is The Vikings, by Brondsted (with a slash through the o), published by

Penguin - may be out of print, but I'm sure amazon.com could find one.

Brondsted lists barley, wheat, herrings, hazelnuts, apples, elder- and

strawberries, hops, herrings, cabbage, onions, honey, wholemeal rye bread,

herrings, porridge, herrings, pork, veal, herrings, mutton, whale, herrings,

seal and bear (polar) meat - boiled for preference - beer and mead. And more


The Vikings used milk, too, both fresh and in yoghurt. Their extensive

trading and other networks through the Mediterranean and especially into

Russia meant they came in contact with a wide variety of foods (King Harald,

for example, was commander of the Emperor's troops in Constantinople), but

homegrown stuff was pretty boring.

The sagas contain some references to food and drink: there's a description

of a feast in BEOWULF, but also try NJAL'S SAGA, KING HARALD'S SAGA,

LAXDAELA'S SAGA, The ELDERREDA (not sure of the spelling - my appetite for

sagas is very limited) and there would be references in the Icelandic sagas.





Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 08:33:03 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - FWD - Viking recipes


FWD from rec.org.sca:

Thorfinn (dreamland1 at airnet.net) wrote:

>    Anyone out there with knowlege of Norse(viking) food,


I have just added "Archaeological Finds of Ninth- and Tenth-Century Viking

Foods" to my website.  It's a compilation of finds of foodstuffs categorized

by site; within site, by food type.  It ain't much, but it's a start.  Would

somebody let the cooks list know about this, please?


The URL is:



Carolyn Priest-Dorman             Thora Sharptooth

capriest at  cs.vassar.edu          Frostahlid, Austrrik





Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999 10:36:23 -0700 (MST)

From: Mary Morman <memorman at oldcolo.com>

Subject: SC - food and hospitality


This talk of eating well and being heavy started me on another related

theme. I've been reading Egil's Saga looking for food references and have

noted the typical Norse hospitality theme.


Boat sails into harbor.  Men get off the boat and go meet the local

householder. Either (a) they all try to kill each other, or (b)

householder and boat captain talk, and householder invites captain to

bring as many men as he "thinks good" up to the house and they all eat and

drink for a week.


Alternate scenario has the householder inviting the captain and "as many

men as he thinks good" to spend the winter with him.


The "thinks good" part seems to be literally meant - the captain ussually

takes some but not all of his men, leaving some to guard the boat, sleep

on the boat, or winter with other households.  The captain is being

invited to share hospitality, but not to take undue advantage of it.


The hospitality seems mainly to involve lots of eating and drinking.

Sometimes no ale is offered, as sign of poverty or deliberate insult, and

in those cases the guests are offered bowls of curds and expected to drink

the whey.  This is fine unless the guests find out that other food is

available but not being served to them - in which case obviously the guest

needs to kill the householder and all his men.


When I began looking for food references, I was mainly looking for "what"

not "how" - but I found much more "how" they ate information and very

little "what they ate" information.  Curds and whey.  Ale.  Bread.

Porridge. And lots of references to "good food" and "as good a feast as

ever they had eaten".


Anyone have more information, and or comments, on this?





Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 11:31:06 -0500

From: Wade Hutchison <whutchis at bucknell.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - viking cookery


>I am hoping to do a viking themed feast at a camping event this summer

>and was wondering if anyone could recommend books or websites with

>information and recipes on Scandinavian cookery.



Well, Thora Sharptooth has some great viking-age resources on her

web page at:


Including an article on what foodstuffs were eaten in the 9th

and 10th century (no recipes, just a list of food items)





Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 17:08:34 +0200

From: "ana l. valdes" <agora at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: SC - Fish soup/stew


The vegetables and roots used here in Scandinavia at that time (viking

time) were Swedes or Swedes turnips. Selleri too. And a lot of beer on

the stew, a dark ale or stout. Carrots, leeks, dill, cabbage, peas,

onions, black and white peppar, horseradish. You can also use butter or

milk or heavy cream to thicken it. You can use dark bread in crumbles


Since there is not a cookbook with recipes from the period, its

difficult to know. The most of the recipes and the descriptions of food

are taken from the Eddas, the Nordic countries collection of tales and

legends, "sagor".





Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 01:42:07 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: SC - Fish soup/stew


Ana wrote:

>The vegetables and roots used here in Scandinavia at that time (viking

>time) were Swedes or Swedes turnips. Selleri too.


But the celery was wild celery, rather different from the cultivated variety

we now know, much stronger in flavor and also more fibrous and tough - I´ve

seen some speculation that it wasn´t used as food at all, but perhaps only

as a flavoring and medicine herb. And swedes (rutabagas) certainly didn´t

exist in Viking times. Turnips were certainly grown, and parsnips, but

swedes came much later.


And a lot of beer on

>the stew, a dark ale or stout. Carrots, leeks, dill, cabbage, peas,

>onions, black and white peppar, horseradish. You can also use butter or

>milk or heavy cream ti thicken it. You can use dark bread in crumbles



This is probably correct for the rest of Scandinavia but not for Iceland,

because so few vegetables will grow here. And we would have used whey rather

than ale for a fish soup.


I can´t actually offhand remember a reference in Norse literature or period

sources to the kind of soup Boudicca is looking for; a soup was a thin broth

rather than a hearthy stew.





Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 07:15:03 +0200

From: "ana l. valdes" <agora at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: SC - Fish soup/stew


Sorry it I did a misstranslation with Swedes (rutabagas). In the online

dictionary Swedish-English I normally use it was the same aception, the

Swedish word is kålrot, and the translation was Swede, Turnips, as a




PS: don´t forget a big part of the Vikings were tradepeople, with high

developed commercial relationships with Byzantium and Russia. Historical

sources says the cities of Moskva and Kiev were founded by the Vikings,

in their way to Byzantium. They had a lot of spices and vegetables they

got from Byzantium. Many graves discovered in Sweden are witness of it.

Byzantium coins were well spread in Sweden and Danmark. I don’t know if

it was the case of Norway and Iceland.



Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 16:41:30 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: Northern Foods was Re: SV: SC - Introducing Myself


> I also wondered why on earth these people, who obviously had a fire burning

> on the hearth every day of the winter, went to such extremes to bake all

> their bread at once in the fall and subsist on staler and staler bread as

> the year passed by.  The growing season is short and all the grain won't be

> all ripe when harvest time comes.  Bread stores better than green grain,

> hence, massive amounts of baking the fall and flat, wheel shaped loaves with

> holes in the middle so the piles of loaves can be stored up in the rafters

> hanging on a pole.

> Bonne


The growning season is short, but the days are long.  Between May and

October, the days will be effectively 15 to 20 hours long.  The grain will



Considering this is the extreme northern latitudes, I would expect more rye

than wheat.  An uncut dense rye bread takes a long time to go stale.  Wheat

on the other hand goes stale very quickly, unless double baked.  So any

bread meant for long storage was probably rye.


I'm not knowledgeable about Scandinavian baking practices, but if they baked

large wheels of bread, it was probably because the oven was housed in

separate building.  A cold northern winter likely would steal the heat from

the oven before it could bake the bread.  I've baked in -25 F weather in

cast iron and it takes a good hot bed of coals replenished from a constantly

burning fire.  I wonder whether you could get a mass heat oven to

temperature in truly inclement weather.


I believe northern steadings were commonly inhabited by extended families.

At an average 2 pounds of bread per person per day, I doubt enough bread

could be effectively baked in the hearth to feed them.  In my opinion, bread

would have been baked in the hearth, but it would have been small loaves of

wheat or oats meant as a change from a steady diet of rye.


And now that I have developed a set of opinions I need to find out if the

facts will support them or whether I need a new set of speculations.  Thanks

for the interesting problem.





Date: Wed, 04 Aug 1999 01:53:56 +0200

From: "Ana L. =?iso-8859-1?Q?Vald=E9s?=" <agora at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: Northern Foods was Re: SV: SC - Introducing Myself


About the bread, remember, in Sweden the bread was baked with rye and not with

wheat. Rye don´t become stale. The "knäckebröd", the flat bread with holes in

the mitten, was hanged from the roof to avoid being eaten by rodents or insects.


I have myself stored this kind of bread for almost a year and the bread is still

good to eat.





Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999 11:40:16 -0000

From: "=?iso-8859-1?Q?Nanna_R=F6gnvaldard=F3ttir?=" <nannar at isholf.is>

Subject: Re: Northern Foods was Re: SV: SC - Introducing Myself


Bonne wrote:

>Yes, me too!  Since I hadn't said it the first time, I thought it was

>important to get it out there.  Unfortunatly, it's the only one of the

>available (to me) cook books that even makes an attempt to give any history.

> The others just rave on about "tradition".


In a book on Norwegian food history (mostly post-1500) by Fredrik Grøn that

I have here it says that "The first Nordic writer to mention the baking of

flat breads and even has an illustration of them in his work is the Swedish

archbishop Olaus Magnus, around 1550. He is the first to tell the often

repeated tales about flatbread that keeps so long that it can be baked at

the birth of a child and served at its engagement party. He also says that

women in Norway "at the ocean coast", but also women in many Swedish

communities, will come together on bright spring days to help each other

with the baking. That was a group activity. They use "thin metal plates", he

says, no longer flat stones. The dough is made of flour, beans and peas, and

this is also correct for Norway. Then he describes how the flatbread is kept

in high piles, and says it will keep for 16-20 years. Olaus Magnus doesn´t

use the term "flatbrød". He also mentions other types of bread baked in

Sweden, "julebröd" (Christmas bread), "krydred bröd" (spiced bread), bread

that will go stone hard in the air, "skorpor" and lastly "a fine bread for

delicate Nordic gentlewomen". The dough for that consists of wheat flour,

eggs and sugar, with added rose water and "malvasir" (don´t know what that



Petter Dass, in the 17th century, talks about flatbread that is baked in

large amounts just after Christmas, for the seamen that were going north to

the Lofoten to fish - they took chests filled with three months worth of

food with them.


Ludvig Holberg, in 1729, says that the reason Norwegians bake flatbread that

keeps for many years is that they have so many bad harvesting years; as so

little rye is grown in Norway and the barley is not too good, the flour is

best used for flatbread, and will taste much better than when used in

thicker breads.


I´ve seen speculation that the original flatbread of Viking times probably

wasn´t hard and stiff, but rather soft, as the Icelandic flatbread still is,

and was used to wrap around food, or butter. But the bread mentioned in the

Sagas is mostly loaves, probably thick pieces of unleavened dough baked in

the embers.





Subject: Viking Food

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 19:20:54 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

Organization: Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia, and the GDH

To: stefan at texas.net, RSVE60 at email.sps.mot.com


From the Norsefolk list digest number 20:


Message: 5

Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 23:16:05 EDT

From: Zemetrius at aol.com

Subject: Viking food


Probably the most important area of the Viking house was the fire, and, as

there were no chimneys, the smoke had to escape through the roof. The lazy

could tell tall tales and get under the feet of the women, who would be

preparing the twice-daily meals, morning and evening.

The Viking diet was based on fish, dairy produce, and wild and domesticated

animals. Vegetables were grown, including onions, peas and cabbages.

Cherries, plums, sloes and other wild fruits were gathered.


Production of bread was a daily task, as it became inedible if not consumed

the same day, and could then only be used to thicken stews. The women had to

grind grain into flour with a hand quern made of stone, which often crumbled

into the flour, doing no favours to their teeth. Dried peas and pine bark

were also used to make bread, but these were a poor man's substitute for



Domestic animals such as sheep, cows, pigs and horses were bred for a variety

of uses. As well as being meat they provided hides, wool, and dairy products,

and were used for riding and pulling farm implements. In addition, many

others like elk, deer, wild boar and bear were hunted. Meat was sometimes

eaten raw, but was usually cooked in a cauldron hung over the fire or roasted

on a spit. Another method was to place the meat in a hole in the ground,

surrounded with hot stones and covered with earth. Fish played a large part

in feeding the growing Viking population, and in the north reindeer,

whales and seals were hunted.


