Viking Foods – a collection of handy links n chat

Viking Foods – a collection of handy links n chat

I was sent an interesting link and asked for more. Lots of friends sent me information on Viking foodstuffs, so I thought I would put all the links and chats together in one place. I am always glad to hear more.

I pontificate quite a lot so more rigid findings will be found in the links supplied and the future links and information you send me. Here you will find me ruminating like an ungulate.

Trine at Njardarheimr

I asked around about information of foodstuffs and a good friend Leah mentioned hearing of work by the York Archaeological Trust in York, Britain. Lots of bone and poo. Here are couple of things I ‘picked up’ from the conversation. Professor Terry O’Conner of University of York said that cattle were at the heart of daily lives. Although they were quite small compared to contemporary cows they were used for many things, leather, horn, meat, fat, dairy products and of course bone carving.  

For some great bone carving skills, and indeed leather working, do visit Peter Merrett on his Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/peter.merrett.7

Pete

Old bones is what were found mainly I understand, and this seems to indicate that the cattle were used for labour. They would be hauling things, carts and ploughs and such I guess. Dairy products would also be another reason for keeping the cows longer.

A couple of things came to mind, I would love feedback on these thoughts. Were there young male bones? Did they kill off most of the bulls and keep a few for breeding? Perhaps they hadn’t thought of that. If haulage was so important then bulls or steers would be useful.

I have heard Viking presenters describe the slaughter of animals in the early winter or late fall. They say that you tally up how much animal feed you have for the winter, calculate how many animals that will feed and then work out how many you can keep. So presumably there was a great working of animal materials at this time. Drying and working.

Preservation of food stuff is a thing I would like to hear more about. The communal gathering of wild flora for instance. The ways to keep meat. The equipment used. They must have been a lot of that going on. Where did they get the preservation materials? Lye, smokehouses, salt, vinegar, fermentation, honey boiling. I don’t know but I want to.

They would have course eaten lots of fish. There are remains to show so. I understand millions of oyster shells were found in the Coppergate dig in York. I imagine these were mainly fresh-water oysters. I wonder if they found pearls?

The sea isn’t far away (along the Humber) and Scandinavia isn’t that far away, especially if you think of preserved fish.

Trine Volder

There are two rivers in York. The folks of Jorvik would certainly have noticed them, because they come up to visit you on a regular basis! Eel come to mind, I have seen reconstructions of eel catchers.

Holger’s eel catcher

I have also seen coracles. Again, I want to hear more.

That dig in York found bones of an odd selection of creatures. As well as all the likely suspects when it comes to eating meat and fish there were also birds, frogs and mice bones.

Holger’s pic of Njardarheimr’s chickens

What, I wonder, about the bones of animals which provide fur. There is a controversial thought. They are not mentioned here. Did the Vikings hunt for fur to wear? They traded it yes.

Cooking methods are also pointers, cauldrons, flat stones, griddles possibly, spits and pits.

When it come to the analysis of poo (coprolite?) another surprise food ingredient was discovered. Grit! They ate a lot of that, especially the poor. It got in the flour and wore away the teeth. The teeth were a limitation on life.

Thank you to Fiona for sending me a link to – From Loki to lipids: Using modern biology to discover Viking culture

https://bbsrc.ukri.org/news/fundamental-bioscience/2017/171014-f-using-modern-biology-to-discover-viking-culture/?fbclid=IwAR3Dom5_xqIC8IpXMJWBFjR4UF5BAfFhxRAP5dRdqTJS0lVyQdYUQ4bm_Bc

So the above is looking at, among other things, the residues and fats within utensils. Looking at artefacts to see the logistics of eating.

And an interesting link to Yule in an interview with Dr Ashby…

https://ahrc.ukri.org/research/readwatchlisten/features/festive-food-a-viking-feast-for-yuletide/#:~:text=Dr%20Ashby%20currently%20directs%20the%20AHRC-funded%20project%20Melting,Can%20you%20tell%20us%20a%20little%20about%20yourself%3F

I didn’t notice any reference to alcohol.

