Thursday, June 16, 2016

How to Eat Like a Viking by Gina Conkle

How to Eat Like a Viking: 3 Things You MUST Know



After a trip to Sweden in 1999, Vikings have fascinated me. The first romance novel I wrote was Norse Jewel, a Viking romance. But, the Norse hammers in my head needed balance. So, I wrote Georgian romance set squarely in mid-1700s.

Lately, the scales tipped back to hot Viking tales again. That's what brought me to one of my favorite research finds, An Early Meal.

Yeahhhh, the Sagas are full of food and feasting, but this takes you on a gastronomical archaeological journey to seven Scandic sites. The result? Tasty, modern recipes with historical mileage.

Hold on! There's more to this adventure than a book report on "What did Vikings eat?"

An Early Meal is the result of two Nordic experts' finds, a mix of food and history. Be still my heart!

I decided to not only write more Viking romances but to eat like Vikings too. Yes. I'm planning a series of "Eat Like a Viking" blog posts this summer, cooking and eating Dark Ages recipes. As if that wasn't enough, I wanted a Viking farmer experience, so I started a small garden. [side note: I grow organic tulips but am ambivalent about my fruit and veggie grower skills].

So what are those 3 ways to "Eat Like a Viking"?

#1 Eat Your Veggies! 

Turns out mom was right. Eat your veggies and you'll grow up to be big and strong. As in Vikings ate kale. Lots of it. The decision to grow kale was a no-brainer when recipe after recipe featured kale.

And wouldn't you know it, the first of my plants to bud? Kale.


Don't you feel better knowing strapping Vikings ate their kale? I do. 


#2 It's All About the Seasons

On this culinary adventure, I've been struck by how much the seasons ruled life. In spring, while you and I celebrate flowers blooming, eating whatever goes in our grocery cart, Vikings ate pickled or dried vegetables with their dried or smoked meat. Food supplies were also regional though trading helped spread the culinary wealth. There's a lot to share about fish tales, but I'll save those for later.

Late spring greens infused fresh food in their diet. Summer would've featured lots of dairy from cow, sheep, and goats. Recent Bronze Age finds proved a mummy found in the Swiss Alps enjoyed Swiss cheese, paving the way for Emmentaler and Gruyere. 

Food abounded late summer/early fall. Harvest came. Herds would be culled for winter. 

What does that mean for my upcoming "Eat Like a Viking" blog? I'm going to make cheese, churn my own butter, and use whey to preserve meat.




#3 Everything Comes Full Circle

From the seasonal eating trend to the current craze for bone broth, the old way of doing things stands the test of time.

A perfect example: I just finished reading a book on the miracle of bone broth. Wouldn't you know it, Bronze Age Scandinavian digs reveal animal bones with drilled holes. The bones showed signs of having been boiled (to make bone broth). Nutrient rich marrow was released during the slow cooking process.

This summer I plan to "Eat Like a Viking" and blog about it. I'm going for the whole deal: organic gardening with kale, blackberries, turnips, onions, apples, and mint, using whey for meat preservation, making cheese and butter, and cooking Viking cuisine (including making mead).

Join me on this culinary adventure by following my author website ginaconkle.com. You'll also find my Summer Reads giveaway and learn about my upcoming Viking romance To Find a Viking Treasure.






Thanks for stopping by. Now you tell me: What's the craziest food and/or recipe you've ever tried?

Have a great day!
~Gina

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66 comments:

  1. What a cool idea for a blog. I had a kale salad yesterday, so I'm feeling very Viking-ish.

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  2. That's why you're able to smack down those marathon races, raise your daughter, and write so many great historical romances!. I need more kale in my life :-)

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  3. I'm always interested to read about food in books - took a lot more time and energy just to survive in those days before grocery stores and refrigeration. I think bone broth soup is the tastiest thing ever and wonderful if you are feeling under the weather.

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    1. Hi Di,
      It was funny how I'd read a modern book that among other things touted the benefits of bone broth. Then, I read about bone broth as a dietary mainstay going as far back as the Bronze Age. It'll be interesting when family starts eating the Viking recipes!

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  4. I want to come over for dinner :) Great post, Gina!