Milk was drunk and also used to make butter and cheese, with the separated

whey being used in pickling. Liquid dairy products were stored in vats and

their contents ladled out when needed. Cheese and butter were made from

unskimmed milk. Sometimes the butter was heavily salted so that it could be

stored for a long time. Meat and fish were preserved for winter and as

provisions for the boats by salting and pickling. Some would be wind-dried or

hung indoors, and it can be assumed that fish-drying sheds, documented

in the 13th century, existed earlier.


Certain foods were traded, both locally and over long distances. A find of

rye possibly came from Russia, and the walnut found at Oseberg must have come

from farther south. In fact, the royal lady buried at Oseberg was extrememly

well provided for, with oxen, wheat, hazelnuts, cummin, mustard and

horseradish. She also had an entire kitchen, and an old servant to do the

dirty work.


Although no Viking recipe books exist, the sagas and archaeological evidence

tell us what they ate, and it is clear that wealth dictated the quality and

variety of food. For many, life was a constant battle against starvation.



Subject: Viking Flat Bread from Norselist

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 19:36:16 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

Organization: Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia, and the GDH

To: stefan at texas.net, RSVE60 at email.sps.mot.com


10 Sep 1999 08:47:23 -0500

From: "TheMorrigan" <themorrigan at softhome.net>

Subject: Re: Viking food


Here is the Viking flat bread rec.


* the proportions came from a rec. I found on "The Viking Network". After

playing with that recipie this is what I came up with for more reasonable variations and cooking methods based on archaeology.


Here is the recipe, a bunch of cooking notes follow it.


7 cups (give or take) of graham flour (this is whole grain rough ground wheat)

3 cups of buttermilk, whey, or goatmilk.

1 egg.


Mix all ingredients ( I usually add the last few cups of flour one at a time

until the consistency is right). This will be the consistency of CONCRETE as you do the final mix.


Before you press into either clay or tin pans dust the pan with a bit of

the dry flour to prevent sticking.


Press small handfulls of the dough into your pans, flatten until less

than 1/2 inch thick.


These can be baked on a hearth near the fire, a grill (charcoal or propane with woodchips) set at 350, or a regular oven at 350. They take about 10 minutes per side, as they begin to get a hollow sound flip the bread over and finish on the other side, when they have a slight brown and they sound hollow they are done.


These are best served right when done, can be served that day, slight

reheating helps the taste and consistency. A day old and cold they could

be used as an offensive weapon.


* Variations:

You could add proportions of the flour as whole wheat bread flour, or use

all whole wheat bread flour, this gives a more pita bread style but it becomes rather bland.


Adding ground walnuts and a few spoons of honey to the all graham flour

recipie is very good!


We have tried baking these on our gas grill at 350 with wood chips and the

bread on clay pans (for the clay pans we used the red clay saucers sold to go with clay pots for houseplants) These worked very well, but the end product really did not taste different than those baked in the oven.


If you use my reaductions or reprint these please give credit.


Lady Morganna McGlachlen

Shadewes Company

mka: Nancy Foust



Date: Sat, 04 Dec 1999 01:19:11 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Viking Recipies


Duncan Granter wrote:

> Does anyone have any Viking recipies, or any Viking recipie web sites that

> they could share with me?

> I'm co-autocrating a fairly large event and would like to find as many

> recipies as possible.


That's going to be a fairly tall order, it seems. I'm not aware of any

Viking-Age Scandinavian recipes from period. We have some archaeological

dig findings and a bit of info from sagas and such, but few or no

written recipes, as far as I know.


You might look at Mistress Thora Sharptooth's web pages, especially the

ones at:









From Norselist at egroups.com

Date:17 Oct 2000 23:23:01 -0400

From: Carolyn Priest-Dorman <capriest at cs.vassar.edu>

Subject: Re: Period foods


Ragnar wrote:

>Can anyone give me a reference for a Scandinavian Medieval cookbook

>(obviously later than the Viking period)?


Some of the household records for the Bishop of Linkoping (circa 1520's)

are on line; it doesn't have a cookbook but it has lists of basic menus.

There's a recipe called "Hazel Hens" (listed in the bishop's New Year's Day

menu) in the 14th century _Ein Buch von Guter Spise_ (which is in

Cariadoc's collection).



Here also are some sources I culled from the Rialto, courtesy of Mistress

Tangwystyl and Lady Brighid ni Chiarain.  I have not examined any of



Skaarup, Bi.  "Sources of Medieval Cuisine in Denmark," _Du manuscrit a la

table_, ed. Carole Lambert (Les Presses de L'Universite de Montreal, 1992).


Hildebrand, Hans, ed., "Matordningen i bishop Hans Brasks hus," Kongl.

Vitterhets Historie och Antiquitets Akademiens Maanadsblad, no. 157 and no.

159 (1885), pp. 1-21 and pp. 141-142.   More about that Bishop of



"Aeldste Danske Koge Bog -- Prentet i Kiobenhaffn 1616."  (Arhus:

Fotografisk Genoptryk Wormianum, 1966).  Facsimile of 1616 Danish



Veirup, Hans.  "Til taffel hos Kong Valdemar: Europas aeldste kogebog

(efter to middelalderhandskrifter fra 1300 tallet)."  (Viborg: Forlaget

Systime a/s, 1993).  14th century Danish cookbook, trans. into modern



Carolyn Priest-Dorman             Þóra Sharptooth

capriest  at  cs. vassar. edu         Frostahlid, Austmork




Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 12:27:35 -0800

From: Ron and Laurene Wells <tinyzoo at home.com>

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2924


>Laurene wrote:

> > I have a wonderful book, EYEWITNESS Viking that has several pages with

> > photographs of artifacts found in a dig, and fresh food (from modern

> > tables) that would have resembled the food which Vikings ate.  Apparently

> > archeologists found a site with such detail that the food residue was still

> > identifiable, so now we know what they ate!!  Pretty cool.

> > Other DK books, and especially the Eyewitness books series, have similar

> > information about food, and customs.  They are my favorite!!!

>So, give!  What do they say they found on the Viking table, and what kind of

>fresh menus did these fellow re-creators serve?