I was intrigued by the longstanding connection between Scandinavia and the Arctic.

And here is the Melting Pot site…

https://www.meltingpot.site/

A great links page, and I like their blog the best.

Some other thoughts…

We can also look to the sagas and the stories and poems for pointers.

I hear talk of ballast plants, you fill the ship with stuff to sell, you trade for lighter things, you need ballast. Loads of soil and rock perhaps. This needs emptying out when you get home. So does all the animal waste I guess too. There are seeds in there. Stuff grows. I have been told that oregano grows in Norway because of this factor. So I hear.

Some common-sense thoughts (ramblings).

The placing of settlements, and marker stones point to foodstuffs. What is available in an area and what trade routes could have been established.

The availability of materials. Did the Icelandic people eat rotten food because they didn’t have any trees?

My pal Holger from Germany who I know from working with him in Njardarheimr Viking Town, and his wonderful crafting skills, posted this link to our group chat. This is the piece that got us all talking about other information and links.

https://sciencenorway.no/archaeology-food-viking-age/what-did-the-vikings-really-eat/1706735?fbclid=IwAR3xO_EEyC7AXSpbyowSmMHzC_Dhg3KCMixtOkDNQ60ppt4Llotmo9ZUnf4

Angelica

I can’t help but disagree with the idea that Vikings lived from hand to mouth. You only survive long hard winters if you plan, work hard and work together.

Otherwise it is great.

Sea-leeks is interesting. Odin’s brothers planted them at the beginning of the world! So they must be important.

Mind you, there is also plenty of talk of snakes. Whole pit-fulls. Would that be true?

I would love to see all the veg and herbs we see planted out. The Viking house at Green Bay USA could have a go at a garden from these links in this blog.

Njardarheimr in Gudvangen would be really enhanced by gardens. There is talk here of plots and gardens.

Some of the Gudvangen Vikings hanging out after work.

I am sure I have seen other references to plots and lots. There was mention somewhere of the idea that they improved the land. They must have used compost.

Quite a bit of talk of cultivation too, especially onions.

As for plants Leah mentions someone who is involved in Historic England

https://historicengland.org.uk/

by Chris Evans

Hayley McParland their science advisor. She has written on the findings at the site of the Jorvik Centre ride in York.

The majority of plant finds seem to have been grasses, certainly on a microscopic analysis level; these were most likely oats, rye, wheat, barley and other grain producers. I guess these were mainly for flour, but could also have been for brewing (especially if they found Yarrow?).

Ah, there were lots of archaeobotanical remains which showed the culture, diet and crafts. I don’t have specifics though.

The methods of dying material could be tied back further towards plant cultivation, awareness and gathering.

Dying, Needle-binding and photography by Līga Supantīsaūli Gūlbs

I haven’t so far on this quest discovered any links to medicine, folk-medicine, folklore or beliefs.

Leah suggested that if you were visiting the Jorvik Centre you pre-book a copy of the Jorvik Centre Companion Guide to be waiting for you on arrival. I see you can mail order a copy but it seemed to be way more expensive that way.

Real nice to see a friend in this video for the York Archaeological Trust on our topic of Viking foods.

Viking Food and Cooking with Leoba

Ah thank you Zoe, at last talk of cooperative gathering and preservation.

Beehives?!?

And remember to spit.

It was also nice to see Fiona portraying Wulfruna demonstrating the related topic of pottery.

I have enjoyed spending time with culinary archaeologist Daniel Serra, here is a link to a wonderful book – 

https://www.facebook.com/PastFood/

Please use links above

Let me take you now to University Wisconsin Green Bay’s Viking house.

