WHAT THE VIK­INGS ATE

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Turns out even poor Vik­ings fared bet­ter with food than the av­er­age English peas­ant dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages. Though their diet var­ied depend­ing on where they set­tled, Scan­di­na­vians gen­er­ally ate two meals a day, with some type of meat ev­ery day. Meat was not just for the wealthy.

Fish, shell­fish, seal, whale, farm an­i­mals and wild an­i­mals were gen­er­ally roasted on an iron spit or cooked in a big ket­tle of stew with veg­eta­bles. (Puf­fin was eaten in Ice­land while elk meat and rein­deer ruled in Sweden. Nor­we­gians re­lied on boun­ti­ful her­ring and cod.) Berries, nuts and bread made from rye or bar­ley flour along with cheese and but­ter sup­ple­mented their diet.

The Vik­ings ate some­thing that could have been called a pre­cur­sor to the sand­wich as it con­sisted of thick slices of bread spread with but­ter and meat. To­day in Nor­way and Den­mark, a tra­di­tional open­face sand­wich is called a smør­brød. The Vik­ing Star’s on-board Nor­we­gian-themed Mam­sen’s (a Nor­we­gian nick­name for “grand­mother”) is a ca­sual deli ded­i­cated to turn­ing out th­ese open-face del­i­ca­cies as well as other treats and light fare through­out the day. They in­clude spe­cial­ties such as gje­tost (a sweet, brown-coloured whey cheese) on heart-shaped waf­fles as well as smør­brød with shrimp, her­ring, beef tartare and cured salmon.

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