>EYEWITNESS Viking, sounds like a news show on the History Channel maybe.

>"Dateline, Jorvik..."



The title of the book is Eyewitness Books VIKING, author is Susan M.

Margeson. You might be able to find a copy at your local library, our

library has many (though not all) of the Eyewitness Books.  I think I own

more copies than our local library has now, thanks to DKFL (sigh... I wish

they had not closed that door of opportunity!) Half the information in DK

books are depicted in pictures.  I tried to find it on DK.com where they

sometimes have the pages of the book available for viewing online, but I

could not find it.  So, you'll have to suffer through my text-only summary

until you can find a copy to browse for yourselves!  Any spelling or

grammatical errors are my own, as I had to type this by hand.


The pages talking about mealtime are 34, 35.  Obviously there were not

"recipes" only food ingredients.  I am noticing that no dates are really

mentioned on these pages, which I know is something that most of you are

interested in.  These are the foods mentioned though:

Dried cod, salted meat and fish, and probably smoked meat and fish.  Pine

kernels and  pine bark.  Dried peas "Poor Vikings made bread with whatever

they could find.  One loaf found in Sweden contained dried peas and pine

bark." Horseradish "was one of the seasonings found in the Oseberg burial

along with wheat, oats, and fruit."  "Cabbages and peas were the most

common vegetables.  Many Vikings grew their own." Cumin was a spice found

in the Oseberg burial.  "Bread was kneaded in wooden troughs.  Then it was

baked on a griddle over a fire (as in this 16th century Swedish picture) or

in a pan that sat in the embers.  Barley bread was most common, but rich

people had loaves made of finer wheat flour."  In another part it says

..."Most Vikings drank beer made from barley and hops. ...They also enjoyed

wine imported in barrels from Germany." It says they used garlic and onion

in soups and stews, they gathered gulls eggs for eating and ate roasted

gulls. Game birds like duck were roasted on a spit.  "Hares were trapped

and hunted, as well as elk, deer, bears, wild boars, reindeer, seals and

whales for meat.  Sheep, cattle, pigs, turkeys, and even horses were raised

to be eaten."  Berries (pictured are a blackberry and a raspberry) and wild

fruits "such as apples, cherries, and plums were gathered in the

summer." There is also a photo of a Cauldron found on the Oseberg ship,

and it explains how the cauldron was hung over a fire in the center of the

living room.  Oh yes, it said that salt was collected by boiling sea water.


So, now we can all go make a roasted duck (or seagull?) and some Barley

bread with dried peas and have ourselves a real Viking feast

tonight! :)  Or if you are in a colder region you could boil a hunk of

meat with some garlic, onions, salt and cumin for a nice Viking-style stew.


- -Laurene



Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 14:47:08 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2924


I'd be a little hesitant to take this at face value.  Rye was a far more

common grain than barley or wheat and the accounts I have of Scandinavian

baking practices tend to support rye as being the common loaf.


While I don't discount a loaf of bread from pea flour and pine bark, I would

judge it to be famine rations or possibly horse bread, rather than a normal

loaf for human consumption.


Hopping beer presumably started around the 12th or 13th Centuries, somewhat

after the Viking period.


Does the book provide a bibliography of sources, against which their

conclusions can be checked?





> So, now we can all go make a roasted duck (or seagull?) and iu8j some Barley

> bread with dried peas and have ourselves a real Viking feast

> tonight!  :)  Or if you are in a colder region you could boil a hunk of

> meat with some garlic, onions, salt and cumin for a nice Viking-style stew.


> -Laurene



Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001 20:26:03 -0500 (EST)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at mail.browser.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2924


> While I don't discount a loaf of bread from pea flour and pine bark, I would

> judge it to be famine rations or possibly horse bread, rather than a normal

> loaf for human consumption.


The material quoted from the book did indicate that that might be famine

rations. However, I remember barley bread being indicated multiple times

by multiple sources that I consider reliable with regard to the Vikings.

> Hopping beer presumably started around the 12th or 13th Centuries, somewhat

> after the Viking period.


Hm. Hildegarde of Bingen (1098-1179) wrote in her _Physica_ (1151-1158)

of hops 'its bitterness inhibits some spoilage in beverages to which it

is added, making them last longer', and later mentions a recipe 'if you

want to prepare beer from oats, without hops...' (this is from the

translation by Priscilla Throop). So unless the translator or intervening

sources have altered the text, one presumes that hopped beer was known in

Germany by 1160.

- --

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise       jenne at tulgey.browser.net



Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 15:41:33 -0500 (EST)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at mail.browser.net>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: sca-cooks V1 #2924


> Rye was and is the most common grain grown in the extreme northern climates.

> To talk about barley and wheat and ignore rye is, in my opinion, a serious

> omission.  Please note that I did not say they did not make barley bread,

> just that rye was the common grain.


Hm. On which archaelogical studies are you basing the prevalence of rye

over barley?


Interestingly, the Viking Answer lady says:

"Barley was the most commonly grown grain in Sweden in Denmark.

Rye began being grown in Finland, eastern Sweden and parts of

Denmark around 1000-1200, although rye production did not become

widely established until the late Middle Ages. "


She also says:  "Finds at Birka suggest that the most common types of

bread were made with a mixture of barley and some type of wheat, although

bread might also contain other grains, such as spelt, oats, linseed, or

even sprouted peas. Rye was used mostly for baking bread as well. "


Can the person who posted the information about the book give us more

information about the period that they define as 'Viking'? (The

Encyclopedia Britannica defines Vikings as: "Scandinavian seafaring

warriors who raided and colonized wide areas of Europe from the 9th to the

11th century".

- --

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, mka Jennifer Heise       jenne at tulgey.browser.net



To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 12:18:49 -0400

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Irish recipies

From: Elizabeth A Heckert <spynnere at juno.com>


   I realized all of a sudden, "I've got food to research!" at the end

of this past week.  (Viking era, isle of Man--c.950, courtesy the camp



   Friends lent me a lovely book, *Norse and Later Settlement and

Subsistence in the North Atlantic*, edited by Christopher D. Morris and

D. James Rackham, University of Glasgow, 1992, ISBN 1 873132 40 9.


   I also had an archeological report (in English) of the finds at

Viking era Ribe in Denmark.  So I've been able to contrast the food

remains in Scotland and the Orkneys with Denmark, and the finds are

different.   I think the Norse settlements book would be useful, in

indicating what could be grown, as that had the Scottish and Orkney info.