It was built by the amazing couple Elspeth and Owen Christianson

https://www.uwgb.edu/viking-house/about-owen-and-elspeth/

Do visit the Facebook page for the Viking House which is managed by Jarldress Professor Heidi Sherman-Spendlow with the assistance of Jarldress-in-waiting Mariah, the building skills of Trodin Hegn (Dwayne) and many others.

https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse/

The grounds, buildings and events have pretty much been on hold as things have been everywhere.

The future is ahead of us and will blossom deep into the past.

The Society for Creative Anachronism have a group in Green Bay and they are a great bunch of active reenactors of history. They get well involved with the development of ‘the house’.

Now let’s go to amazing star Alda Raven. As well as her work as a singer and creator of Gods Bless Ya! she also hosts the culinary creative Viking Kitchen which features Viking and Vikingesque cookery.

Here is her introductory feature…

And her visit to the Viking Village of Njardarheimr in Gudvangen, Norway where she works with Viking cook Trine Volder.   

We loved dining with the Green Bay group of Sons of Norway. As well as a whole array of wonderful food from Scandinavia they had asked me to bring along a contribution. I realised all was planned so I thought I needed to create a dish no one else would think of; hence – Gas Station Delight!

https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2019/11/23/norwegian-food-with-the-sons-of-norway/

Gas Station Delight

And the wonderful array of delights from Sons of Norway GB…

Here is Trodin’s oven at the Green Bay Viking House…

Then we got the big fire going…

Here Heidi interviews Trodin (Dwayne) as he builds the oven…

He and I cooked up for the wonderfully entertaining Telga Glima…

Now over to Norway to visit the chieftain’s recreated kitchen…

To finish this is not cooking and not just Viking, but this is worth a search for on Facebook; Medieval Makers – re-enacting the medieval daily life; ace site.

That’s episode one of Viking food links and chat.

I am no expert, in fact even worse, I am a storyteller. I am interested, and I am even more interested to hear more. Do please send links and suggestions (Please don’t tell me off).

Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

Viking Travel Course – Part Two – Becoming a Viking

Viking Travel Course – Part Two – Becoming a Viking 

Welcome to part two of my personal log of the exciting adventure of being part of the team for the UWGB Viking Travel Course. Yes, this time we will look at Becoming a Viking.

I am supplying links to all things Viking, including links to Njardarheimr Viking Town and all the places of interest along our route.

(Visit UW Green Bay Viking House on Facebook to find out more about the course.)

I am also going to include help on how to dress like a Viking and in particular on making your own clothes. In blog three I will be interviewing my good friend from Viking Connections Tim Jorgensen. He will be telling how we can team up with their Viking Apprentice to learn more about working with Viking fabrics.

You will want to shop around for some things, in particular accessories, so here first are the links for shopping (NB not included in the budget). You can buy materials and patterns, you can commission people, you can acquire jewellery, hats etc; here’s the shop links…

Oh no, first a mention on boots. You might want to buy Viking boots, you might want to wait till you get there and learn how to make your own, but in the mean-time let me tell you that new comers are allowed a little leeway when it comes to authenticity in the footwear department. If you have some simple plain boots which are not too noticeable you will be fine. You can always send us pics for a chat.

