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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - Vikings - Food and Diet - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! This week join me as we explore the typical Viking diet.


Farmers raised beef and milk cows. A farmstead with a lot of cattle was considered wealthy and, interestingly, the word fe' means both cattle and money showing how closely they were linked. The cattle breeds were a bit hardier so they could endure the cold winters. This breed shown, the Fjall, was a hornless all-white cow used for both meat and milk.


Farmers raised goats for meat and milk, pigs for meat, and sheep for wool, meat and milk. These sheep had thick coats that shed naturally. They might hunt bears, red deer or elk.

Fish, such as herring or salmon, was a common source of food and could be preseved by air drying, pickling, salting or smoking over a fire pit.


Food was typically boiled in a cauldron and Vikings made a stew called skause which might contain any number of ingredients tossed in. Stew would be eaten with bread (which was unleavened) made from whatever grew nearby (rye, barley, oats, or even peas).

Other crops the farmers raised included corn, peas, beans, cabbages, apples, berries, hazelnuts and walnuts.

Honey was used as a sweetener. They also extracted salt from the salt water. Spices could be found locally or through trade.

Picture References:
Fjall Cattle - http://www.livestockoftheworld.com/cattle/Breeds.asp?BreedLookupID=1036&SpeciesID=8&Screenwidth=479
Sheep - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22051619
Feast - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/food_01.shtml

References:
History.com - https://www.history.com/news/the-surprisingly-sufficient-viking-diet
Viking Food - http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/food_01.shtml
"Everyday Life in Viking Times" by Michael Gibson, ISBN#0-7500-1472-5

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