(Scotland being that much closer to Ireland, etc.)


   Ann Hagen produced two books on Anglo Saxon food and drink that also

have mentions of food in Dublin, from slightly later.  I have found Hagen

extremely helpful, because, after plowing through Latin plant names which

weren't always translated into English common names, she had a section on

what we would nowadays call wild-crafted foods, which listed the finds of

non-cultivated food and starvation food.





To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 14:25:24 -0400

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Viking cookbook

From: Elizabeth A Heckert <spynnere at juno.com>


On Mon, 24 Sep 2001 14:38:50 -0400 "Linda M. Kalb"

<lmkalb at mail.med.upenn.edu> writes:


>3. What are (and/or where can I find) the following and what do they

>look and taste like:


>b.) swedes


     Swedes are rutabegas.  They were developed in Sweden in the

nineteenth century, and are related to turnips.  They are *definately

not* period for Vikings.


>4. Where/how does one get nettles?  What do they taste like?


   Urtica dioica (stinging nettles) have been found at Viking era digs

in Ribe, Denmark; Earl's Bu, the Orkneys; Svalbarth, Iceland; and York,

England. These and other greens would have been eaten particularly in

the spring as a source of vitamin C.  The number and variety of this type

of plant makes *me* think that they were not eaten just as 'starvation'

food. I have not eaten any of them.


   I have been working on food for a demo at the end of October, Inga.

It would be appropriate for Viking era settlers in the British Isles

*only*; but I can send it to you.  (It's sort of long).  I compared it

with food at Ribe, Denmark; Haithabu (Hedeby) now in Germany; and a place

called Archsum.


   Finally, I had to spell 'Svalbarth' wrong.  I have a creaky e-mail

program that will not translate non English characters.  It should end

with a character that looks like a crossed d.  The English equivalent for

this letter, as far as I understand is a varient on the 'th'-sound.





Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 20:24:06 -0500

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Scandinavian feast sources


You might take a look at this site.



It's Norwegian...and has links to lots of sites.


Notaker has written several articles for PPC

and the Oxford conferences.  He's the author of

Fra kalvedans til bankebiff

[or Norwegian cookbooks until 1951. History and bibliography.]


You might find something of interest on the site.


Johnnae     Johnna Holloway


Peter Ryan wrote:

> Period Scandinavian is very difficult to do. The best I have come up with is

> reconstruction of recipes and cooking methods using archeological findings

> as a guide. snipped off the rest



Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 05:55:05 +0100

From: UlfR <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Earliest Viking area post-Viking cookbooks

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org


Sharon Gordon <gordonse at one.net> [2003.10.27] wrote:

> I am trying to compile a list of the earliest 2-3 cookbooks for the various

> Viking areas.  Since there are no actual Viking cookbooks, the earliest ones

> seem to be at around 50-100+ years later or more.  Lists of archeological

> findings would be helpful as well.


Going away from the viking era in the other direction, isn't there a

byzantine manuscript from just before the viking age?


But, unless you are looking for recipies of food that "vikings may have

eaten" rather than what they ate "at home" I think that there is only

some literary mentions of food (primarilly the Edda Saemundar?) and

archaeology. Based on archaeology you get data of two kinds:


       a. "This was available".

       b. "This was -- sometimes with the qualifier: almost certainly --



Category a is data we have from seed and pollen analysis, middens, etc.

In the second group we have a bit more data of interest, since we here

are talking of analysis of food remains, both "macroscopic" stuff like

the remains of bread, and "lab data" like fatty acid contents of clay

pots, isotope ratios in teeth, etc.


An example of the best we can do from this is "a piece of bread

containing these things was found in a grave",  "the pot had been used

for cooking salmon, mutton and seal", or "the person got his protein

almost exclusively from marine sources".


Have a look at some of the Ph.D. theses from the Archaeological

Research Laboratory at Stockholm University



Hansson, Ann-Marie (1997)

On Plant Food in the Scandinavian Peninsula in Early Medieval Times.

(Theses and Papers in Archaeology B:5)


Isaksson, Sven (2000)

Food and Rank in Early Medieval Time. (Theses and Papers in Scientific

Archaeology 3)




UlfR Ketilson                               ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org



Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 08:45:13 -0800

From: Susan Fox-Davis <selene at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Favorite Norse/Viking camping event recipes

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Sharon Gordon wrote:

>I was wondering what people's favorite recipes were for doing old Norse

>style recipes while cooking at camping events?


>gordonse at one.net


My favorite Viking Food page is part of Mistress Thora's fine website:



My =least= favorite thing is undercooked whole pig on a spit,

half-cooked by clueless guys who are trying to look manly and tough.

<insert Tim Allen 'more power' grunt here>


Selene Colfox



Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2004 10:40:49 -0700

From: "Patricia Collum" <pjc2 at cox.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Source information for the make-up of


To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


From the reading I did into viking food, the information in the sagas is

pretty much limited to 'we had a feast and much good food was had by all'.


Some good on-line sources for info about viking food are

http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/vikfood.html ,

http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/food.htm ,

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/daily_living/text/food_and_diet.htm ,

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/food_01.shtml .


For the same period Anglo-Saxon try  http://www.regia.org/feasting.htm .





From: val_org at hotmail.com (Gunnora Hallakarva)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: viking recipie

Date: 16 Jun 2004 17:27:09 -0700


"Vidarr Wolfsbane" <Wolfsbane at bigpond.com> wrote in message news:<C2Vzc.30098$sj4.16892 at news-server.bigpond.net.au>...

> i have ayule celebration that i have been asked to bring a desert wondering

> if any one had a easy one

> i could take


Pancake with Berries

This recipe comes from Vikingars Gästabud (Fant, Michaël, Roger

Lundgren and Thore Isaksson. Vikingars Gästabud ["The Viking Feast"].