Back to apparel links…

Outfit Contacts

We will be hearing from Steph Anderson, the Viking Apprentice for 2020, who is going to be undertaking apparel masterclasses in Sweden and we hope to arrange facetime with her.
Sophia Helen offers ready-made, or patterns, or to be someone to run workshops
Sophia Helen – https://www.facebook.com/waffleandwood/
Toni DB says, if anyone is looking to buy; etsy.com/nineworldsclothing has some nice wool goodies for the Norwegian weather.
etsy.com/nineworldsclothing
https://www.facebook.com/toni.db.7
Leah O’Cuinneagain says, I can send links for patterns, but otherwise I too am happy to make clothes if students would prefer 🙂
Leah coordinates the Viking group for York university and would be happy to help with enquires via – Vanaheim Vikings York on Facebook
She also hand-makes authentic clothing via – https://www.facebook.com/HafurtaskCrafts
Karin Byom – nailbinding for gloves and hats etc, also tablet weaving supplies and happy to advise on all things textile – is based at Njardarheimr and can run courses there – https://www.facebook.com/karin.byom
Ann Asplund says, I’ve got some patterns – what about a skype session where I could help people draft their pattern with their own measurements? Plus with one session helping them take their measurements.
https://www.facebook.com/AnnOther-Day
http://www.annotherday.com/
I am told NilleViking Glæsel has some patterns
https://www.amazon.com/Viking-Clothing-Garment-Nille-Glaesel/dp/1494475227
https://nillegraphic.myportfolio.com/work
http://vikingageclothing.susannabroome.se/booklets/http://vikingageclothing.susannabroome.se/booklets/
vikingageclothing.susannabroome.se
https://www.facebook.com/swanhildassweets/ – for authentic life path jewellery.
Jelling Dragon are very well known for all things Viking – https://jelldragon.com/
Valhallas Silver are a great company – and they visit Njardarheimr – https://www.valhallassilver.com
A search showed up – https://grimfrost.com
Bruni Bear is an expert in nailbinding, she is also an authenticity officer for the BBC – https://www.etsy.com/ca/people/BruniBjarnja – (She is also on Facebook)

We will be learning skills and making things when we are there, and there is a great shop in the village for jewellery etc.

Visiting Vikings – Lots of links Relating to Njardarheimr Viking Town, Gudvangen, Norway
https://www.visitflam.com/activities/the-viking-village-njardarheim/
https://www.visitflam.com/ – top attractions
http://njardarheimr.com/ – including freeman application and guidelines
www.vikingvalley.no/
www.facebook.com/vikingvalley/
https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/viking-village-njardarheimr/200194/
Market footage – https://youtu.be/aB5-lu-lZnU
https://www.facebook.com/njardarheimr/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/gudvangenvikingmarket/
https://www.facebook.com/VisitingVikingValley/
https://thevikingdragon.com/
https://adrianspendlowblog.com
valkyrja.com – Viking blog
A walk around Gudvangen – https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2019/09/03/your-name-in-runes-plus-the-greatest-hits-of-my-gudvangen-commentaries/
Information from my travels –https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2018/12/07/visiting-viking-attractions-an-idea-swap-first-draft/
A 12 blog tutorial on being a storyteller – https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2018/04/01/storytelling-is-1-the-introduction/
A guide to re-enactment – https://adrianspendlowblog.com/2017/10/03/lh-living-history-characterisation-tips-for-re-enactors-2/
A Viking –https://bull-hansen.com/blog/
Slow TV Trip Across Norway – https://thenextweb.com/video/2016/08/04/norway-slow-tv-netflix/
Good, simple, overview of the Vikings in Norway – https://www.visitnorway.com/things-to-do/art-culture/vikings/
Borre and the Midgard Historical Center –
https://www.followthevikings.com/visit/midgard-i-borre
https://vestfoldmuseene.no/en/midgard-viking-centre/visit/
UW Green Bay Viking House – https://www.facebook.com/UWGBVikingHouse/
North Star Vikings is a Minnesota based Viking Age Reenactment group located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area focusing on the later Viking Age (approx 900 to 1066). – https://www.facebook.com/NorthStarVikings/
Applications and enquiries;
Chat to the team at UWGB for final details, (I am just an assistant) – here’s the email for Professor H Sherman, shermanh@uwgb.edu

And the link to the first blog in this series Viking Travel Course – Part One

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00

The Chieftain’s Kitchen

I have the great honour of caring for the Chieftain’s Kitchen in Njardarheimr Viking Town in Gudvangen, Norway.

Being the Skald

How to play Hnefltafl – forthcoming

Your Name in Runes plus a trip around the Valley

Music in the Hall – Forthcoming

Goodbye Gudvangen – Forthcoming

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Saying Thank You

Your donation of $3 will encourage me to continue in my creative efforts.

$3.00