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    1. Hi Amanda,
      Thanks! So far the gardening's been good (small scale for sure). I'll keep you posted on the cooking. :-)

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  5. I keep seeing bone broth everywhere. I'm going to have to try it. You've inspired me, Gina! If it was good enough for the Vikings... :)

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    1. Hi Terri,
      Yes, isn't it funny about bone broth!?! I hear about actors and actresses swearing by it. I knew a nutritionist in California (her son was friends with my oldest) and she sang the praises of bone broth (and that was 3-4 years ago). If only I could put down my diet coke... :-)

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  6. Can't wait to read your posts about your experiments! I've been wanting to try the bone marrow broth myself. I've done the butter and cheese making. So much effort to creating food back then!

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    1. Hi Diana,
      Thanks! I just told my husband next up is cheese and butter making. We may have to do a timelapse video of the churning. We'll have to compare notes on bone broth recipes. I'm ready to do this!

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  7. So ambitious, Gina! I'd be afraid of poisoning myself...even though I'm very Scandinavian. I blogged about my DNA testing on this blo several months ago.

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    1. Hi Ashlyn,
      Yes, you look Nordic. Hubs and I have gone back and forth on the pasteurized/non-pasteurized dairy discussion. We'll see how this goes (and I need to look up your DNA test blog-- SO cool!).

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  8. Wow,super cool idea! :)
    So far I haven't tried any crazy food :D :)

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    1. Hi Bube,
      We'll see how this one goes. Getting the garden together was fun. My dad was in town, and he helped me. Did I mention my parents are farmers? As in my mom started an organic CSA business but she lives in another state...so I can't cheat and use what she grows. :-)

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  9. I'm kinda jealous you can grow kale in the summer, Gina. It would shrivel and die from the heat where I live. I tried one winter and it didn't do well then either..... Maybe it's me. ;-)

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  10. I had no idea they ate so much kale! Now I need to go find the Swedish name for that. :-)

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    1. Like Popeye with his spinach, Vikings had kale. :-)

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  11. I had no idea they ate so much kale! Now I need to go find the Swedish name for that. :-)

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    1. I'd love to know the Swedish name for kale!

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  12. I don't know, sounds like an awful lot of work, lol. Good luck on your ambitious project!

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    1. So far it's been a labor of love. We'll see what happens when I'm in the middle of summer and want to order take out! Thanks for stopping by the blog. ~Gina

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    1. Thanks Stacey! I'll keep you posted. ~Gina

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  14. Awesome, I love reading books like this and truly admire those whose imagination can write!

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    1. Thank you very much. I appreciate that! ~Gina

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  15. Awesome idea!! I've never tried it, will now!!

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    1. You can follow along with me as I share the ups and downs of this project. Thanks for stopping by the blog today! ~Gina

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  16. Kale! Knew it was good for me since my favorite baseball player swears by it. :) I've tried and need to try again to acquire the taste.

    Neat idea for a blog.

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    1. You know my favorite variant of kale is "Lacinato" (also called Tuscan Kale). It's a sweeter, darker green leaf type. Unfortunately it's not the kind Vikings ate. Thanks for stopping by the blog today, Sophia. I hope you check out future posts. ~Gina

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    1. Thanks Deedee! We'll see what my family says when they eat a Viking dinner! ~Gina

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  18. I love Highlanders & Vikings. The eating like a Viking sounds really interesting. Thx for the opportunity.

    Kathleen Nichols

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    1. We are like-minded! Braw highlanders and big, strong Vikings are the best!! ;-)
      -Gina

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  19. I love my morning Kale smoothie. maybe ill expand that vegetable. The strangest thing I ever ate would have to be haggis but I will try pretty much anything. I have a steel stomach nothing gets to me.

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    1. Good for you with the kale smoothie. I've seen recipes for green juices and green smoothies (and tried a few). Very healthy. I had haggis in Scotland and I liked it. That surprised me because I didn't think I would. I hope you stop by the blog again, Lorraine. I'll bet you could teach me a thing or two about food and smoothies. ~Gina

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  20. Never gonna try haggis unless I am forced to do so.

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    1. Hi Thea,
      It's pretty good. There's always those food surprises out there. I hope you come by again for some Viking food (no haggie, I promise). ~Gina

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  21. Sounds a bit like a Paleo diet. Kale may be a super food, but is an acquired taste. I have trouble with the texture in salads. I'll be reading to see if you find an easier recipe to swallow!