Malmö: Richters Förlag. 1998.), and is for four servings.




2/3 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup lingonberries or bilberries


Turn on the oven to 425°F (225°C). Whisk the batter together without

the butter and stir in the berries.  Melt the butter in a

heat-resistant baking pan and pour it in the batter. Bake it in the

middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the pancake has a

nice color.


Cut it into pieces and serve with some jam.


Also, some info from a related culture:


Ann Hagen.  A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food: Processing and

Consumption. Norfolk, UK: Anglo-Saxon Books. 1992.


Note - be aware that in Europe "corn" is synonymous with "grain" and

doesn't mean "maize" as it does in the U.S. Another Britishism is the

use of "biscuit" to mean what Americans would recognize as "cookie".

Where the text uses italics, I have enclosed italicized text in angle

brackets, <italicized text is shown like this>.  My occasional notes

will be in square brackets, [My notes are shown like this]. Most of

the italicized terms are Old English, but some Latin is present as

well and I'll note that for you when Hagen does not.  <Leechdoms> and

<Gerefa> are Anglo-Saxon written works, with <Leechdoms> being medical

and herbal formularies.


p. 14

'Meal' (<meolu/melu>) was the term given to corn, or other material,

after grinding.  Grube considers that the term was applied to ground

grain from which 'siftings/bran' (<sife›a>) had been sieved.  He bases

this interpretation on a passage from Alfred's translation of

Boethius: 'so men sift meal - the meal goes through the holes and the

siftings are thrown away' (<swa saw mon mealo seft: ›æt meolo ›urcryp›

ælc ›yrel 7 fla syfe›a weor›a› asyndred>.)  However, a reference to

<flrittig mittan clænes melowes and sixtig mittan o›res melowes>

suggests ground corn in general, and substances other than corn were

ground into <meolu>.  <Mealan stane> seems to have been an alternative

term for <cwern>.  Unspecified meal was sometimes mentioned in rents.


Meal could be ground more or less fine, and coule be sieved then

bolted through various grades of cloth to retain or exclude more or

less of the bran, and also spiders and the flour moth.  <Leechdoms>

refer to 'finely sieved meal' (<getemsud melu>), and Cockayne explains

<temse> as a fine hair sieve, a term still in use when he wrote.

<Hersyfe> and <tæmesplian> (hair sieves) are referred to in <Gerefa>.

Appropriately the <getemsud melu> was to be made into a cake as food

for a patient with a delicate stomach.  Refined meal - the fine flour

- was referred to as <smedma> or <smedema>.  One recipe calls for

'fine flour of wheat meal' (<hwætenes meluwes smedman>).  <Hlaf

smedman> translates 'bread of very fine flour' (<pania smili agineus>

[Latin]), and <smedma> glosses <similia> [Latin] (the finest wheaten

flour). <Pollis> [Latin] (fine flour) is glossed by <grytt>.  Finely

divided flour was available in Anglo-Saxon contexts, but it seems

probable that only the richer members of society would be able to use

it as a matter of course.


<Leechdoms> are not necessarily representative of substances generally

ground into meal, but they are the most prolific source of references.

There are ten references to barley meal, plus one to 'fine barley

meal' (<smæl beren meal>); six to wheat, plus one to 'fine wheat meal'

(<smæl hwætan meolwe>), and one to 'fine wheat flour' (<hwætenes

meluwes smedman>); three to rye (as bran, meal, and dust); and one

reference each to oat meal and bean meal.  All five - barley, wheat,

rye, oats and beans - were field crops, and their use for flour is not



p. 15

... the discovery that fermenting liquor from brewing produced lighter

bread had evidently been made on the continent before the beginning of

the Anglo-Saxon period.  Perhaps <beorma> (yeast), which is

etymologically connected with <breowan> (to brew), referred to this

kind of liquid yeast source.  The Anglo-Saxons may have also used the

sediment from bottom-fermenting yeasts - produced by the fermentation

at low tempertures of light beers.  This is born out by the fact that

one Old English term for yeast, <dærst> is derived from <dros>

(dregs). This yeasty sediment was slow-acting, and resulted in heavy,

damp, sour bread.


p. 15

... the common Germanic character of terms for yeast also points to

the early production of leavened bread among Germanic peoples;

particularly when there were also common terms for unleavened 'low'

bread; Old English <fleorfe> and 'raised' bread, Old English <hlaf>.


p. 17

In Asser's version of the story of Alfred and the 'cakes', the loaves

are burning at the fire; in the Claud MS. the loaves are on a pan with

the fire underneath, while Matthew of Westminster's version has the

bread under the ashes of the fire to bake.  <Axbakenne hlaf>

[ash-baked yeast bread loaves] and <heor›bacen hlaf> [hearth-baked

yeast bread loaves] are two variants in translations of Gregory's

Dialogues. One of the leechdoms instructs 'bake him a warm loaf on

the hearth' (<bacan him man flanne wearmen hlaf be heor›e>), but

another prescribes 'an oven-baked loaf' (<ofen baocan hlaf>).  Ovens

were enclosed - in their simplest form an inverted pot covered with

embers [similar methods are used to bake in Dutch ovens today].  A

clay-lined oven had been built into the chalk rubble walls of a what

was evidently a cooking hut on the sixth/seventh-century site at

Puddlehill, Beds.  In <The Life of Ceolfrith>, written soon after 716,

but probably referring to a time before 674, an oven is lit and then

cleansed when loaves are placed in it, suggesting a bread oven on

conventional lines in which faggots are lit and the ashes raked out

before baking.


