The scope of this book is kind of impressive – it tries to cover Danish food history. Half of the book is however based around food after 1850 where there are of course more source material. For my purposes that is sadly where I find it least interesting. And I did find that the part of the book that covers pre-1660 is way better – in my opinion. The focus of the book everyday cooking rather than cooking by the elite.
Title: An Early Meal – a Viking Age Cookbook & Culinary Odyssey
Author: Daniel Serra & Hanna Tunberg
Genre: Historical cookbook, viking
I also read this book in the spring so I rely on my goodreads review to write this review.
While the other recipe books I have for the Viking age tend to play a bit fast and loose with the accuracy of the food, this book is all about being as authentic as can be. Where Bålmad for moderne vikinger and Mit vilde vikingekøkken are very much books to get modern people to try food that might be like what the vikings ate, this is much more of a historical recreations based on evidence. This is a much more serious project. And it shows in the long introduction of the book and of the chapters.
It has been forever since i have done a book review here. I have been doing a bit of reading on historical cooking again, promted by listing to “The Great Courses: Food: A Cultural Culinary History“. I have read Bålmad for moderne vikinger” in the spring but I think I remember it enough to write a bit about what I think about it.
Saturday I visited MoMu (Moesgaard Museum) with my boyfriend who had yet to see the museum. I of course visited the museum shop and picked up a viking cookbook, that I was yet to own (Bålmad for moderne vikinger). It had a lot of great information along with quite a few interesting recipes. It also had an introduction where it among other things talked about which food were available in the viking age. It wasn’t quite sure about some of the items, which sparked me to research some more. I decided to make a list of food stuff that was available to the vikings at home and something might have encountered on their travels and possibly imported. I also decided to make a list of food stuff that they definitely didn’t have.
Browsing the web, especially on pinterest I sometimes come across some medieval and viking recipes, for reenactment events or markets no less, that makes me groan. This isn’t about perfect authenticity, but it is about presenting something that is plausible – especially when cooking for the public.
In my little project to make a list of what the vikings might have eaten, I thought it might be a good idea to make a list of food that is definitely no-go for viking and early medieval events. The food on this list was either not invented till much much later OR is food stuff only found in the Americas and that the Europeans wouldn’t know till after Columbus – like turkey.
Bailey was the most common grain in the viking age (in Scandinavia). The Danish word for barley; “byg”- means grown grains. The archaeologists think that barley crackers flour have been common. Most bread was baked on a hot stone next to the fire – it seems likely that they would make barley crackers as well as flat breads.
I visited my sister in Copenhagen this past weekend and among other things we went to Nationalmuseet (free entrance) to eat brunch and see their viking exhibition – which were both great. Their brunch is always good new nordic cooking with lots to choose from. The viking exhibition is part of their antiquity exhibition which in my opinion is a world-class exhibition. Especially the black treasure rooms are amazing. Well worth a visit. However their medieval exhibition is not worth your time. While we were there we of course had to visit the museum store and I brought “Mit vilde vikingekøkken” among other wonderful things.