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    1. You know, I thought the same thing when I started reading what Vikings ate (about the Paleo diet). The only difference is there are breads and cereals (which aren't featured in the Paleo way, right?). The good news is there's variants of kale; the bad news is the bitter tasting kale is the one Vikings grew. One of the recipes features it mixed in with with other foods -- maybe that makes it easier to swallow? Thanks for checking out the blog. I look forward to "seeing" you in future blogs. ~Gina

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  22. Sounds a bit like a Paleo diet. Kale may be a super food, but is an acquired taste. I have trouble with the texture in salads. I'll be reading to see if you find an easier recipe to swallow!

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  23. Can't say I'm a big fan of that cuisine...fish and kale are two of my LEAST favorite things to eat! But it will be interesting to see how things go with you. Try not to poison yourself with the meat and dairy preservation.

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    1. LOL! Some things are an acquired taste. I like fish, so that's not hard. I especially like salmon. I read in the Sagas Vikings fought over streams and rivers where salmon where found because it was a prized fish. I'll keep you posted on the meat and dairy preservation. :-)
      ~Gina

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  24. I'm not a picky eater, but I'm not a big fan of Kale. I'm not sure what my most adventurous meal was, unless it was a beet salad. had many a kitchen mishap, including gravy that was a puffy tortilla thing. My sister is still laughing at me! :)

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  25. I tried to make pickled cauliflower. It was so sour not even coating it in sugar helped it. Oh well, maybe next time.

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  26. Sounds yummy and fun!yes I do eat like a viking!

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  27. That was very cool to read about!

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  28. That was very cool to read about!

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  29. Great blog. I have yet to try kale. My oldest daughter told me it's very good. Guess I should try it one of these days. :)

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  30. thanks for the great advice :) Definitely going to follow this diet :) thanks for sharing!

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  31. Interesting to read what the Vikings ate. I am finding it hard to remember the strangest thing I have tasted. Let's just say I do taste foods and if I don't like them at least I have given myself the chance to try them out. One food that I did try that was delicious was reindeer meat. I wouldn't call it t we just don't have easy access to it where I live.

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  32. I meant to say I wouldn't call reindeer meat strange...

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  33. Nothing very crazy

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  34. Haha Asparagus that My MIL MADE me try I'm a picky eater LOL It wasn't bad as I remember but I'd NEVER tell her that she'll be making try bites of all those weird foods she eats ;)

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  35. I was a Peace Corps volunteer, so ate things most americans wouldn't even consider trying. We had bat wings and duck feet in a dark brown gravy once. Jumping salad was always fun. Go down to the shrimp ponds, dip a net in catching shrimp about an inch long. Dump them on a plate and pour vinegar on it all. Pick them up while they are jumping around and pop them in your mouth to eat. I never could manage the big grubs, but dog is actually good. Much better than "chocolate meat" which is pig intestine chopped up and cooked in pig's blood.

    I have tried haggis and it is pretty good.

    I am looking forward to learning about what the vikings ate and how they prepared it.

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  36. Vikings are very interesting race of people. I'm trying to catch up with Viking the series. I watch a few episodes just to get a feel for the series. It is very interesting.

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  37. This sounds interesting. I've always been fascinated about Vikings and their lives. Thanks for sharing this info.

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  38. This sounds interesting. I've always been fascinated about Vikings and their lives. Thanks for sharing this info.

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  39. My ancestors were Vikings, but I think I may disown them over the kale.

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  40. Sounds like the Vikings ate very well! I love your post and I love Vikings ♡ Thank you

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  41. I definitely need to eat more veggies!!

    Betul E.

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  42. I believe 'eating like a Viking' is a healthy way to go. I make juices with kale everyday. Adding baby spinach, mangos, and all that good stuff. I would love to be able to grow my own vegetables, but living in an apartment doesn't allow for that. Someday. I am looking forward to reading all your post in this series.

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  43. I need to start eating like a viking from now on. More veggies and fruits may not give me the strength of a viking but will surely make me healthier. Thanks for the tips!

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  44. Thank you for the opportunity to read your post.

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  45. We could learn from the Vikings! It's only in recent years that kale has been promoted for healthy diets.

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  46. I'm a picky eater but I love snacking on salted dried seaweed. They're a really tasty and crispy snack!

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