p. 20

On feast days, at least in religious contexts, the ordinary bread was

relaced by a finer kind, or spiced cakes.  Feast-day bread may have

been made from enriched dough mixtures.  <Gesufel> loaves were

bequeathed as an offering on Sundays by Ealhburg and Eadwulf... and

the Abbotsbury guild loaves were to be <well gesyfled>.  <Gesufel>

seems to mean 'spiced' or 'flavoured'.  Guild loaves were also to be

<well besewen>, which perhaps means 'sprinkled with seeds'.  Dill,

caroway, poppy, fennel and sweet cecily seeds could all have been

used. <Leechdoms> gives instructions for making 'a cake' (<anne

cicel>) of 'finely sifted flour' (<getemsud melu>) into which cumin

and march seed was to be kneaded, so perhaps seeds were incorporated

into the dough.  Such enriched loaves could have been kneaded with

milk instead of water (cf. the <Erce> charm), or cream, and had eggs,

butter or other fats incorporated into the dough.  They may have been

sweetened with honey, or contained fruits, preserved in honey or

dried. Local variations of enriched loaves and buns may derive from

the special breads of Anglo-Saxon feast days.


p. 63

Fats and oils were almost certainly used as shortening in biscuits and

cakes. The glossing of [Latin] <crustulla> (a flat cake) by

<halstan/heallstan> (hall-stone, possibly hearth- or baking stone)

might suggest a mistranslation.  However, <halstan> could have been

something like a round of shortbread, and the name a humerous one like

'rock' cakes.  The French <astel>, a type of biscuit or cake recorded

in the twelfth century was compared to a flat, round stone.  This was

made from flour, shortening and honey, and would have been similar to

shortbread. The low temperature needed for cooking would have been

available in an oven after the bread had been baked, or at the

hearth-side. Enriched breads provided another sort of cake.


Other Anglo-Saxon cakes were small: at least <cicel> (cake) is glossed

by [Latin] <pastillus> (a little cake) in one of the later

word-lists... perhaps the standard cake size was 2-5 inches in

diameter, our bun or scone size.  Grube considers that cake was known

to the Germanic peoples long before the Migration period.  He thinks

that on occasion the term <æppel> (apple) was used to signify a

dumpling, as in 'knead it together so that you make it into an apple/a

dumpling' (<snuce tosomne flan gelice fle flu æppel wyrce>).  On occasion

these may have been sweetened to produce some sort of cake since

<hunig æppel> (honey dumpling) glossed Latin <pastellus>.





Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2005 08:24:59 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE:  Plums

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


The Norse probably had access to plums and prunes beginning around 900 CE

when they began direct trade with Byzantium.  Since Pliny (79 CE) states

that the Syrian plum made its way first to Greece and then to Italy, I would

assume that plums were in cultivation in the Mediterranean regions when

the Vikings arrived.


According to the Cambridge World History of Food, plums were introduced into

England by the Normans, suggesting that either the Romans or the Norse

had introduced their cultivation into Normandy.




> Kool! So it was the reg. plumes/prunes that were used and not the red.

> My question is, did the Norse have access to the prunes/plums?

> As was stated, "....but otherwise it fits what I know about Hiberno-Viking

> cooking. I've read that they loved plums."

> I was wanting docs. because Norse is one of my areas of interest and

> would love to increase the variety to the "smorgasbord". :)

> Lyse



Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2005 08:44:22 -0400

From: "a5foil" <a5foil at ix.netcom.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Plums  was: Lammas 1005 menu

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


According to Hagen, plum and sloe stones have been recovered at both York

and Gloucester. They may have had a variety similar to damsons. So  

it's not unreasonable to have plums in Dublin.





Date: Sun, 7 Aug 2005 10:41:06 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE:  Plums  and Irish

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Harald Hardrada, who invaded England in 1066, had been a member of the

Varangian Guard in his youth.  Vikings had been entering the Mediterranean

both through the Straits of Gibraltar and down the rivers in the Steppes

since the early 9th Century.  The probability that none of these venturers

wound up in Ireland is very low.


Rollo settled in Normandy in 911 and whether his Vikings brought the plums

or the Romans left them, that establishes a hundred year span for getting

them into Ireland.  Since the Vikings were in the trading business as well

as the raiding business, shipping prunes to other Viking settlements seems

highly probable.


Were I looking for further evidence to support or refute the contention, I

would look at what information is available on the diet of Viking Era





> From my understanding she is trying for Irish Norse feast. The Rus and

> the Svea were in the Mediterranean but not the Irish.

> Also, there was little contact between the Romans in Briton and the Irish.

> If she is trying for Irish Norse then it is a very slim possibility for

> the Irish to have plums (actually prunes).

> I am not sure about the red plums.

> And though Normandy seems to have the plums does not mean that the Irish

> had them. Also, the Normans would have introduced the plum either a little

> before or after 1066 (into England, not Ireland) and I think she is  

> trying for 1005.

> Lyse



Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 07:19:14 +0200

From: UlfR <ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE:  Plums  and Irish

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Terry Decker <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net> [2005.08.07] wrote:

> Were I looking for further evidence to support or refute the contention, I

> would look at what information is available on the diet of Viking Era

> Dublin.


Not primary source, but Thora Sharpstooth lists them for a bunch of

viking age locations (http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/vikfood.html).




UlfR Ketilson                               ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org



Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 20:19:32 +0200

From: UlfR <ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] RE:  Plums  and Irish

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


UlfR <ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org> [2005.08.08] wrote:

> Terry Decker <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net> [2005.08.07] wrote:

>> Were I looking for further evidence to support or refute the  

>> contention, I

>> would look at what information is available on the diet of Viking Era

>> Dublin.


> I have a sleeping child on my shoulder, else I could check a PhD thesis

> on viking age plant food I've got lying around.


The child has woken up and I have found the book :-/



   Ann-Marie Hansson  "On Plant Food in the Scandinavian Peninsula in  Early

   Medieval Times"  Thesis at Archaelogical Research Laboratory (Stockholm

   University) 1997


She lists that there was traces of "Prunus sp." found in Birka. Most of

the thesis was on bread (with some work on hops and plant food remains

from a couple of sited. No idea what Prunus species, though.




UlfR Ketilson                               ulfr at hunter-gatherer.org



Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2011 12:57:25 -0800 (PST)

From: H Westerlund-Davis <yaini0625 at yahoo.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Icelandic, Saami and "Viking Food"


Something to add to our repertoire of bizarre and yummy foods.


