The Food of the Vikings

Written by Phin Upham

Vikings had no method of storing their food long term, and being a sea faring people they had little motivation to stay put. They would have had to smoke their meat or fish, or rubbed them down with salts to preserve the meat while sailing. They would also need to break down some of their other ingredients to make bread, milk and other important food stuffs. Vikings often took two meals per day, which were served in the morning and evening respectively.

Most people were served in a main hall, although Viking nobility may have had their own serving spaces. Most food was finger food, picked off of wooden trenchers, or cut with a short-blade knife that was kept on hand for various tasks.

The horns of cattle were filled with ale and mead, which was drunk often at feasts, although other beverages were drunk from wooden bowls. Porridge and soups were also eaten with wooden spoons, out of bowls made from animal antlers and horns.

While most people ate together, the act of eating was not the same as feasting. Feasting was a much more social event, used to celebrate special occasions or changing seasons. These grand gatherings required a lot of planning to make the execution just right, feasts often lasted several days.

These feasts weren’t much different from the Middle Age equivalent seen all throughout Europe, but there would have been much heavier drinking. If the horn was passed to you, you would have been unable to refuse unless you were sick or old.

Phin Upham

Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.