Lifrarpylsa - Icelandic style Haggis


Mj?lkurso?inn lundi- Puffin in milk


Svi? og svi?asulta- Sheep's heads and sheep's head jam



Bl??m?r - Icelandic blood sausage(


med viltsaus- Roasted Reindeer with game sauce. I have about a dozen variations

of this recipe. This is the quickest version in English. If anyone can send me

reindeer I will be Seventh Heaven! Elk is the closes I can find. Caribou is

seasonal and recently difficult to get.




The Saami have a dozen or variations of cooking and serving reindeer. They even

made butter and cheese from the milk.  After the 17th Century many Saami women

started taking care of goats and cattle, but reindeer remained a staple. I have

to find it again, but in recent years they have had "Saami Iron Chef" in

Northern Sweden using reindeer.



?n?g? ?orrabl?t! February is also the month where Iceland celebrates ?orri!

This is the time of month where skyrh?karl,and glerh?karl are eaten with a lot

ofbrennivin. ( wonder what this is??? It makes lutfisk taste yummy!)





Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 09:08:00 -0400

From: Elise Fleming <alysk at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-cooks <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>,

        "mk-cooks at midrealm.org" <mk-cooks at midrealm.org>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Viking Age Cookbook?


Greetings! Found this link (which I made into TinyURL) in a Twitter

comment: http://tinyurl.com/d533hjb .


It's on someone's Facebook page and says, "A cookbook and culinary

factbook based on what we know today about the Viking Age food culture.

Both the recipes and the factbook part are based on finds, literary

sources, other contemporary sources and experimental archaeology."


The description is given thusly: ?An Early Meal - a Viking Age Cookbook

& Culinary Odyssey? is more than just a Viking Age cookbook. It is a

combination of a textbook on Viking Age culinary practices and

mouthwatering recipes based on archaeological finds and experimental



The book is a result of a 15 year long collaboration between research

and experiments of Daniel Serra, culinary archaeologist - experimental

archaeologist and doctoral student - and the culinary skills and palate

of Hanna Tunberg - foodie, sommelier and archaeologist.


The book is planned to be released by late spring and is the first book

published by ChronoCopia Publishing."


The recipes, if any, won't be taken from period sources since none

exist, but maybe they might be somewhat more "authentic" than what is

done by re-enactors. Does anyone have further information?


Alys K.


Elise Fleming

alysk at ix.netcom.com



Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:02:01 -0400

From: "Terri Morgan" <online2much at cox.net>

To: "'Cooks within the SCA'" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Viking Age Cookbook?


<<< The description is given thusly: ?An Early Meal - a Viking Age

Cookbook & Culinary Odyssey? is more than just a Viking Age

cookbook. It is a combination of a textbook on Viking Age

culinary practices and mouthwatering recipes based on

archaeological finds and experimental archaeology.


Does anyone have further information?

Alys K. >>>


I own it. In fact, I was just looking at it this morning, skimming for ideas

of what to serve to a bunch of Viking reenactors next month. Overall, I am

not very impressed. The beginning chapters of the book cover various time

periods; Hunter/Gatherer, Farmers & Livestock Breeders, Bronze casters &

Potters, and so on through the Viking era to the mid-medieval period. Each

era has a small drawing assigned to it and once you get to the recipe

chapters (one recipe per page) that picture is your only guide as to which

era the recipe is based in. Most of the recipes are based on, or influenced

by, the period cooking texts we are already familiar with. There are some

oddities to them, for instance, the "Walnut Pesto" on page 46 (with the

picture showing that it is based the 1200-1350s) uses a "large pinch of

sugar" but doesn't specify what type of sugar. It suggests that the pesto

would go well with fish. There is no information about which area of Europe

the dish may have been eaten in. (The ingredient list was; walnuts, sage

leaves, white wine, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar.)


A later recipe, "Troll Cr?me" (based in the "seeresses and seafarers" era of

600 - 1050) has one whisking 4 cups of cranberries into a single egg white,

then dribbling honey into the mixture. It doesn't say what the final result

should look like, simply that you should garnish it with additional

cranberries. There was no mention of mashing the four cups of cranberries

before adding them to the egg white. I have no idea what sort of period dish

this recipe is supposed to be.





Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:43:09 -0500

From: Karstyl <karstyl at gmail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Viking Age Cookbook?


Hrothny, I think you might be referring to a different book, perhaps with a

similar title. ?An Early Meal - a Viking Age Cookbook & Culinary Odyssey?

is not out yet.


The facebook page for the new book is:



It sounds more promising than the one you have!





Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 08:53:05 -0700 (PDT)

From: Dan Schneider <schneiderdan at ymail.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Viking Age Cookbook?


Daniel and Hannah are probably the two main early medieval food historians in Sweden today. Their previous book "En S?s av ringa v?rde" is a translationand redaction of the Harpestrang cookbook (using both the Q and K editions)into modern Swedish. Daniel has worked as a food historian at Glimmengehus, a medieval house museum in (I think) Sk?ne, the Lofotr viking museum in Norway, and the Lejre research center in Denmark, ans well as lecturing free-lance. I don't know Hannah personally, but I know she and Daniel have collaborated for several years. There's a facebook  page for the new book: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/An-Early-Meal-A-Viking-Age-Cookbook-Culinary-Odyssey/416525951771056?id=416525951771056&sk=info


Dan (a different one)



Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 12:37:11 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Devra has An Early Meal  cookbook


I checked this am and Devra of Poison Pen Press DOES have copies in stock.


An Early Meal - a Viking Age Cookbook & Culinary Odyssey - $45 plus s/h




She's been having trouble posting to the list of late but she's still a go to source for cookery books.




On Feb 19, 2014, at 5:57 PM, Deborah Hammons <mistressaldyth at gmail.com> wrote:

<< I am going to hope it's at Estrella.  The only American source seems to be



Aldyth >>


Johnnae wrote--

< The IACP announced their nominees for various cookbooks today.


Culinary History

Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History by Rachel Laudan (University

Of California Press).


An Early Meal - A Viking Age Cookbook & Culinary

Odyssey by Daniel Serra & Hanna Tunberg (Chronocopia Publishing).


Yes, that is correct. An Early Meal is up culinary history.


<the end>

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